Thursday, December 14, 2006

News on marriage form all over - good for some of us

gay - A Bright Gay Future For Marriage Even with all the setbacks in this country, there is progress being made both at home and abroad.
The U.K. celebrated the one-year anniversary of its civil partnership law, which legally recognizes same-sex couples. And in November, both Israel and South Africa (a very odd couple indeed) joined the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada and Spain in recognizing marriages between two women or two men. That brings to total number of nations that have done so to six, in as many years, with the Scandinavian countries now jockeying to see which will be next.
Israel is a special case, since the the only marriages recognized in the country are Orthodox Jewish marriages. Everyone else has to go abroad - which is what a bunch of folks did. The courts said they were legal in the country (Canada) where they were preformed, so they were legal in Israel.

But there's more.
Around the world, almost all the developed countries recognize same-sex couples under some other name. All the Scandinavian countries have “registered partnership” laws, which are marriages without the magic word—and will almost certainly be upgrading to full marriage in the next few years. Other jurisdictions with such laws already on the books include most of Australia, states in Argentina and Brazil, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Mexico City and one of the Mexican states is even getting into the act as well.

Here at home, the news is less good, though perhaps somewhat better than it was. Massachusetts has married 8000 gay and lesbian couples and with the exception of some irate politicos, it is not on anyone's list of top issues. Vermont, Connecticut, California have civil unions (or domestic partnerships in CA) and it is likely that Oregon will follow their lead in the next year.

I have said all along that the errors made over the campaign for gay marriage (and civil unions) was to use the courts exclusively and not rely on the legislative process. It gave too much ready-made capital to the enemy. Still, LGBT groups are beginning to learn to wage political campaigns.

It will be interesting to see what the next 20 years will hold.

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