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Part of a series on
lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender (LGBT) rights
Laws around the world
Recognition of relationships
Same-sex marriage
LGBT adoption
Military service
Immigration issues
Violence against LGBT people
Legal aspects of transsexualism
LGBT rights organizations
Opposing views
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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) are complex in the Americas. The British, French, and Spanish colonists, who settled most of the Americas, brought with them their Christian religion and customs from Europe. These attitudes continue to influence society in these countries. In particular, the Roman Catholic Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, both of which oppose legal recognition of homosexual relationships, are active in the politics of the Americas.

Acceptance of LGBT persons in the Americas varies widely. Same-sex marriages have been recognized in Canada nationwide since 2005, and are partially legalized in the United States and Mexico. Same-sex marriages performed in the Netherlands are recognized in Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles. Furthermore, some other nations have laws permitting other types of same-sex unions, as well as LGBT adoption and military service by LGBT people. However, many other nations, particularly in the former British West Indies, continue to criminalize homosexuality. These countries include Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago. Jamaica, in particular, has received international criticism for the existence of extreme violence against LGBT people in its society.[1]

Contents

Legislation by country or territory

Tables:   view  talk  edit 

Legislation in North America

LGBT rights in: Homosexual acts legal? Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination Laws (sexual orientation) Anti-discrimination Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Bermuda Bermuda (Overseas territory of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 1994 No No Unknown Yes (due to policy of conscription) No No
Canada Canada Yes Legal since 1969
+ UN decl. sign.
Yes Yes Legal since 2003, nationwide since 2005 Yes [2][3] Yes Since 1992[4] YesBans all anti-gay discrimination, including hate speech YesSex changes legally recognised; Explicit anti-discrimination protections only in NWT, implicit elsewhere;[5]
Mexico Mexico Yes Legal since 1871
+ UN decl. sign.
No/Yes Legal in Mexico City and Coahuila since 2007. No/Yes Legal in Mexico City (effective 4 March 2010).[6] No/Yes Joint adoption legal in Mexico City (effective 4 March 2010).[6] Nationwide, single gay persons may adopt.[7] No Yes Since 1999, nationwide since 2003.[8] No/Yes Transgender persons can change their legal gender and name in Mexico City since 2008.[9]
Flag of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.svg Saint Pierre et Miquelon (overseas collectivity of France) Yes Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.
Yes Pacte civil de solidarité since 1999 No No Single gay persons may adopt Yes Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination No
United States United States Yes Legal nationwide since 2003
+ UN decl. sign.
No / Yes Varies by state No / Yes Varies by state No / Yes Single gay persons may adopt, laws on couples vary by state No "Don't ask, don't tell" policy No federal protections. Baned in 20 states. Included in the federal hate crimes law since 2009. See Matthew Shepard Act No federal protections. Baned in 13 states. Included in the federal hate crimes law since 2009. See Matthew Shepard Act

Legislation in Central America

LGBT rights in: Homosexual acts legal? Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination Laws (sexual orientation) Anti- discrimination Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Belize Belize No Male: Illegal since 2003 (Penalty: 10 year prison sentence) Yes
Female: Legal
No No No No No No
Costa Rica Costa Rica Yes Legal since 1971 No(There is a project in the Congress) No Unknown (Has happened in some cases) Doesn't apply. There are no military forces in Costa Rica, nonetheless they may serve in the police Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination
El Salvador El Salvador Yes Legal No No Unknown Yes Yes Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination No
Guatemala Guatemala Yes Legal No No Unknown Unknown Yes Anti-discrimination in Youth and Childhood Act since 1997.
Honduras Honduras Yes Legal No No Constitutional ban No Constitutional ban No No
Nicaragua Nicaragua Yes Legal since 2008
+ UN decl. sign.
No No - - Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination[10]
Panama Panama Yes Legal since 2008 No No Unknown No No

Legislation in the Caribbean islands

LGBT rights in: Homosexual acts legal? Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination Laws (sexual orientation) Anti-discrimination Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Anguilla Anguilla (Overseas territory of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 2000 No No Unknown Yes Unknown Unknown
Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda No Illegal (Penalty: 15 year prison sentence) Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Aruba Aruba (Autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands) Yes Legal No Only unions made in The Netherlands recognised No Only same-sex marriages made in The Netherlands recognised Unknown Yes Unknown Unknown
The Bahamas Bahamas Yes Legal since 1991 (Age of consent discrepancy) No No Unknown Yes No No
Barbados Barbados No Illegal (Penalty: life sentence) Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
British Virgin Islands British Virgin Islands Yes Legal since 2000 No No Unknown Yes Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination No
Cayman Islands Cayman Islands Yes Legal since 2000 No No Unknown Yes Unknown No
Cuba Cuba Yes Legal since 1979
+ UN decl. sign.
No No Unknown No Unknown No
Dominica Dominica No Illegal (Penalty: 10 year prison sentence) Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Yes No No No No No No
Grenada Grenada No Male illegal (Penalty: 10 year prison sentence)
Yes Female legal
Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Guadeloupe Guadeloupe (Overseas department of France) Yes Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.
Yes Pacte civil de solidarité
since 1999
No No Single gay persons may adopt Yes Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Haiti Haiti Yes Legal Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Jamaica Jamaica No Illegal (Penalty: 10 years hard labor)
Yes Female legal
Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Martinique Martinique (Overseas department of France) Yes Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.
Yes Pacte civil de solidarité
since 1999
No No Single gay persons may adopt Yes Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Montserrat Montserrat Yes Legal since 2000 No No Unknown Yes Unknown
Netherlands Antilles Netherlands Antilles Yes Legal No Only unions made in The Netherlands recognised No Only same-sex marriages made in The Netherlands recognised Unknown Yes Unknown
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (Commonwealth of the United States) Yes Sodomy law removed 2005 from penal code, sodomy law had been invalidated by US Supreme Court re (Lawrence vs. Texas, in 2003). No "Defense of Marriage" proposals invalidating legal recognition of any same-sex relationships (Project 99) failed in Puerto Rican Senate in 2009. No Same-sex marriage not allowed, Puerto Rico is covered by US Defense of Marriage Act. Yes There are currently no laws against adoptions by single gay persons No US military has a "don't ask, don't tell" policy No Local gay rights bill (#1725) approved 43 to 6 by House of Representatives 11/13/2009, PR Senate is reviewing at present. Puerto Rico is covered by United States federal Hate Crimes law. No #1725 under consideration in Puerto Rico currently does not have provisions protecting transgender persons.
Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Kitts and Nevis No Male illegal (Penalty: 10 years)
Yes Female legal
Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia No Male illegal (Penalty: fine and/or 10 year prison sentence)
Yes Female legal
Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Vincent and the Grenadines No Illegal (Penalty: fine and/or 10 year prison sentence) Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago No Illegal (Penalty: 25 year prison sentence) Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Turks and Caicos Islands Turks and Caicos Islands Yes Legal since 2000 No No Unknown Yes Unknown
United States Virgin Islands United States Virgin Islands (Insular area of the United States) Yes Legal Unknown No Unknown No US military has a "don't ask, don't tell" policy - -

Legislation in South America

LGBT rights in: Homosexual acts legal? Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination Laws (sexual orientation) Anti- discrimination Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Argentina Argentina Yes Legal
+ UN decl. sign.
Yes Unregistered cohabitation throughout the country.

Civil unions in three cities and one province.[11]

No/Yes Already performed.[12 ]

Under consideration nationwide.[12 ]

No Yes Since 2009.[13] No/Yes No legal protection nationwide, but cities of Buenos Aires and Rosario have had laws since 1996. Unknown
Bolivia Bolivia Yes Legal since
+ UN decl. sign.
No No Constitutionally banned in 2007 No Unknown Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination Bans all discrimination based on gender identity[14]
Brazil Brazil Yes Legal since 1830
+ UN decl. sign.
Yes Unregistered cohabitation throughout the country.

Civil unions legal in Rio Grande do Sul since 2004.[15]

No Decision pending in the Supreme Court.[16] No/Yes Despite a lack of legislation, recent jurisprudence has been in favor of same-sex couples.[17] Yes[18] Yes/No Legal protection in some states. Yes/No Despite a lack of specific legislation, recent jurisprudence has been in favor of gender-motivated identity change.[19][20]
Chile Chile Yes Legal since 1998 (Age of consent discrepancy)
+ UN decl. sign.
No No No Unknown Unknown
Colombia Colombia Yes Legal since 1981
+ UN decl. sign.
Yes Legal since 2007 No No single gay person may adopt Yes since 1999. Since 2009: the military special social security system can be used by same sex couples in the army Yes Yes[21] Since 1993. The name's gender can be changed easily in the National ID Card, to change the sex field a surgery is required.
Ecuador Ecuador Yes Legal since 1997
+ UN decl. sign.
Yes[22] Civil unions recognized since 2009 No Constitutional ban No Unknown Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination Unknown
Falkland Islands Falkland Islands (overseas territory of the U.K., claimed by Argentina) Yes Legal Yes Legal since 2005 No Yes Yes Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination Unknown
French Guiana French Guiana Yes Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.
Yes Pacte civil de solidarité since 1999 No No Single gay persons may adopt Yes Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination Unknown
Guyana Guyana No Male illegal (Penalty: life imprisonment)
Yes Female legal.
Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown No Added to constitution in 2004, but withdrawn afterwards by the government. Unknown
Paraguay Paraguay Yes Legal (Age of consent discrepancy)
+ UN decl. sign.
No Constitutional ban since 1992[23] No Constitutional ban since 1992[24] Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Peru Peru Yes Legal No No Unknown Yes since 2009 [25] Bans some anti-gay discrimination Unknown
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands Yes Legal Yes Legal since 2005 No Yes Yes Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination Unknown
Suriname Suriname Yes Legal (Age of consent discrepancy) No No Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Uruguay Uruguay Yes Legal since 1934
+ UN decl. sign.
Yes Civil unions since 2008.[26] No But proposed.[27] Yes Since 2009.[28] Yes Since 2009.[29] Yes Legal protection since 2004.[30] Yes Legal protection since 2004.[30]

Transgender persons can change their legal gender and name since 2009.[31]

Venezuela Venezuela Yes Legal
+ UN decl. sign.
No Civil union bill passed first reading, becomes law if passes second No No No No Ban revoked from 1999 constitution at last minute; under consideration (passed first reading) No Under consideration (passed first reading)

See also

References

  1. ^ See LGBT rights in Jamaica.
  2. ^ Sexual Orientation and Legal Rights (92-1E)
  3. ^ Same Sex Couple Adoption: The Situation in Canada and Australia (Research Note 29 1999-2000)
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Northwest Territories Human Rights Act, S.N.W.T. 2002, c.18. Section 5.
  6. ^ a b (Spanish) Mónica Archundia (5 January 2010). "La primera unión gay, para marzo". El Universal. http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/ciudad/99607.html. Retrieved 5 January 2010.  
  7. ^ "Intercountry Adoption: Mexico". Office of Children Issues, U.S. Dept. of State. November 2009. http://adoption.state.gov/country/mexico.html.  
  8. ^ International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) (April 23, 2003). "Mexico protects its gay and lesbian citizens with new law". http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Mexico+protects+its+gay+and+lesbian+citizens+with+new+law.-a0108149079. Retrieved November 27, 2009.  
  9. ^ International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) Trans (August 29, 2008). "Mexico City extends official rights to transgender individuals". http://trans.ilga.org/trans/welcome_to_the_ilga_trans_secretariat/news/mexico_mexico_city_extends_official_rights_to_transgender_individuals. Retrieved November 27, 2009.  
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ Monique Blanco (December 2009). "Argentine same-sex marriage debate returns". Panama News. http://www.thepanamanews.com/pn/v_15/issue_19/opinion_12.html. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  
  12. ^ a b Associated Press (28 December 2009). "Gay Marriage Performed in Argentina". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/12/28/world/AP-LT-Argentina-GayMarr.html. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  
  13. ^ AG magazine (2 March 2009). "A New Argentina Overturns Gay Military Ban". Queerty. http://www.queerty.com/a-new-argentina-overturns-gay-military-ban-20090302/. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  
  14. ^ [3]
  15. ^ BBC News (5 March 2004). "Brazilian go-ahead for gay unions". http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3534959.stm. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  
  16. ^ (Portuguese) O Globo (3 July 2009). "Gays comemoram ação no STF sobre união civil". http://oglobo.globo.com/pais/mat/2009/07/03/gays-comemoram-acao-no-stf-sobre-uniao-civil-756654132.asp. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  
  17. ^ (Portuguese) Enézio de Deus (1 June 2006). "Decisões judiciais favoráveis a adoção por gays". Gay Brasil. http://www.gaybrasil.com.br/noticias.asp?Categoria=Idigital&Codigo=2987. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  
  18. ^ (Portuguese) Patricia Silva Gadelha (March 2006). "A prática da pederastia é crime militar". Jus Navigandi. http://jus2.uol.com.br/doutrina/texto.asp?id=8206. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  
  19. ^ (Portuguese) Expresso da Notícia (13 January 2006). "Justiça autoriza alteração no registro de transexual que trocou de sexo". Jus Brasil. http://www.jusbrasil.com.br/noticias/135663/justica-autoriza-alteracao-no-registro-de-transexual-que-trocou-de-sexo. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  
  20. ^ (Portuguese) Expresso da Notícia (25 December 2005). "Justica autoriza mudança de sexo em documentos". Jus Brasil. http://www.jusbrasil.com.br/noticias/135675/justica-autoriza-mudanca-de-sexo-em-documentos. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  
  21. ^ [4](Spanish)
  22. ^ [5](Spanish)
  23. ^ [6]
  24. ^ [7]
  25. ^ http://www.dosmanzanas.com/2009/12/el-tribunal-constitucional-de-peru-considera-que-no-se-puede-excluir-de-la-policia-o-el-ejercito-a-las-personas-homosexuales.html
  26. ^ Hilary Burke (18 December 2007). "Uruguay OKs gay unions in Latin American first". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1854039020071219. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  
  27. ^ (Spanish) AG magazine (28 May 2009). "Ahora Uruguay va por el matrimonio gay". http://www.agmagazine.info/2009/05/26/ahora-uruguay-va-por-el-matrimonio-gay/. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  
  28. ^ Reuters (9 September 2009). "Lawmakers in Uruguay Vote to Allow Gay Couples to Adopt". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/10/world/americas/10uruguay.html. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  
  29. ^ Rachel Weiner (15 May 2009). "Uruguay Lifts Ban On Gays In The Military". Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/15/uruguay-lifts-ban-on-gays_n_203996.html. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  
  30. ^ a b (Spanish) Congress of Uruguay (18 August 2004). "Ley Nº 17.817". http://www.parlamento.gub.uy/leyes/AccesoTextoLey.asp?Ley=17817&Anchor=. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  
  31. ^ Free Speech Radio News (11 December 2009). "Uruguay passes bill to allow citizens to choose gender identity". http://www.fsrn.org/audio/uruguay-passes-bill-allow-citizens-choose-gender-identity/5887. Retrieved 1 January 2010.  







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