Uruguay’s Liberal Policies and Same Sex Marriage

The issue of same-sex marriage legalization is a current and hot political topic debated amongst politicians, activists, and the mainstream society as a whole. This class and readings have opened up an alternative perspective to approach this topic from the lens of postcolonial legacies, because lasting implications of the Church’s power remain as a strong conservative, oppositional force to the legalization of same sex marriage. This can connect to Spanish legacies of control, through both liberal influence from Spain and Spanish influence over Latin American political policies, and the church’s lasting conservative influence in the political sphere of South America. These concepts of lasting control show not only colonial legacies of domination, but also the continued interference of the global north over the cultural and political practices of the global south. When looking at the debate of same-sex marriage, an interesting aspect is South America’s lead in determining equal rights for queer/LGBT-identified people. Although the global north seems to have a dominant sphere of influence, the United States is not leading this cultural shift to legalize same sex marriage in South America, and South America has two countries with same sex marriage legalized, compared to only Canada in North America. My thoughts to explore on this topic are the connection to liberal policies in South America to the clash with the conservative church’s antigay policies. A topic to explore more closely is also the shifting pattern of LGBT rights to be more pronounced through South America. Same sex marriage seems to be at the forefront of people’s minds when thinking about the rights of queer people, but it is only a small factor. Uruguay also has had other liberal policies of same sex adoption occur recently, and also a raise in the age of consent for sexual relations. Instead of focusing on same sex marriage as the only argument, I ask what is it about Uruguay that makes the country more liberal than not only its neighbors, but the United States as well. These liberal policies are more congruous with European values, so another question to explore is how much influence comes from Spain and other European states, and how much is internal dialogue and shifting values of the people. Finally I call to question what is the cultural ideologies about marriage in Uruguay that allowed them to pass marriage equality legislation, but still holds the United States in a false heteronormative standstill.

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Same-Sex Marriage in Uruguay

Uruguay has recently become the second South American country to legalize same-sex marriages, following Argentina which made it legal in 2010.  This is the third country in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriage, Canada being the first in 2004.  The bill to legalize marriage equality passed with overwhelming majority, 71 to 21 people voting in favor of passing the bill.  Uruguay, which has already legally implemented many rights and benefits for LGBT people and same-sex couples, becomes the 11th country internationally to legalize marriage equality on a national level, while the US still trails behind on a global level.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-22102740

This article explains the basic information that same-sex marriage was legalized, with the country’s president “championing for the bill to pass.”  This also mentions the progressive ideas Uruguay is implementing, including raising the age of consent to 16, which before it was 12 for women and 14 for men.

 

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2013/04/uruguay-approves-gay-marriage-united-states-waits-impatiently/64110/

This article brings up same-sex marriage passing overwhelmingly in Uruguay, and compares it to the slow and absurd process in America.  The bill Uruguay passed with 71 of 92 people voting to approve is very similar to the bills that congress and the supreme court have seen, however the article says that these US systems take much longer and have less support.  The article then commends same-sex couples on their new rights.

 

http://www.ecumenicalnews.com/article/uruguay-legalizes-gay-marriage-despite-catholic-opposition-22084

This article speaks of Catholic opposition to same-sex marriage in Uruguay.  It says that the church was opposed to same-sex marriage, and at a conference, came up with the consensus that same-sex marriage will “weaken traditional marriage” in Uruguay.  The church also said that same-sex marriage will have negative legal consequences on the country.  Despite this it overwhelmingly was passed.

This video shows the congress in Uruguay passing the bill, then people’s celebratory reactions as they discover the bill has overwhelmingly passed.  It continues on to show a newlywed husband describe his experience in brief, and be thankful for the bill passing.  It continues onto show a conservative congressman provide a slippery slope logical fallacy of an argument to disagree with same-sex marriage, providing a point from both the majority side, and the (bullshit) opposition.