LGBT rights in the Americas

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LGBT rights in Americas
Americas
Americas
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal in 24 out of 35 states
Legal in all 20 territories
Gender identity/expression Legal in 13 out of 35 states
Legal in 9 out of 20 territories
Military service Allowed to serve openly in 16 out of 29 states having an army
Legal in all 20 territories
Discrimination protections Legal in 15 out of 35 states
Legal in 15 out of 20 territories
Family rights
Recognition of
relationships
Legal in 10 out of 35 states
Legal in 10 out of 20 territories
Restrictions:
Same-sex marriage constitutionally banned in 7 out of 35 states
Adoption Legal in 7 out of 35 states
Legal in 10 out of 20 territories

Laws governing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights are complex in the Americas, and acceptance of LGBT persons varies widely. Same-sex marriages have been legal in Canada nationwide since 2005, in Argentina since 2010, in Brazil nationwide and Uruguay since 2013 and in the United States nationwide since 2015. In Mexico same-sex marriages are performed in Mexico City and the states of Quintana Roo, Coahuila, Chihuahua and Guerrero, and those unions are recognized nationwide. Same-sex marriages are legal in the Caribbean Netherlands, while marriages performed in the Netherlands are recognized in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. More than 600 million people live in nations or sub-national entities in the Americas where same-sex marriages are available.

Furthermore, some other nations have laws recognizing other types of same-sex unions (Colombia, Ecuador and Chile), as well as LGBT adoption and military service by LGBT people. However, eleven other nations, all of them in the former British West Indies, still have criminal punishment for buggery on their statute books. These eleven countries include Jamaica, Dominica, Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis & Belize.

State recognition of same-sex relationships in North America & Hawaii.1
  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Same-sex marriages recognized, but not performed
  Binding judicial ruling against a ban on same-sex marriage2
1May include recent laws or court decisions which have created legal recognition of same-sex relationships, but which have not entered into effect yet.
2Some states in these categories also have a ban unions similar to marriage and binding judicial rulings against bans unions similar to marriage.
Homosexuality laws in Central America and the Caribbean Islands.
  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Foreign same-sex marriages recognized
  No recognition of same-sex couples
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal but not enforced
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal only for males
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal for males and females
Homosexuality legislation in Lesser Antilles.
  Same-sex marriage
  Same-sex marriage only recognized
  Other type of partnership
  Unrecognized or unknown
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal but not enforced
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal
Recognition of same-sex unions in South America
  Marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Unrecognized or unknown
  Same-sex marriage banned
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal

Religion and LGBT acceptance[edit]

The British, French, Spanish and Portuguese colonists, who settled most of the Americas, brought Christianity from Europe. 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 followed by Eastern Orthodox church,[1] the Methodist Church,[2][3] and some other Mainline (Protestant) denominations, such as the Reformed Church in America[4] and the American Baptist Church,[5] as well as Conservative Evangelical organizations and churches, such as the Evangelical Alliance. The Southern Baptist Convention.[6][7][8] Pentecostal churches such as the Assemblies of God,[9] as well as Restorationist churches, like Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons, also take the position that homosexual sexual activity is sinful.[10][11]

However, other denominations have become more accepting of LGBT people in recent decades, including the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the Anglican Church of Canada, the United Church of Canada, the United Church of Christ, the Unitarian Universalist Association, and the Society of Friends (Quakers), and some congregations of the Presbyterian Church (U. S. A.). Most of these denominations now perform same-sex weddings or blessings. In addition, in the United States Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, and Reconstructionist Judaism now welcome LGBT worshippers and perform same-sex weddings.


Legislation by country or territory

Tables:

North America[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGB people allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Bermuda Bermuda
(overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Yes Legal since 1994 (Age of consent discrepancy)
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No No Emblem-question.svg Yes UK responsible for defence. No Bans all anti-gay discrimination.[13] No
Canada Canada Yes Legal since 1969 (Age of consent discrepancy and prohibition of anal intercourse in some cases)
+ UN decl. sign.[12][14]
Yes Yes Legal in some provinces and territories since 2003.
Nationwide since 2005
.
Yes Legal nationwide since 2010, but specifics may vary by province and territory.[15] Legal in some provinces starting in 1996. Yes Since 1992.[16] Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination, including hate speech. Yes Transgender persons can change their legal gender and name after completion of medical intervention in most provinces and territories (not required in Ontario, British Columbia and Manitoba); Explicit anti-discrimination protections only in Alberta, NWT, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario, implicit elsewhere.[17][18][19][20]
Greenland Greenland
(Constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark)
Yes Legal since 1933
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes Registered partnership since 1996. Yes Legal by October 2015. Yes Step-child adoption since 2009.
Joint adoption by October 2015.
Yes Since 1978 (Joint Defence Command responsible) Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination. No
Mexico Mexico Yes Legal since 1871
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes/No Civil unions in Mexico City (2007), Coahuila (2007),[21] Colima (2013),[22] Jalisco (2013)[23] and Campeche (2013).[24] Yes/No Legal in Mexico City (2010),[25] Quintana Roo (2012)[26], Coahuila (2014), Chihuahua (2015) and Guerrero (2015).
All states are obliged to honour same-sex marriages performed in states where it is legal.[25]
(Proposed nationwide).[27][28]

The Supreme Court has declared that it is unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples in all states,[29] but as state constitutions were not invalidated, individual injunctions must still be obtained from the court.[30][31]

Yes/No Joint adoption legal in Mexico City (2010)[32] and Coahuila (2014).[33]
Nationwide, LGBT individuals may adopt.[34]
Yes/No No explicit ban. However, LGB persons have been reportedly discharged on the grounds of "immorality".[35] Yes Nationwide since 2003.[36] Yes/No Transgender persons can change their legal gender and name in Mexico City since 2008.[37] Mexico adopted a legal protocol for gender identity and sexual orientation in 2014 based upon constitutional provisions to equally protect the rights of all citizens.[38]
Flag of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.svg Saint Pierre et Miquelon
(Overseas collectivity of France)
Yes Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes Civil solidarity pact since 1999. Yes Legal since 2013. Yes Legal since 2013. Yes Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination. Yes Requires sterilization for legal change.
United States United States Yes Legal since 1962, nationwide since 2003
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes Legal in some states since 2000.
Nationwide since 2015
Yes Legal in some states since 2004.
Nationwide since 2015
Yes Legal in some states since 1993.
Nationwide since 2015
Yes Since 2011. Yes/No Federal executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation for employees in the federal civilian workforce, along with the government employment in the District of Columbia, and the United States Postal Service, since 1998 (see Executive Order 12968 and Executive Order 13087). Pathologization or attempted treatment of sexual orientation with minors by mental health professionals illegal in some states. (Banned in California, New Jersey, Oregon and the District of Columbia). Included in the federal hate crimes law since 2009.
(Sexual orientation discrimination in public and private employment)
Yes/No Gender identity discrimination in employment and healthcare insurance banned since 2012.[39][40] Included in the federal hate crimes law since 2009.
(Gender identity discrimination in public and private employment)

Central America[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGB people allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Belize Belize No Male illegal since 2003
Penalty: 10-year prison sentence (Not enforced)
Yes Female always legal.[12]
No No No No No No
Costa Rica Costa Rica Yes Legal since 1971
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes For some purposes such as conjugal visit, health-related decisions and social insurance; (Civil union pending).[41][42] No No LGBT individuals may adopt. Has no military. Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination. No
El Salvador El Salvador Yes Legal since the 1800s
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No No (Constitutional ban pending).[43] No Yes Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination (Rarely enforced). No
Guatemala Guatemala Yes Legal since 1800's
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Honduras Honduras Yes Legal since 1899
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No No Constitutional ban since 2005. No No Yes Bans hate crimes based on sexual orientation. Yes Bans hate crimes based on gender identity.
Nicaragua Nicaragua Yes Legal since 2008
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No No No Emblem-question.svg Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination.[12] No
Panama Panama Yes Legal since 2008
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No No No Has no military. No No

Caribbean[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGB people allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Anguilla Anguilla
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Yes Legal since 2000
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No No No Yes UK responsible for defence. No No
Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda No Illegal
Penalty: 15-year prison sentence.[12]
No No No No No No
Aruba Aruba
(Autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Yes Legal
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No (Pending)[44] Only unions performed in the Netherlands recognised. No Only same-sex marriages performed in the Netherlands recognised. No Yes The Netherlands responsible for defence. No No
The Bahamas Bahamas Yes Legal since 1991 (Age of consent discrepancy)
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No No No Yes No No
Barbados Barbados No Illegal
Penalty: Life imprisonment (Not enforced).[12]
No No No No No No
British Virgin Islands British Virgin Islands
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Yes Legal since 2000
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No No No Yes UK responsible for defence. Yes Constitutional ban on discrimination. No
Caribbean Netherlands Caribbean Netherlands
(Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba; Special municipalities of the Netherlands)
Yes Legal
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes Yes Legal since 2012. Yes[45] Yes The Netherlands responsible for defence. Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination. Yes
Cayman Islands Cayman Islands
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Yes Legal since 2000 (Age of consent discrepancy) [46]
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No No Constitutional ban since 2009.[47] No Yes UK responsible for defence. No No
Cuba Cuba Yes Legal since 1979
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No (Proposed). No Constitutional ban since 1976. No Yes Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination.[48][49] Yes
Curaçao Curaçao
(Autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Yes Legal
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No Only unions performed in the Netherlands recognised. No Only same-sex marriages performed in the Netherlands recognised. No Yes The Netherlands responsible for defence. No No
Dominica Dominica No Illegal
Penalty: 10-year prison sentence or incarceration in a psychiatric institution
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No No No No No No
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Yes Legal since 1822
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No No Constitutional ban since 2010. No No[50] No No
Grenada Grenada No Male illegal
Penalty: 10-year prison sentence
Yes Female always legal.[12]
No No No Has no military. No No
Guadeloupe Guadeloupe
(Overseas department of France)
Yes Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes Civil solidarity pact since 1999. Yes Legal since 2013. Yes Legal since 2013. Yes Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination. Yes Requires sterilization for legal change.
Haiti Haiti Yes Legal since 1986.[12] No No No Has no military. No No
Jamaica Jamaica No Male illegal
Penalty: 10 years hard labor (Not enforced)
Yes Female always legal.[12]
No No No No No No
Martinique Martinique
(Overseas department of France)
Yes Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes Civil solidarity pact since 1999. Yes Legal since 2013. Yes Legal since 2013. Yes Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination. Yes Requires sterilization for legal change.
Montserrat Montserrat
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Yes Legal since 2000
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No No Constitutional ban since 2010.[51] No Yes UK responsible for defence. Yes Constitutional ban on discrimination.[52] No
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico
(Commonwealth of the United States)
Yes Legal since 2003
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes Since 2015 Yes Legal since 2015.[53] Yes Legal since 2015 Yes Since 2011. Yes Bans hate crimes since 2002 and anti–employment discrimination since 2013. US hate crime laws also apply. Yes Bans hate crimes since 2002 and anti–employment discrimination since 2013. US hate crime laws also apply.
Flag of Saint Barthelemy (local).svg Saint Barthélemy
(Overseas collectivity of France since 2007)
Yes Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes Civil solidarity pact since 1999. Yes Legal since 2013. Yes Legal since 2013. Yes Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination. Yes Requires sterilization for legal change.
Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Kitts and Nevis No Male illegal
Penalty: 10 years
Yes Female always legal.[12]
No No No No No No
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia No Male illegal
Penalty: fine and/or 10-year prison sentence
Yes Female always legal.[12]
No No No Has no military. No No
Flag of France.svg Saint Martin
(Overseas collectivity of France since 2007)
Yes Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes Civil solidarity pact since 1999. Yes Legal since 2013. Yes Legal since 2013. Yes Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination. Yes Requires sterilization for legal change.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Vincent and the Grenadines No Illegal
Penalty: fine and/or 10-year prison sentence.[12]
No No No Has no military. No No
Sint Maarten Sint Maarten
(Autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Yes Legal
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No/ Only unions performed in the Netherlands recognised. No Only same-sex marriages performed in the Netherlands recognised. No Yes The Netherlands responsible for defence. No No
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago No Illegal
Penalty: 25-year prison sentence (Not enforced).[12]
No No No No No No
Turks and Caicos Islands Turks and Caicos Islands
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Yes Legal since 2000
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No No Constitutional ban since 2011.[54] No Yes UK responsible for defence. Yes Constitutional ban on discrimination. No
United States Virgin Islands United States Virgin Islands
(Insular area of the United States)
Yes Legal since 1985
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes Since 2015 Yes Legal since 2015 Yes Legal since 2015 Yes Since 2011. Yes The US hate crime laws also apply to all US external territories as well. Yes The US hate crime laws also apply to all US external territories as well.

South America[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGB people allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Argentina Argentina Yes Legal since 1887
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes Unregistered cohabitation since 2008.[55]
Civil unions in some jurisdictions.
Yes Legal since 2010.[56] Yes Legal since 2010. Yes Since 2009.[57] No/Yes Legal protection in some provinces (federal law pending).[58] Pathologization or attempted treatment of sexual orientation by mental health professionals illegal. Yes Transgender persons can change their legal gender and name without surgeries or judicial permission since 2012.[59]
Bolivia Bolivia Yes Legal
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No (Pending). No Constitutional ban since 2009. No LGBT individuals may adopt. Yes Since 2015.[60][61] Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination. Yes Transgender persons can change their legal gender and name after completion of medical intervention.[62]
Brazil Brazil Yes Legal since 1831
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes "Stable unions" legal in some states since 2004. All rights as recognized family entities available nationwide since 2011.[63][64] Yes Legal in some states since 2012. Nationwide since 2013.[65][66] Yes Legal since 2010.[67] Yes Since 1969.[68] No/Yes All state-sanctioned social discrimination of citizens since 1988. Legal protection for sexual orientation in many jurisdictions (expansion of anti-discrimination (all) national Constitutional amendment discussed in the Senate).[69] Pathologization or attempted treatment of sexual orientation by mental health professionals illegal since 1999.[70][71] Yes Transgender persons can change their legal gender and name after completion of medical intervention since 2009.[72][73][74]
Chile Chile Yes Legal since 1999 (Age of consent discrepancy)
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes Civil union by October 2015.[75][76] No (Pending) Marriage performed abroad recognized as Civil union.[77] No LGBT individuals may adopt (Step-child adoption and joint adoption pending).[78] Yes Since 2012.[79] Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination.[80] Yes Transgender persons can change their legal gender and name after completion of medical intervention since 2007. Currently, a broader gender identity law (which would not require any surgeries or judicial permission) is being discussed by the congress.[81][82]
Colombia Colombia Yes Legal since 1981
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes Civil union since 2007. No (Pending Constitutional Court ruling)[83] Yes/No Step-child adoption since 2014[84];
(Joint adoption pending)[85]
Yes Since 1999. Since 2009 the military special social security system can be used by same sex couples in the army. Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination, including hate speech.[86] Yes Since 2015, transgender persons can change their legal gender and name manifesting their solemn will before a notar, no surgeries or judicial order required. [87]
Ecuador Ecuador Yes Legal since 1997
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes Civil union since 2009.[88] No Constitutional ban since 2009. No Yes Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination. Yes Transgender persons can change their legal gender and name after completion of medical intervention.
Falkland Islands Falkland Islands
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Yes Legal since 1989
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No (Pending).[89] No No Yes UK responsible for defence. Yes Constitutional ban on discrimination.[90] No
French Guiana French Guiana
(Overseas department of France)
Yes Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes Civil solidarity pact since 1999. Yes Legal since 2013. Yes Legal since 2013. Yes Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination. Yes Requires sterilization for legal change.
Guyana Guyana No Illegal
Penalty: Up to life imprisonment (Not enforced).[12]
No No No Yes [91] No Added to constitution in 2004, but withdrawn afterwards by the government. No
Paraguay Paraguay Yes Legal since 1880 (Age of consent discrepancy)
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No Constitutional ban since 1992. No Constitutional ban since 1992. No Yes No No
Peru Peru Yes Legal since 1836-1837
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No (Pending)[92] No No Yes Since 2009.[93] Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination. Yes Transgender persons can change their legal name after completion of medical intervention. Gender change is not allowed by courts.
Suriname Suriname Yes Legal since 1869 (Age of consent discrepancy).[12] No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Uruguay Uruguay Yes Legal since 1934
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
Yes Civil union since 2008.[94] Yes Legal since 2013.[95] Yes Legal since 2009.[96] Yes Since 2009.[97] Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination since 2004.[98] Yes Transgender persons can change their legal gender and name since 2009.[99]
Venezuela Venezuela Yes Legal since 1997.
+ UN decl. sign.[12]
No/Yes Civil union in Mérida since 2010. No (Proposed) Constitutional ban since 1999.[100] No Yes Since 1999. Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination.[101] No


See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  15. ^ Status differs in provinces and territories:
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  49. ^ (Spanish) Entra en vigor nuevo Código de Trabajo
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  58. ^ Buscan replicar Ley de la Ciudad en la Nación
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  66. ^ CNJ obriga cartórios a celebrar casamento entre homossexuais
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