Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Prime Minister of Iceland

Congratulations on her marriage to her long-time girlfriend!

This USAToday piece discusses the question of same-sex marriage and the acceptability of homosexuality in different countries, though it omits a few places where things are really bad for gays and lesbians:

In Europe, the situation varies.

Several top-level politicians are openly gay, including Sweden's Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren and Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, considered a possible contender for the 2012 presidential elections.

But a gay head of government would be impossible in strong Catholic nations.


Ugandans were shocked to hear of Sigurdardottir's marriage to her partner with whom she had been in a registered relationship since 2002. The partnership was converted into a marriage on Sunday, when a new law legalizing same-sex marriage went into force. The Icelandic leader has two adult children from a previous marriage.

"Their society is finished, they have no morals," said Uganda's ruling-party spokeswoman, Mary Karooro Okurutu, described the marriage as "disgusting."

The East African nation frowns on homosexuality and is considering proposed legislation that would impose the death penalty for some gays. The bill has sparked protests in London, New York and Washington.

Fascinating how the conservative mind always sees the end of civilization in any change to the patriarchal marriage patterns. That is the essence of the resistance to same-sex marriage, reproductive choice for women, divorce and so on.

And yet something like the frequency of rape or the number of murders are not cause for concern in that sense. Though they may be deplored, the conservatives don't fear the end of civilization when more than one man in four rape or when murder rates are sky-high. What that tells about the society is the fascinating part for me.

This is one of those questions where it pays to ask who is harmed by various policies. It's hard for me to see how I'm harmed by the legality of same-sex marriage (and I have read the arguments), but increased rates of societal violence do place me and people I care about at higher risk. Somehow the former ends the society, the latter not.