The next step is accomplished, as of April 12, 2013, the France’s upper house Senate approved a landmark bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the country. With this step, France has pulled the former second class “civil unions” equal with heterosexual marriages. The law also includes the right of the same sex couples to adopt children.
This move is not only a milestone achievement for the LGBT community, but also for all the Atheists and Agnostics communities. Church, an institution to marry in, can more and more be confronted by millions of interrogations, as all monotheistic religions oppose homosexuality, direct or indirect, through their actions, verbalization and scriptures. Up until now, religions disposition themselves, by acting like a government, forgetting that their terms and conditions may only apply to their followers and members. The way religions have tried to force their beliefs unto non-members and non-believers even, is clearly starting to lose their authority and grip. We have reached the 21st century, and more stronger, billions of years evolutionary development, and as peoples are more educated than before, with more possibilities of expressing opinions and laws backing different life styles, even the countries that are still following antiquated laws, can't stop the flow of information, especially through the world wide web. Fighting for rights has always been a time-consuming process especially in the context of humanity. Women Rights, LGBT Rights and Children Rights are natural, but man-made regulative and indoctrinating belief systems and regimes have made humans hide in the closet, or even killed millions of peoples not complying with the laws presented.
The past, our history, is something to learn from, and mistakes made, should not always be repeated. It is clear, that what people are challenged with, is not just the questioning of their beliefs, but the loss of “authority” and the bankruptcy of a wisely set-up tax-free business. Entire industries depend on the marketing system called religion.
We are in the time of global changes, with women and LGBT's standing stronger like never before. Yet the arise of Human Rights and Atheism alike breeds violent opposition. Systems and organizations, having felt strong security since hundreds of years can no longer make unfounded statements, unveiling their true face, by reacting with hate speeches, abusive discrimination, absurd arguments and physical violence.
Examples for such are:
On Thursday 4 April 2013, 300000 peoples protested in Paris against the equal marriage bill. Flags showing “Jobs, not gay marriage”, and peoples showing violent affection, forced the police to use lachrymatory agents. The protestants compared apples with pears, which was very unreasonable.
The France Chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, who is in fact facing court on charges of plagiarism and misleading of the public quoted: “Gay Rights supporters will use gay marriage as a Trojan horse in a campaign to deny sexual identity and erase sexual differences and undermine the heterosexual fundamentals of our society.”
This again shows unfounded words, shifting from reality, as same-sex marriage will never undermine heterosexuality and also not increase in number through this right. It just extends basic Human Rights to a too long time suppressed minority.
Pope Benedict XVI praised the quote of the Rabbi in December, aside from remarks in his Christmas speech saying that gay people are manipulating their sexual orientation to alter god-given nature, and that gays “deny their nature”.
This is a clear insult and denial of evolutionarily natural development and diversity.
Another attempt to twist the unreal divine laws into reality.
Another example is Frigide Barjot, a born-again catholic and comedian set up a rally against marriage equality called “Manif pour Tous”. Her real name is Virginie Tellene, and she stated reportedly in the Pink News: “This is a disgrace. The French people don’t want this law, and what do they do? They speed up its passage. Hollande wants blood, and he will get it.”
“We live in a dictatorship,” she added. “The President of the Republic has guillotined us.”
Adrian Tippetts, a journalist and Human Right activist stated in PinkNews:
“The Vatican works with Islamic and African nations to undermine resolutions condemning the criminalization of homosexuality; the Catholic Church in Uganda actively called on the government to pass the notorious ‘kill the gays’ bill. Pope Benedict even blessed the speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, a clear endorsement of the draconian bill that would imprison even relatives who refuse to inform on gay family members.”
Violence against LGBT, be it verbal or physical, is obviously an action from organisations and individuals basing their life on a single religious book. Humanity and nature, in its natural way, are disregarded, but as humane and educated peoples, majorities shift from supporting unfounded claims, to reality-based and universal love for the colors of the human race, although in France the conservative opposition party and the church had mobilized major demonstrations on the 13th of January and the 24th of March against gay marriage. Hundreds of thousands of people in Paris stood on the streets to take a stand against the gay marriage. In March there were even 1.4 million participants according to the organizers.
Where are we now:
The Netherlands was the first country to introduce marriage equality on the 1st of April 2001, including now the BES islands Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba since the 10th of October 2012.
Belgium was the second country to legalize same-sex marriage on the 1st of June 2003, followed by Spain on the 3rd of July 2005. The following 7 years more countries joined:
Canada on 20 July 2005; South Africa on 30 November 2006; Norway on the 1st January 2009; Sweden on the 1st May 2009; Portugal on the 5th of June 2010 (but in Portugal still the joint adoption of children remain prohibited); Iceland on the 27th of June 2010; Argentina on the 22nd of July 2010; Denmark on the 15th of June 2012. After Denmark, as the first country in the world, in 1989 had approved civil connections between same-sex couples ("registered partnerships"), the Parliament voted on the 7th of June 2012 ,with a clear majority (85 votes to 24), for a law opening marriage to same-sex couples. Finally on the 12th of April 2013 France kept its promise to legalize same-sex marriage, in combination with child adoption, made by the socialist President François Hollande during his election period.
Mexico and Brazil are in a similar situation like the US, where state by state are approving or disapproving individually. This reflects the following situation up-to-date:
In the following sub-regions or states of countries, marriage for same-sex couples has been opened:
United States: States with the Federal District (51 in total)
Massachusetts (May 17, 2004)
Connecticut (10 October 2008)
Iowa (April 27, 2009)
Vermont (1 September 2009)
New Hampshire (1 January 2010)
District of Columbia (3 March 2010)
New York (June 24, 2011)
Washington (6 December 2012)
Maine (29 December 2012)
Maryland (1 January 2013)
Indian tribes (for a total of 566 recognized tribes)
Coquille, Oregon (1 May 2009)
Suquamish, Washington (August 1, 2011)
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan (March 15, 2013),
Mexico (32 sub-regions in total)
Mexico City (4 March 2010)
Quintana Roo (1 June 2012)
Brazil (27 sub-regions in total)
Alagoas (7 December 2011)
Sergipe (15 July 2012)
Espírito Santo (15 August 2012)
Bahia (26 November 2012)
Brasília (Federal District) (1 December 2012)
Piauí (15 December 2012)
São Paulo (1st March 2013)
Ceará (March 15, 2013)
Paraná (26 March 2013),
Mato Grosso do Sul (April 2, 2013)
Asia is also seeing light on the horizon, with Nepal having shifted to a democracy and rewriting their entire constitution, same-sex marriage are sure to be a part of the new constitution. After the proclamation of the Republic in 2008, the Supreme Court of the country has decided to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. On 14 September 2010, the first same-sex marriage in the country between a British and an Indian was closed, although there was no legal basis for the marriage of same-sex partners, even for the wedding ceremony of foreigners. Appropriate legislation to open up the marriage was expected for the constitution, which should come into force after repeated moving end of May 2012, but was delayed because of the elections between mid-April and mid-May in 2013.
Israel is holding a unique role, by recognizing foreign same-sex married couples, yet not performing these unions for Israel Nationals.
And as of this writing, the news showed a new positive surprise; New Zealand legalized marriage equality today Wednesday the 17th of April 2013.
The 21st century is already showing major changes, positively towards equality, not only for LGBT members, but for women and children as well. Influential people like President Barack Obama and François Hollande and leaders supporting the entire movement, let the law protect and give equal credence to all members of the society, be it a majority or minority, showing that both groups are valid and in fact, equally secured.
By Thomas Fleckner