Thursday, July 15, 2010

Congratulations Argentina

Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue sk...Image via Wikipedia
Three countries in little more than one month, and we can feel that momentum building again. It's now ten countries on four continents where marriage equality is legal. Congratulations, Argentina. It's a great step forward.

Funny, though. Four continents sounds wonderful, but it's seven countries in Europe, and then one each in North America, South America and Africa. If you were in, say, India, you'd be thousands and thousands of miles, encompassing the vast majority of the population of the world, removed from a country with legal gay marriage (though there was recently momentum in India's neighbour Nepal, which still might break ground as the first Asian country with marriage equality).

How imbalanced is it? If you're in Brazil, you have one neighbour, Argentina, where same-sex marriage is legal. But you have another neighbour, Guyana, where homosexuality is illegal. Unenforced, apparently, but still on the books. Think about that for a second: rights of LGBT people worldwide are so subject to political whims that within a single continent you can have the full range from homosexuality being illegal to gay marriage being legal. (In fact, all of South Africa's neighbours, including its two enclaves, prohibit homosexual activity, while South Africa itself has marriage equality). The haphazard process going on in the United States is another example of people touting the concept 'democracy' as a veiled excuse to deny people rights.

I get bothered by the slow progress and occasional regress (California, Burundi). But it's tough not to notice the overall momentum: marriage equality will be a globally-accepted phenomenon sooner or later - perhaps even within our lifetime. In the meantime, a heartfelt congratulations to Argentina. May your country be an inspiration to its neighbours, and the whole world.
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