When most straight people are forced to think about gay people, they usually think of one thing first, sex. A political scientist might focus instead on a different question: how do gays perform in politics? Judged from their political achievements this past decade, the answer is, at least for Latin American gays: they're pretty good.
The political achievements of LGBT groups in Latin America in the 2000s are remarkable. Examples include: decriminalization of homosexuality (now complete in all Spanish-speaking countries and Brazil); laws against sexual-orientation discrimination (Brazil 2000, Mexico 2003, Peru in 2004); extending the same rights and obligations to same-sex couples as heterosexual couples (e.g., Buenos Aires 2002, Colombia in 2009); granting access to health benefits, inheritance, parenting and pension rights to all couples who have cohabited for at least five years (Uruguay); and constitutional bans against discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual identity or HIV status (Ecuador 2008). In the last two years alone the speed of change picked up, with most countries witnessing a significant legal change in the direction of more gay-friendliness, including the now famous Mexico City law recognizing gay marriage and adoption rights. [Please see index of chronology attached.] Photo
What is remarkable is not that change has happened, but that it has happened against such formidable odds. As Moreno Morales and Mitchell Seligson make clear in the current issue of Americas Quarterly, Latin America is still homophobia-land. Their poll shows that between half and three-quarters of the population in most Latin American countries exhibit disturbing levels of intolerance toward homosexuals. This attitudinal intolerance is by no means the only barrier that LGBT groups face in politics, but it alone is reason enough to be awed by the political victories that LGBT groups have achieved…
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APPENDIX LGBT Victories in Latin America 2008-2009
- February 2008 - Venezuela. The Constitutional Branch of the Supreme Court issues a ruling that, on the one hand, recognizes that discrimination against sexual orientation is unconstitutional, but on the other hand, states that there does not exist constitutional protection for same-sex partnerships; only the legislature can confer such protections.
- March, 2008 - Nicaragua. A reform of the Penal Code legalizes same-sex relations and ends an anti-sodomy law.
- March 2008 - Brazil. Police estimate that more 3 million people participated in the 12th annual Gay Pride March; both the Sao Paulo government and Petrobras sponsor the march. - June 2008 - Brazil. President Lula launches the "First National Conference of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Trasnsexuals in Brasilia…
Corrales, Javier and Mario Pecheny, eds. 2010. “The Politics of Sexuality in Latin America: a Reader on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights.” University of Pittsburgh Press.
Javier Corrales is professor of Political Science at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He obtained his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University, specializing on the politics of economic and social policy reform in developing countries. He is the author of Presidents Without Parties: the Politics of Economic Reform in Argentina and Venezuela in the 1990s (Penn State University Press 2002). His research has been published in academic journals such as Comparative Politics, World Development, Political Science Quarterly, International Studies Quarterly, World Policy Journal, Latin American Politics and Society, Journal of Democracy, Latin American Research Review, Studies in Comparative International Studies, Current History, and Foreign Policy. He serves on the editorial board of Latin American Politics and Society. He is currently working on a book manuscript on constitutional reforms in Latin America. In 2005, he was a Fulbright Scholar in Caracas, Venezuela, and then, a visiting lecturer at the Center for Research and Documentation on Latin America, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands…
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The Gay Year In Review: Top Lgbt-Related Stories From The Americas
by Javier Corrales,
January 3, 2011, Americas Quarterly
It was a banner year in the history of gay rights in the Americas. Here are the top-20 LGBT-related stories.
20) Open Doors: United States. The law that banned HIV-positive non-U.S. citizens from traveling or immigrating to the United States officially ended. The ban began as policy in 1987 and became law in 1993 (January 2010).
19) The Gay Man and the Sea: Peru. Gay director Javier Fuentes-León’s film, Contracorriente, about a love story between a fisherman married to a woman and his secret affair with a man, wins the Audience Award for World Cinema at the Sundance film festival (February).
18) An alternative Bolsa Escola: Brazil. Escola Jovem LGBT, Latin America’s first “school of gay arts,” as principal Deco Rebeiro describes it, opens in Campinas. The school was spearheaded by a Brazilian NGO and is financed by the state’s secretary of culture and Brazil’s ministry of culture (March). Photo
17) Wings for all: Chile. LAN Airlines becomes an official sponsor of the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, the first time a Latin American airline sponsors a U.S. pride celebration (June).
16) La niña bonita: Cuba. Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuba's President Raúl Castro, marched along with hundreds of activates in an LGBT march celebrating the International Day Against Homophobia in Havana (May).
15) Negative campaigning: Chile. The government’s National Service for Woman launched a new ad campaign to fight violence against women with the slogan: “Faggot is he who beats a woman [maricón es el que maltrata a una mujer].” The largest LGBT organization (MOVILH) approved the use of the word faggot in the ads, arguing that in Chile the term refers mostly to a “non-transparent” person rather than to a homosexual and thus, using the term is not homophobic. Others thought the campaign was homophobic. Shortly after the campaign started, variations of the expression (e.g., “faggot is he who photoshops his picture") were widely tweeted across the country (October).
14) Good words: El Salvador. President Mauricio Funes issues a presidential decree banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the public service (May).
13) Beyond words: Brazil. Government creates the National LGBT Council, a specialized agency to protect the rights of the LGBT community.
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Javier Corrales is Professor of Political Science at Amherst College and co-editor of The Politics of Sexuality in Latin America (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010). He serves on the editorial board of Americas Quarterly.
by GLAAD, January 2011 – Opposing Views
Elected officials who are Catholic are stepping up to support marriage equality—often despite heavy-handed tactics by the Catholic hierarchy. Political figures know that Catholics in the electorate continue to grow in their acceptance of marriage equality for LGBT people.
Recent Pew Research shows almost 50% of Catholics, regardless of how often they attend church, support full marriage equality. PhotoIn Rhode Island, a Catholic bishop recently lashed out at state officials for introducing a bill for marriage equality to the General Assembly. Governor Lincoln Chafee responded, “Our foundation here in Rhode Island was built on tolerance and acceptance and this is an area I want to move our state forward on, by building on our strengths of centuries ago.” ...
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo (above) said in his inauguration speech, “We believe in justice for all, then let’s pass marriage equality this year once and for all.”… Current New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan is against marriage equality but has not yet pushed back against Cuomo’s plans to move forward toward equality. A recent Siena College poll found that 56% of New Yorkers support marriage equality…
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Catholics Stand by Their Consciences on Marriage Equality
January 10, 2011 – GLAAD
Rights activists applaud ruling on same-sex marriages
By Barb Pacholik and Angela Hall,
January, 11, 2011
Postmedia News – The Vancouver Sun
While gay rights activists are applauding a ruling from the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal that found it unconstitutional for marriage commissioners to say "I don't" to same-sex couples seeking civil wedding services, the provincial government is considering its options. Photo
In light of a decision rejecting two proposed laws that would have allowed Saskatchewan's marriage commissioners to decline to marry same-sex couples, Justice Minister Don Morgan said the province will consider whether there is another way of accommodating commissioners' religious beliefs.
Morgan said he will recommend to cabinet the matter not be appealed any further…
Gay marriage isn't revolutionary. It's just next.
By Stephanie Coontz,
January 9, 2010 – The Washington Post
Opponents of same-sex marriage worry that allowing two men or two women to wed would radically transform a time-honored institution. But they're way too late on that front. Marriage has already been radically transformed - in a way that makes gay marriage not only inevitable, as Vice President Biden described it in an interview late last year, but also quite logical.
We are near the end of a two-stage revolution in the social understanding and legal definition of marriage. This revolution has overturned the most traditional functions of the institution: to reinforce differences in wealth and power and to establish distinct and unequal roles for men and women under the law.
For millennia, marriage was about property and power rather than love. Parents arranged their children's unions to expand the family labor force, gain well-connected in-laws and seal business deals. Sometimes, to consolidate inheritances, parents prevented their younger children from marrying at all. For many people, marriage was an unavoidable duty. For others, it was a privilege, not a right. Often, servants, slaves and paupers were forbidden to wed.
But a little more than two centuries ago, people began to believe that they had a right to choose their partners on the basis of love rather than having their marriages arranged to suit the interests of parents or the state.
Love, not money, became the main reason for getting married, and more liberal divorce laws logically followed. After all, people reasoned, if love is gone, why persist in the marriage? Divorce rates rose steadily from the 1850s through the 1950s, long before the surge that initially accompanied the broad entry of women into the workforce…
Opponents of gay marriage argue that this trend will lead to the destruction of traditional marriage. But, for better and for worse, traditional marriage has already been destroyed, and the process began long before anyone even dreamed of legalizing same-sex marriage.
People now decide for themselves who and when - and whether - to marry. When they do wed, they decide for themselves whether to have children and how to divide household tasks. If they cannot agree, they are free to leave the marriage.
If gay marriage is legally recognized in this country, it will have little impact on the institution of marriage. In fact, the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage - an indication that it's not just the president's views that are "evolving" - is a symptom, rather than a cause, of the profound revolutions in marriage that have already taken place.
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Stephanie Coontz teaches family history at the Evergreen State College and is the author of "A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s."
History and Family Studies
The Evergreen State College
Director of Research and Public Education
Council on Contemporary Families
Premier's unholy row with Cardinal
by Troy Bramston,
January 9, 2011 - The Sunday Telegraph
PREMIER Kristina Keneally has lashed out at the head of her church in Australia, saying she was "saddened" by Cardinal George Pell for denouncing Catholic politicians who do not follow the church's teachings.
In an exclusive interview, Ms Keneally said Cardinal Pell risked being "interpreted as condemnatory and threatening" by urging MPs to stick to their religious convictions when making policy decisions on contentious social issues such as same-sex marriage.
Ms Keneally, a deeply committed Catholic with a Masters degree in religious studies, said: "I read those comments from the Archbishop and, if anything, they saddened me.
"Almost every Catholic politician I know takes their responsibility as an elected representative and their faith very seriously. Many have really struggled, as have I, when moral issues require us to vote - and particularly when it is a conscience vote."…
…Member for Lakemba Tony Stewart said: "I found those comments from Pell bizarre and straight from the 1950s.
"Trying to get politicians to vote in accordance to the Catholic Church is really to the detriment of what parliamentary representation is all about in Australia."
In a swipe at Cardinal Pell, suggesting he could be more helpful, Ms Keneally said: "Politicians of faith often would like to turn to religious leaders for pastoral advice and guidance, and sometimes that's not available."…
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Catholic Bishop Tobin lashes out at R.I. leaders for pushing gay marriage
By Philip Marcelo,
January 8, 2011 – The Providence Journal
PROVIDENCE –– Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas J. Tobin lashed out at Governor Chafee and legislative leaders on Friday for trying to advance legislation that would legalize gay marriage in Rhode Island, suggesting that the state’s leaders should focus on job creation and the state’s economy.
But Chafee and House Speaker Gordon D. Fox, who is openly gay, reiterated their support for allowing same-sex couples to legally marry. Chafee repeated his argument that gay marriage, in his view, is an economic issue.
Tobin’s comments came Friday, the day after bills to legalize gay marriage were introduced again in the General Assembly. They represent the bishop’s second public rebuke of the new governor, who took office on Tuesday.
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By Judith Glassgold, and Suzanne Iasenza. 2004
Despite outrage, little progress in church scandal
By: Robin Washington,
January 2, 2010, Duluth News Tribune
Gay Conversion | Religious Conversion - Transforms The Damned Into The Saved | COVERING - Kenji Yoshino – 2002 - The Yale Law Journal
A conversation with author Kenji Yoshino about Yoshino's book.
April 20, 2006 – Charlie Rose
Groundbreaking Study Finds Family Acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Adolescents Protects Against Depression, Substance Abuse and Suicidal Behavior in Early Adulthood – by Caitlin Ryan, PhD, December 6, 2010 - FAMILY ACCEPTANCE PROJECT.
Institutionalized STRUCTURAL VIOLENCE – Vatican’s UNSUBSTANTIATED ANTIGAY TEACHINGS - severe harm lasting throughout a child’s lifetime | Benedict XVI & Hierarchy CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE COVER-UPS
SEXUAL ORIENTATION is less about sex and more about LOVE, being one with another human being - ATTACHMENT THEORY
“Auschwitz – Benedict XVI - Christmas 2008 - Brokeback Mountain” (NP)
Nothing in life is more precious than the intimate relationships we have with love ones. Healthy love relationships delight us give us confidence to take on challenges and support us in difficult times. Photo
"Someday, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well-considered, and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child's spirit." Erik Erikson