Obama Supports Gay Marriage
Obama Supports Gay Marriage, Gay-rights activists around the world hailed President Barack Obama’s support for same-S-EX- marriage as a symbolic victory Thursday, whether they were fighting at home for similar rights or simply for the right to be themselves without being attacked or thrown in prison.
The victory may be more than symbolic in New Zealand, where Prime Minister John Key broke his long silence on g*y marriage and said his government may consider allowing it “at some stage.”
There were few signs elsewhere that Obama’s announcement Wednesday would drive change abroad. Conservative Christian and Muslim leaders decried his change of heart, and even in Australia, where a g*y-marriage debate similar to America’s has brewed for years, the left-leaning prime minister said she remains opposed.
Several countries, mostly in Europe but also Canada, Argentina and South Africa, already allow g*y marriage. But for hundreds of millions of other people in Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere, homoS-EX-uality is rarely even discussed, let alone g*y marriage rights.
In China, “the government treats homoS-EX-uality like it does not exist,” said Xiong Jing, an activist who volunteers in g*y support groups in Beijing. She said legalizing g*y marriage there would be “unrealistic and impossible.”
S***my was a crime in China until 1997, and the government considered homoS-EX-uality a mental disorder until 2001. Today g*ys are frequently discriminated against and ostracized in the country, which shows little tolerance for activism of any kind.
Xiong welcomed Obama’s support for g*y marriage but didn’t think it would make much difference in China, and wished he had done more. “If he, as president, was able to not just express his own personal opinion but to support policies on this, that would be even better,” she said.
Natee Teerarojjanapongs, a g*y activist from Chiang Mai, Thailand, was more excited. Though Thailand is often seen as g*y-friendly by tourists, Thai society is conservative and there has been little support for expanding g*y rights in the Southeast Asian country.
“I was starting to lose hope in fighting for g*y marriage legalization in Thailand,” Natee said, “but now Barack Obama’s endorsement is rekindling my fire and is giving me the encouragement to go on.”
HomoS-EX-uality also remains taboo in India, despite large g*y pride parades recently in New Delhi and other big cities. Only this year, the government accepted a court ruling that struck down a colonial-era law banning g*y S-EX-, and the Supreme Court is now hearing appeals.
In New Zealand, Key said he was “not personally opposed to g*y marriage” in an emailed statement Thursday that did not mention Obama. Opposition leader David Shearer went a step further with a tweet saying, “I fully support marriage equality in principle.”
Key said the issue is not currently on the government’s agenda but could be considered later. New Zealand currently allows same-S-EX- civil unions, which are similar to g*y marriages but seen as inadequate by activists who see them as conferring second-class status to g*y couples. (AP)
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