Thursday, December 01, 2005

On issues of equality, America lags behind...


That's right folks -- the good 'ole land of the free has just been surpassed when it comes to equal rights for its citizens by that former bastion of apartheid and all things unequal, South Africa.

OK, granted, South Africa has what could perhaps be called the most liberal constitution in the world -- banning discrimination based on sexual orientation when no other constitution in the world does, for example -- but that doesn't negate the fact that people, gay people anyway, will be more free there than they will ever be here.

Less than a week ago, South Africa's high court, in an 11-1 decision, announced that the country's
ban on gay marriage violates their constitution. The South African parliament has one year to amend its marriage laws. What if they say screw you to the court? Doesn't matter. If parliament fails to act, the legal definition of marriage will change automatically at the expiration of the one year deadline. That means that one year from today, if not sooner, South Africa will become the first country in Africa, and the fifth around the world, to legalize gay marriage.

My question is simply -- what the hell is wrong with our country? Everyone likes to throw around words like "freedom" and "equality", but no one really seems to understand what those words mean. Not only do we not provide for gay marriage on a federal level, we actually have the Defense of Marriage Act (signed by Clinton of all people). What the fuck is up with that? We might as well be living in the stone age. And not only on the gay marriage issue, but others too -- one issue that particularly comes to mind is the death penalty. At least we are still part of the majority on the gay marriage issue (that doesn't make our position right, but it makes sure we don't look like total extremists either). With the death penalty, we are only one of three democracies in the world that have the death penalty and 97% of all executions are carried out in four countries -- us, China, Vietnam and Iran. Nice bunch, wouldn't ya say? My gravest concern is that what has happened in Spain, and Belgium, and now South Africa, will spread around the world and country after country will realize the error of their ways. And there we will be, still banning gay marriage, sitting on the sidelines with our legalized death friends.

Thinking about all of this, more and more I wonder if perhaps my thoughts of leaving the country and returning to the motherland following the 2004 elections should not have been so hastily thrown aside. Excuse me while I go call the consulate.

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