Denmark's Parliament [official website, in Danish] on Thursday voted to approve a bill that legalizes same-sex marriages [JURIST backgrounder] in the country's state Lutheran church ceremonies. Previously, same-sex unions were only permitted to be conducted in small ceremonies [AP report] at the end of formal church services. Although Denmark became the first country in the world to recognize same-sex unions [JURIST report], they have struggled to approve a law allowing full marriage rights. The new law allows priests to refuse to perform same-sex ceremonies. It is scheduled to go into effect on June 15.
Governments across the globe have struggled to define rights for same-sex couples. In May, the city of Buenos Aires passed a resolution [JURIST report] that will recognize same-sex marriages for non-citizens, making it the fourth district in Argentina to legalize such marriages. Earlier that month, the Israeli Knesset rejected a bill [JURIST report] that would have legalized civil marriages in the country. Earlier that week Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signed an executive order [JURIST report] requiring government agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed out-of-state. Also in May, voters in North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage [JURIST report]. In March, Israel's Ramat Gan Family Court ruled that a lesbian couple can both be recognized as mothers of a child [JURIST report] they had together, finding that it would defy logic and common sense to deny parental rights to both women.