Thursday, April 18, 2013

Left Side of the Aisle #104 - Part 1

Good news #1: Advances on same-sex marriage

There is some more good news on same-sex marriage, this time on the international front.

Last Friday, the French Senate voted to legalize same-sex marriage, putting a landmark bill on track to become law by summer.

The vote in the upper house of Parliament came despite loud protests lead by the usual suspects, the right wing and conservative Roman Catholics.

France's justice minister, Christine Taubira, said the reform will "move our institutions towards ever more freedom, equality and personal respect."

Both houses of Parliament will now take up a second reading in order to reconcile minor differences between the Senate bill and the one passed by the National Assembly in February.

France has had civil unions since 1999 and they are at least as popular among heterosexuals as they are among same-sex couples. But that law has no provisions for adoption. The law for marriage does.

Meanwhile, last Wednesday, Uruguay became the second nation in South America to recognize same-sex marriage, Argentina having been the first. The vote in the Chamber of Deputies was 71-21 and supporters of the law erupted in celebration when the results were announced.

President of Uruguay Jose Mujica, who backed the law, is expected to put it into effect within 10 days and the first same-sex marriages could come as soon as mid-July.

Among other changes, the law drops the terms "husband and wife" in marriage contracts in favor of "contracting parties" and allows all couples to decide which parent's surname comes first when they have children. All couples can adopt or undergo in-vitro fertilization.

It feels a little odd to say that we're culturally behind Uruguay since despite the advances in socialist and progressive politics in the region we still tend to think of South America as culturally conservative, but the fact is, clearly, we are.


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