Friday, June 15, 2007

Columbia Does the Right Thing

From Box Turtle Bulletin:
Columbia Recognizes Same-Sex Couples

The Congress of Columbia has passed a bill to provide same-sex couples with many of the rights of married opposite-sex couples. The Latin American country joined with Tazmania, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and nearly all of Europe as well as parts of Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico in providing protections that are denied by most of the United States.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colombia to Recognize Gay Unions With Extension of Health, Other Benefits

By Juan Forero
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, June 16, 2007; Page A10

BOGOTA, Colombia, June 15 -- Colombia's Congress voted to recognize gay unions, approving a bill to give same-sex couples full rights to health insurance, social security and inheritance benefits. The measure would make Colombia the first country in Latin America to extend such rights to gay couples, a prospect celebrated by gay rights advocates from Buenos Aires to New York.

The lower house of Congress approved the bill 62 to 43 on Thursday night after a long lobbying effort by gay rights activists, who argued that gay couples have a human right to the benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy. In the Americas, only Canada has approved a similar law. In the United States, a handful of states entitle gay couples to health and other benefits. But those rights are not recognized nationally, and several states have approved laws prohibiting gay unions.

"I think this is an incredible victory that should resonate across both continents, north and south," said Scott Long, director of the gay rights program at Human Rights Watch in New York. "It should definitely be an example to the United States. Colombia is a country that's Catholic, with a conservative government, and they still recognize that this is the right thing to do."

Colombia, like most Latin American countries, does not have fundamentalist groups with the kind of influence and funding to launch a national campaign against gay rights. But it does have a powerful Catholic Church, which argued that extending rights to same-sex couples would violate church doctrine. "This gives legal sanctity to families that are artificial and false," said José Galat, a prominent Catholic activist.

After a long public battle, advocates from groups such as Diverse Colombia slowly won over many lawmakers in Congress. Among those who support the bill is President Álvaro Uribe, a conservative Catholic. He is expected to sign the measure.

Elizabeth Castillo, a lawyer and gay rights advocate, said activists succeeded by shifting the debate from morality to human rights. The country is still in the midst of a long guerrilla conflict marked by widespread rights violations. But human rights groups have increasingly gained prominence here in recent years -- a trend that helped the gay rights movement.

"This argument was never based on moral or religious grounds, even though the detractors always went to the religious and moral arguments," Castillo said.

Compared with Bogota, the capital, other Latin American cities have traditionally been considered more tolerant of gays; Mexico City and Buenos Aires have passed laws extending health and other benefits to same-sex couples. But Bogota has a thriving gay neighborhood, bars whose patrons are openly gay and a center that provides counseling and legal advice to members of the gay community. Local politicians, among them Mayor Luis Eduardo Garzón and prominent members of Congress such as Sen. Armando Benedetti, have supported the drive to give more rights to gay couples.

Still, activists say violence against gays is not uncommon and discrimination remains a recurring problem. Castillo said that even with the new law, many partners in gay relationships would probably be denied health and other benefits.

"It's possible things won't change for some people," Castillo said, "as if the law had never been passed.

June 16, 2007 10:49 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

I haven't seen the print edition, but there's a picture of our hero Jim under local news in the online edition of the Blade:

June 16, 2007 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a study for MCPS. Studies are more appropriate for curriculum reference rather than association votes:

"June 8, 2007 -- New research reveals that religious attendance especially among fathers is associated with higher rates of marriage, better relationship quality among urban parents and better parent-child relationships.

Religion seems to foster a code of decency encompassing sobriety, fidelity and hard work among urban parents, especially fathers, said Bradford Wilcox, a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, who conducted the research. This decency translates into better relationships among married couples and, much to my surprise, among unmarried couples. Specifically, Wilcox finds that churchgoing fathers:

1. Are 95 percent more likely to be married when their child is born.

2. Increase the likelihood that an unmarried mother will enter into marriage between the birth of her child and three years after birth by 67 percent.

3. Have relationships in which both mothers and fathers are significantly more likely to rate their partner as supportive whether or not they are married.

4. Have relationships in which both the mothers and fathers are significantly more likely to report that they have an excellent relationship with one another, whether or not they are married. Previous research has established that better relationship quality between married or unmarried parents translates into better parent-child relationships and child development outcomes.

Source: Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Survey, sponsored by Columbia and Princeton Universities."

June 16, 2007 2:13 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anonymous, that's just fascinating. Is there some way that this information has anything at all to do with the topics we discuss here or the posted item about Columbia?


June 16, 2007 3:02 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Anonymous, these correlations may not (and probably don't) have any relation to religion, but rather to the social support network that goes along with it. Society can develop and encourage participation in such social support networks without including the damaging effects of beliefs in magic, the supernatural, and the prejudices that often go along with such "us versus them" philosophies.

June 16, 2007 3:59 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Welcoming congregations in my area (e.g. Hope UCC, Wellspring UCC, UUCA, UUCF, Little River UCC, Friends meeting of Washington, Washington Plaza Baptist, Clarendon Presbyterian) are filled with church-going LGBT fathers (and mothers). Research (and common sense) indicate that LGBT people make good parents. Unfortunately, MCPS BOE didn't see its way to putting that in the curriculum

June 16, 2007 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I haven't seen the print edition, but there's a picture of our hero Jim under local news in the online edition of the Blade:"


Went to look at this site and it was very interesting. Seems that they are very upset about the prudent D.C. councilmembers who don't want to reopen the gay strip bars that were displaced by the Nats stadium.

Oh, and a column called "Bitch Session" with this:

"I’m sorry but the Gay Pride Parade was as usual absolutely hideous! There was nothing classy about it. Just a bunch of obnoxious queens flaunting their gayness and perversion to a somewhat captive audience."

Sounds familiar. Maybe you write and explain to the Blade how much money these fellas are raisin' fer charity.

What charities were those again?

June 16, 2007 4:49 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

There's a movie coming out in July called "I now pronounce you Chuck and Larry", with Adam Sandler and Kevin James, about 2 straight firemen who fake a gay marriage for the health benefits. Too cool.

June 16, 2007 5:22 PM  
Blogger Robert said...


I love Bitch Session. Too funny for words. Anyone can say anything.

You should loosen up a little and enjoy life.


June 16, 2007 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
nutty anon doesn't get bitch session. His only happiness is coming here and bitching to us.

June 16, 2007 6:25 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

I enjoy reading anon's comments for the same reason I like bitch session, kind of a vicarious enjoyment of people being catty. Bitch Session makes my friend Dennis from Richmond really sad, because he doesn't like people being so mean to one another, even anonymously. I think at some point we have to let loose and not take ourselves so seriously, else we become bitter (was it Nietsche who said "that which doesn't destroy us makes us more bitter?").

June 16, 2007 7:35 PM  
Blogger Tish said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 17, 2007 12:20 PM  
Blogger Tish said...

'm with Robert's friend Dennis from Richmond. I find the meanness of the BS feature disheartening. However, it isn't about me, for me or from me, and I stopped reading it a long time ago; problem solved.

The Blade has won a number of journalism awards for both news reporting and editorials. They deserve those awards. Politically, there is more diversity in the opinion pages of the Blade than any other DC area newspaper, with strong voices speaking about conservative and liberal issues and concerns.

When covering our little corner of the activerse, the Blade's reporters have never found it necessary to "round out" a story by interviewing people who weren't there and weren't involved, as the Post, Times and Examiner have done on several occasions. Furthermore, I have never seen the new curriculum misquoted or quoted out of context in a Blade story.

Bitch Session notwithstanding, I look forward to my Friday mornings with the new on-line edition of the Blade.

June 17, 2007 12:22 PM  

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