NYT: “How Latin Culture Got More Gay”
Op-Ed article by Héctor Carrillo, an associate professor of sociology and gender and sexuality studies at Northwestern University and the author of “The Night is Young: Sexuality in Mexico in the Time of AIDS.” He is a 2012-3 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, at Harvard.
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.
Marcha a favor de la Ley del Matrimonio gay en Argentina (Photo credit: Globovisión)
Context of Issue: On July 15, 2010, Argentina’s Senate passed a law allowing same-sex marriage. Argentina is the first country in South America to recognize same-sex marriage and it is the tenth country worldwide to allow same-sex marriage. Argentina is one of the leading countries in the Americas as far as the progression towards acceptance of the LGBT community. Compared to the United States, which has reportedly fallen behind in these LGBT rights debates, Argentina seems to have taken the lead in this sense. Argentina maintains an atmosphere of openness to the rights of the LGBT community, even despite the strong presence of religion in their culture. Whereas in countries like Mexico and Honduras, who also possess a strong religious presence, pro-LGBT communities have approached the government with hopes of allowing same-sex marriage and rights, and were consequently met with intolerance and an “anti-gay atmosphere”. In the United States, the government is supposed to be separate from religion with the “separation of church and state”; however, the churches’ opposition to same-sex marriage has been voiced publicly and consequently discussed in the debate against the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States. The United States has been unable to legalize same-sex marriage and many believe that the churches’ blatant opposition and public position play an important role in this result. In this essay, I will focus on the comparison of Argentina and the United States in their progress of the same-sex marriage debate. I will also try to focus on the church’s prominence as a major opposition to the same-sex marriage proposal and how Argentina has managed to overcome this issue, despite the prominence of religion in their culture.
On July 15, 2010, Argentina’s Senate passed a law allowing same-sex marriage. Argentina is the first country in South America to recognize same-sex marriage and it is the tenth country worldwide to allow same-sex marriage. Argentina is one of the leading countries in the Americas as far as LGBT tolerance and transgender rights. In this article by the New York Times, Argentina’s Senate debate is described and their decision is analyzed by the author. The author analyzes Argentina’s openness to the rights of the LGBT community, even despite the strong presence of religion in their culture. Whereas in countries like Mexico and Honduras, who also possess a strong religious presence, pro-LGBT communities have approached the government with hopes of allowing same-sex marriage and rights, and were consequently met with intolerance and an “anti-gay atmosphere”.
Compared to the same-sex marriage and rights debate in the United States, it seems as though quite a few Americans are unwilling to stand behind LGBT rights and debates. In this article by CNN, it’s evident that the majority of American states are presenting an anti-gay atmosphere towards the LGBT community, where 38 of the U.S. states have banned same-sex marriage and an estimated 48% of Americans are opposed to same-sex marriage in 2012.
In this video by CNN, Dr. Ben Carson’s comment on same-sex marriage are discussed in the interview. Dr. Carson compared same-sex marriage to bestiality and pedophilia and claimed that gays “don’t get to change the definition [of marriage as between a man and a woman”.
Lastly, in this article by CNN, it’s revealed that the new Pope, former archbishop of Buenas Aires, has secretly supported the civil unions in Argentina. It’s reported that the Pope displays a certain “willingness behind-the-scenes to accept civil unions as a compromise”.
Despite America’s strong belief that it is ‘the land of the free’, it seems as though it’s fallen behind in the LGBT rights issues. In my research paper, I plan to address Argentina’s open approach to same-sex marriage and its acceptance of the LGBT community, while other countries such as Mexico, Honduras and the United States have reportedly fallen behind in these areas.
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.
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.
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.
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.