Thursday, July 15, 2010

Argentina Shines!

After 16 hours of debate, at 6am this morning, Argentina legalized gay marriage, as their Senate approved the marriage equality bill voted by their House in May and supported by their President.

Wow, I would not have believed it if anyone had told me 21 years ago, when I lived there, that Argentina would have gay marriage before New York (let's not even mention the States). Argentina becomes the 10th country with gay marriage, after Holland, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, and Iceland.

Another 15 countries, including almost all of Western Europe, have civil unions or registered partnerships essentially identical to marriage. Ironically, to thank for this they have America, and specifically New York, where gay people bravely began to fight for their rights 41 years ago, both in huge parades and in a million brave personal moments with parents, relatives, friends, co-workers... This was an American idea and initiative.

So why are Europe, Canada, and Latin America racing so far ahead of us? My take: in the places, when their intelligentsia buys into the idea, that's sufficient. There's no grass roots, organized opposition by a substantial bigoted minority. And there's almost never a major political party determined to fight gay rights at every turn. Sure, the Catholic church huffs and puffs, but in these countries governments are proudly secular and frown on Church interference.

Here in the US, the religious right and the (grrrr) Republicans will probably delay nationwide gay marriage another 15, 20, maybe 30 years, until a more open-minded generation dominates our voter pool...

Now New York - that's just dysfunction - we have a million gay people here, a majority ok with the idea, many high-powered, well-funded people strongly in favor, Democrats dominating registered voters, and every statewide elected official in favor of gay marriage. It's just a matter of voting out some very dysfunctional State Senators, many of whom are over 75 and five of whom are Democrats from Queens..

I think that's doable! But is it doable in time for my own wedding, that it the question....

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