Although the gay community celebrated at least one important win last week, we also suffered some setbacks in the global fight for marriage equality. On Wednesday, Italy’s Constitutional Court rejected legal recognition of same-sex marriage when it ruled against appeals by two gay couples who were denied the right to marry. Though the court has not yet published its full opinion, it has stated that “lawmakers, not the courts” must define marriage. Gay marriage advocates, who believe that a ban on same-sex marriage violates Italy’s constitution, have vowed to continue to fight for full marriage equality under the law.
Meanwhile, judges in Argentina continue to play legal back-and-forth with the civil marriage rights of homosexuals. On Friday, Judge Marta Gomez Alsina annulled the union of Norma Castillo and Ramona Arevalo, who were married in the nation’s first legal lesbian wedding on April 9 after Judge Elena Liberatori granted the couple the right to marry. The annulment essentially declares the union non-existent and comes just one day after Judge Marcos Meillien invalidated the December marriage of Alex Freyre and Jose Maria Di Bello, the first gay couple to marry legally in Argentina. Freyre and Di Bello plan to appeal the decision.
On a happier note, Portugal may be the next country to recognize same-sex marriage. Portugal’s Parliament has approved a law legalizing gay marriage and the decision now lies with President Anibal Cavaco Silva. Full marriage equality seems likely in Iceland as well. Though gays and lesbians have enjoyed legal registered partnerships since 1996, on March 23, Iceland’s government introduced a bill that would allow gay marriage. The bill is supported by Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, who is the world’s first openly lesbian head of state.