Monday, December 23, 2013

Two steps forward, one big step back

Some good and bad news on marriage equality and gay rights over the weekend. Firstly, courts have ruled in favour of marriage equality in both New Mexico and Utah - resulting in the usual floods of happy couples to registry offices. The Utah decision is particularly important, as it saw a federal judge strike down a bigot-clause in the state constitution which defined marriage in exclusively heterosexual terms. Thanks to Republican attempts to boost election turnout a few elections ago, lots of backward states have such clauses - and now every one of them could be in legal jeopardy. As a result the decision is bound to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. But if its upheld - and its hard to see how it can't be, unless "equal protection under the law" has an implicit "except for gays and other people rich white judges don't like!" - a lot of states are suddenly going to have to enter the 21st century.

And the bad news: Uganda passed its notorious anti-gay law, imposing penalties of life imprisonment for homosexuality and requiring people to report suspected homosexuals or face jail themselves. And we thought Russia was bad...