Marriage: Safe, Gay, and Legal

For the second time in a week, a nation has legalized same-sex marriage. Spain's legislature today passed legislation making gay marriage a state-sanctioned union. Canada earlier in the week provided the same rights nationwide. This is thrilling, to say the least.

Why should I care, a heterosexual married male? Well, I rejoice when liberty is expanded to more of the population. A free-er people means a better quality of life for those people, which makes the world a better place. While it might sound trite, I would rather live in a *better* world than in a *status quo*. Seeing the cause of freedom actually on the march somewhere (and not just in contrived SOTU speeches) warms my heart.

Why Canada? Why Spain? Why not the US of A, the bastion of liberty and democracy? Well, I think (purely cranially, I can't justify this anywhere but in my own head) that we aren't really the fierce, independent, freedom-loving patriots that we think we are. Canada if far more rugged, and has a much stronger history of expanding liberty to its peoples (indigeneous or otherwise, though certainly well shy of perfect). Spain is overwhelmingly Catholic, and the Church is overwhelmingly opposed to gay marriage.

For Canada, I think it is a simpler case: They love liberty more than we do, and are much more inclined to grant it to increasing swathes of the population. Spain is a harder nut to crack, but I think that their culture isn't dominated by the Catholic Church (as much as that entity would like to think otherwise). The Socialists being in power is certainly a contributing factor.

But what about here? Well, a few things. Gays and lesbians aren't a very powerful political lobby. They have their bastions, like San Francisco, but outside of the City, gay power wanes significantly. That said, I don't think that gays and lesbians are that politically powerful in Spain or Canada either. It is clearly something else.

I think that the US of A has a long, coloured history of actually RESTRICTING liberties, rather than expanding them. We had the repression and slaughter of the natives early in our young history. Slavery comes to mind--Did you know that we were the last Democracy to outlaw slavery? (Hohum, look over there!) Much later on, we forsoke liberty in favour of McCarthyism and blacklisting. Our population demographics are hardly represented in the state legislatures, much less the federal one. In short, I don't think we actually are a freedom-loving, liberty-expanding populace. We don't have much practise at it, and we certainly aren't very good at it.

Religious stereotypes dominate our politics, as well as faith-based pandering. We legislate to appease the religious right, a very powerful political lobby in the US (one which enjoys no traction in the aforementioned countries). So long as they desire to control who we fuck in our own bedrooms, I fear that the cause of expanding marriage rights in this country is going to tread water for a very long time.


At 6/30/05, 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah and i mean the U.S. had prohibition? What is up with that? I always say if you want to understand the U.S. study prohibition. We were started by puritans, who came here seeking "freedom" but in turn were oppressive freaks, closed theaters in England etc. So what is freedom then? The freedom to be opressive freaks?

I think to the present powers that be, freedom means the market and not much else. Oh maybe the freedom not to get arrested or bombed while you make a public speech or statement that is thusly ignored by them. Yeah isn't democracy great here, you can protest and not get fire bombed, we pay no attention to what you are saying...but you can do it...



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