South American Swing

Well, it is now officially legal in the nation of Argentina for same-sex couples to marry.  Argentina became the first Latin American country to make this legal after both chambers of its legislature passed the bill…and the President signed it into law.  It was a close vote in the Senate, but the bill did manage to pass 33-27.  My friend Brad is currently living in Buenos Aries for the next several months and was front and center for the marathon debate in the Senate and was in the streets to celebrate after the announcement came.  Brad had listened and watched as several members of the Argentina Senate stood up and gave passionate speeches in favor of same-sex marriage and equality.  He said he had never heard such passion in such speeches before and wished that members of the US Congress would stand up for what’s right and give the same sort of passionate speeches for equal rights.

Not even a week after the Senate’s vote, a call for legalizing same-sex marriage came from the LGBT community of Uruguay and even the country of Paraguay.  Uruguay is probably a more likely candidate for such a move as it is one of three nations (and French Guiana) that already recognize civil unions (or other types of partnership).  The other two countries are Colombia and Ecuador.  Paraguay has banned all types of partnerships so the battle there will be long and hard.  It was only in 2008 that Uruguay became the first Latin American nation to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples, but now they seem poised to follow Argentina in giving same-sex couples full equality.

It makes one wonder here in the US why our legislators can’t get on board with equality and same-sex marriage like the ones in Argentina…and soon to the Uruguay.  Sure, the religious fanatics here start to freak out with any kind of thought of either of those things, but religion is a big thing for Argentina, too… where the Catholic Church is quite dominant.  And even despite the fact that the Catholic Church (and I’m sure other organized religions) were opposed to such laws, the legislators chose to rise above such hateful discrimination and do what is right for its citizens.  And that is something our legislators here in the US need to do, as well.  It’s interesting how once there is equality (and even same-sex marriage) that there is no issue anymore.  It just tends to go away.  And it’s because all the religious zealots that are out there preaching against same-sex marriage and equality tend to shut up (more or less) because their dire predictions have not and will not come true, and they realize that.  Their fear tactics didn’t work.  Unfortunately, in the US, their fear tactics tend to rule out and most people believe just about anything they hear without actually thinking about it for themselves.

My next question is whether Ecuador and Colombia could follow in Argentina and Ecuador’s footsteps.  Since they already recognize other types of partnerships, is it that far of a step for these two nations to legalize same-sex marriage and grant full equality to their LGBT citizens?  It is very much possible.  Only time can tell.  And hopefully, we can welcome those nations to the growing list of nations that have already stepped up to the plate for such things.  The leadership of Uruguay only made its announcement earlier in July, so we will see how they proceed.  But I am rooting for an expedient process so all of its citizens can be free and equal.  And it would be nice to have Brad still front and center to give me a live, in-person account of the proceedings and celebration.

The US could learn something from those in Argentina.  How to separate what you personally believe with the rights of others.  Just because you vote in favor of same-sex marriage, doesn’t mean that you have to support it personally.  There is your right to choice but then the freedom of all the citizens that should be paramount when legislators are doing their jobs.  When I read the final vote and the passage of the bill, to which Brad had successfully predicted would be a close vote, I did cry for Argentina, but they were tears of great joy.  I personally hope the momentum continues to sweep through South America, and I hope that our US legislators are watching closely because we here in the US are going to start demanding a whole lot more from them.  We want to hear those same kind of passionate speeches in favor of same-sex marriage and full equality echo through the halls of our Capitol.  It’s time they step up to the plate, and it’s time that they start fully supporting equality for all of their citizens.

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