Same-sex marriage in Belgium
|Legal recognition of
† Not yet in effect
On 1 June 2003, Belgium became the second country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands. Originally, Belgium allowed the marriages of foreign same-sex couples only if their country of origin also allowed these unions. Legislation enacted in October 2004 however, permits any couple to marry in Belgium if at least one of the spouses has lived in the country for a minimum of three months.
The act of 23 November 1998 granted statutory cohabitation (Dutch: wettelijke samenwoning; French: cohabitation légale) in Belgium. The act gives limited rights to registered same-sex and opposite-sex couples by inserting a Title V-bis on statutory cohabitation in the Belgian Civil Code and by amending certain provisions of the Belgian Civil Code and the Belgian Judicial Code. However, persons who are not a couple can also make a declaration of statutory cohabitation; this includes relatives.
The law was legally published on 12 January 1999. It went into force on 1 January 2000, according to a royal order signed on 14 December and published on 23 December 1999.
On 28 May 2002, a bill legalising same-sex marriage was introduced in the Senate by Jeannine Leduc (VLD), Philippe Mahoux (PS), Philippe Monfils (MR), Myriam Vanlerberghe (SP.A-Spirit), Marie Nagy (Ecolo) and Frans Lozie (Agalev). It passed on 28 November 2002, with 46 votes to 15. On 30 January 2003, the bill passed the Chamber of Representatives by 91 votes to 22. The Flemish Liberals and Democrats, Christian People's Party, (Francophone) Socialist Party, (Flemish) Socialist Party, Ecolo, Agalev and the People's Union voted generally in favour except for several abstentions, whereas the Flemish Block and National Front voted against, the Christian Social Party voted against with several abstentions and the Reformist Movement voted dividedly.
The first paragraph of article 143 of the Belgian Civil Code (Book I, Title V, Chapter I) now reads as follows:
- in Dutch: Een huwelijk kan worden aangegaan door twee personen van verschillend of van hetzelfde geslacht.
- in French: Deux personnes de sexe différent ou de même sexe peuvent contracter mariage.
- (Two persons of different sexes or of the same sex may contract marriage.)
The same-sex marriage law did not permit adoption by same-sex partners, and as birth within a same-sex marriage did not imply affiliation, the same-sex spouse of the biological parent had no way to become the legal parent. On 1 December 2005, a proposal to permit adoption was approved by the Chamber of Representatives of the parliament. It was passed in April 2006, thereby enabling legal co-parenting by same-sex couples. Also, lesbian couples can get access to IVF and artificial insemination treatment.
According to the Belgian Official Journal, approximately 300 same-sex couples were married between June 2003 and April 2004 (245 in 2003 and 55 in 2004). This constituted 1.2 percent of the total number of marriages in Belgium during that period. Two thirds of the couples were male and one third female. On 22 July 2005, the Belgian government announced that a total of 2,442 same-sex marriages had taken place in the country since the extension of marriage rights two years earlier. The following table summarizes the number people married in same-sex marriages
A May 2013 Ipsos poll found that 67% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage and another 12% supported other form of recognition for same-sex couples.
- Major legal consequences of marriage, cohabitation and registered partnership for different-sex and same-sex partners in Belgium
- Legislative record of the same-sex marriage bill in Dutch and in French, by the Belgian Senate.
- Belgium legalizes gay marriage
- Belgium approves same-sex marriage
- "Belgium backs gay adoption plans". BBC News. 2 December 2005.
- "Belgium moves to allow gay adoption". Euronews. 2 December 2005.
- "Belgium passes gay adoption law". BBC News. 21 April 2006.
- "Belgium Reaches 2,500 Gay Marriages". 365Gay. 2005-05-22. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- Aantal personen betrokken bij een huwelijk met iemand van hetzelfde geslacht, per provincie (2004—2010) Template:Ref-nl
- "Eurobarometer 2006" (PDF). 2006.
- (Dutch) "De Nationale Familie-enquête 'En hoe leeft u?'" (PDF). Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- (Dutch) "Familie-enquête 2008". Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- "Same-Sex Marriage". Ipsos. 7-21 May 2013.
- (French) Enquête sur la droitisation des opinions publiques européennes