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Marriage Equality: 2013 - Annus Mirabilis?

Posted in: Comment
By Politics and religion commentator Craig Young - 4th January 2013

Annus Mirabilis- A Wonderful Year!
Will 2013 be a year of significant international progress for the cause of marriage equality?

Consider this. Despite intense opposition from conservative Catholics, rural mayors, the fragmented and divided UMP Opposition and the French National Front, the Hollande administration will still legislate for marriage equality and inclusive adoption reform next year, given its National Assembly majority. Opinion polls still demonstrate majority support, although some French LGBT organisations and straight allies still criticise the absence of clauses related to IVF and compassionate surrogate equality.

The United Kingdom will also move forward at the same time. David Cameron's Conservatives aren't unified on the issue, given that the Prime Minister has advanced the pace of the timetable, but one hundred and eighty five Tories still support reform- and with the near-total support of their Liberal Democrat coalition partners and the Labour Opposition, that will be enough to see it through the House of Commons. Once in the House of Lords, Cameron may need to use the Parliament Act against retrograde unelected social conservative elements within the upper house.

New Zealand will reach the end of the parliamentary submission phase of the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill's legislative trajectory and move onto its second and third readings and probable passage due to multipartisan support. Apart from Pacific Island social conservatives, 'shock jock' talkback hosts John Tamihere and Willie Jackson, Family First, the Conservative Party and Christian Right and New Zealand First, opponents of marriage equality here are steadily losing ground. Amusingly, Family First have been reduced to hawking 'blitzed' unscientific polling results from online polls as 'reliable' data about "reduction" (sic) of overwhelming public support for marriage equality.

(There's still no sign of any major billboards, bumper stickers, lapel badges, t-shirts or other anti-equality propaganda beyond Family First, Conservative Party, Right to Life and other New Zealand Christian Right websites. Despite the Marriage Equality New Zealand celebrity endorsement advertisement during the first week of December 2012, there has been no comparable response. And even if so, how would they counter it? With whom?)

In South America, Uruguay will become the second South American jurisdiction behind Argentina to introduce marriage equality, despite predictable opposition from the Catholic Church (which doesn't matter so much in Uruguay, given that it is more secularised than many other South American societies.)

During December 11, the leftist Broad Front government voted within its lower house Chamber of Deputies (81-6) to support the Marriage Equality Law. It only remains to send it to the Senate, and thereon to the Uruguayan President, Jose Mujicat, to sign the Marriage Equality Law into effect. This will happen early in 2013.

Even the United States may end up surprising the rest of the world- although the US Supreme Court still has to commit itself to hearing any one of ten marriage equality cases against either the federal "Defence of Marriage Act" (against marriage equality), California's infamous Proposition 8, or Arizona's Amendment O. Striking down one or all of these federal or state bans against marriage equality will open the way for greater expansion of marriage equality within the United States. On the back of the multiple affirmative referenda results in Maine, Maryland and Washington state, Illinois and Minnesota LGBT community organisations also intend to move forward on the marriage equality legislative front. Moreover, New South Wales and Western Australia are also similarly moving forward despite the failure of federal and Tasmanian marriage equality legislative initiatives. Only time will tell if any of the above are successful.

Luxembourg and Finland are also good prospects for reform, given that Belgium, the Netherlands and the rest of Scandinavia have already legislated for marriage equality. Chile may be a more distant prospect, although if Uruguay and/or Columbia do so, it may increase the likelihood of success within the southern cone of South America.

When we do celebrate the passage of the New Zealand Marriage Equality Act next year, there is an excellent prospect that LGBTI New Zealanders will not be alone.

"Uruguay votes to legalise gay marriage" Gay Star News: 12.12.2012:

Politics and religion commentator Craig Young - 4th January 2013

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