[JURIST] The Aruban legislature [official website, in Dutch] on Friday voted to give official recognition to same-sex couples, giving them the right to register their unions and receive the benefits granted to other married people. Those benefits, such as the right to make medical decisions on behalf of a spouse or the right to a spouse’s pension in case of death, will be entered into the civil code [text, in Dutch] after the Aruba legislature voted to do so 11-5. Aruba is a constituent of the Netherlands [Netherlands government overview], which recognizes same-sex marriage. This dichotomy previously forced Arubans to travel to the Netherlands to be married then return to Aruba, where the marriage would be recognized. Now, although Aruba did not vote to recognize same-sex marriage, such couples will not have to leave the island to be afforded the benefits of marriage.
The lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community (LGBT) continues to face legal challenges throughout the world. Last month, the Belize Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] a law banning sodomy, declaring it unconstitutional and adversely impactful to the LGBT community. Last December voters in Slovenia rejected a law [JURIST report] that would allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. In November the Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled [JURIST report] that same-sex couples can legally adopt children. The UN has become increasingly focused on the rights of LGBT individuals. In September 2015 12 UN agencies released a joint statement [JURIST report] arguing that abuses toward the LGBT population are human rights abuses impacting society as a whole. In June 2015 the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reported [JURIST report] that members of the LGBT community continue to face discrimination and human rights abuses.