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Friday, August 6, 2010

Homosexuals Hopeful in the Americas

Homosexuals across the Americas are facing a historic period in the history of their civil rights drive. On Wednesday the news wires were awash with the story of a federal judge's overturning of California's ban on same-sex marriage brought in by the Proposition 8 vote at the same time as the last Presidential Election in November 2008.

A similar ruling was made in Mexico's Supreme court yesterday decreeing that a fledgling law allowing for same sex marriage in  the city was not unconstitutional as had been claimed by the federal prosecuters who stated it violated the parts of the constitution which enshrined protection for the family.

The Court must also vote on Monday if a law allowing adoption in the capital is also unconstitutional. Interestingly the judges in the Supreme Court who supported same-sex marriage 8-2 have yet to decide on the scope of their ruling. They must decide whether it will simply effect the Mexico City jurisdiction or also states surrounding it, effectively legalising same sex marriage nationwide.

Canada became the first nation in the Americas to legalise same sex marriage in 2005. Argentina followed suit but with an interim period of 5 years. Currently there are 5 US states which allow for same sex marriage as does the district of Columbia.

However, this  recent ruling by the federal judge on the Proposition 8 vote has set in motion the wheels of change. The ruling will be contested by opponents of gay marriage and it could end up heading to the nation's Supreme Court. Here in the highest court in the land the constitutionality of gay marriage would be settled once and for all which could pave the way for a nationwide legalisation of the practice.

With North America seeming to make significant strides towards gay marriage on the continent and Argentina and Uruguay leading a continent that is opening up to the idea there have been and appear to be some rays of hope for the gay communities in this region.

However, the situation in the Caribbean is a lot more desperate. Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados amongst other maintain laws banning all homosexual acts or at least acts involving men. The regions homosexuals still face a great deal of prosecution and equality seems a distant dream.

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