Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sweden approves equal marriage...

No, this is not an April Fool's Day joke. Sweden has become the latest country to approve same sex marriage. Six of the seven parties in the Swedish parliament backed a proposal to implement a gender-neutral marriage law starting May 1, 2009. The proposal passed today with a 261 to 22 vote and 16 abstentions. I'm sure fans of Abba will be proud.

Sweden has allowed civil unions for same sex couples since 1995. Now Sweden joins Holland, Belgium, Canada, Spain, South Africa and Norway allowing same sex marriage country-wide. (Massachusetts and Connecticut are the only two American states where equal marriage remains unchallenged, California still pending.)


Don't Tase Me, Bro! said...

Remind me again why civil unions cannot bring the same level of equality as legalizing same sex marriage? I'm starting to have a personal crisis of balancing between my belief in social progress to my religious beliefs.

Matt Guerin said...

If heterosexuals (because they partner with members of the opposite sex) are given the legal right to enter into a civil marriage, while gays (because they typically partner with members of the same sex) are not, we have unequal treatment under the law.

When I talk about civil marriage, I mean the government-sanctioned definition of marriage, not religious marriage which in unaffected by this issue.

Civil unions are the "separate but equal" supposed compromise on the issue. One institution (marriage) for heterosexuals which has the most respect in society, another lesser-sounding institution for gays. Courts have correctly ruled in the U.S. that "separate but equal" laws are not equal at all. Thus why equal marriage under the law is necessary in order for a society to truly have equality under the law.

Some societies don't respect equality under the law at all. But those countries that do - including the U.S. - should grant same sex couples the right to marry.

Just because you don't approve of something for religious reasons doesn't mean that that thing should be banned in a secular society. There has to be additional reasons to ban it (greater good, potential harm to individuals, etc.) Division of church and state is also a major tenet of Western countries.