International Gay Rights Update

Over the past few months it seems the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage has been on the forefront of not just the domestic news, but the international news as well.

On December 21st, Mexico City became the Latin America’s first law recognizes gay marriage. The law, which was approved by city legislators will take effect this March. It will also allow same sex couples to legally adopt children. Same-sex civil unions are already legalized in Uruguay, Buenos Aires, and some states in Mexico and Brazil, but this is the first time that gay marriage itself has been recognized.

Although there are clear victories for gay marriage, particularly in Latin America, there are other serious concerns about how homosexuality is treated in other parts of the world. For example, on Monday, The New York Times carried this article, titled “Americans’ Role Seen in Uganda Anti-Gay Push” by Jeffrey Gettleman. The article describes the efforts in Uganda to criminalize and punish by death homosexual conduct. It points out the direct connection between the proposed anti-gay legislation and U.S. evangelical preachers in proselytizing in Uganda with anti-gay messages.

An Overbrook grantee, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is very active in the efforts to fight this legislation by developing international opposition to its adoption. IGLHRC, a leading international organization dedicated to human rights advocacy on behalf of people who experience discrimination or abuse on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, has been very effective in making the US fundamentalist connection visible and in calling out conservative US Congressmen who haven’t spoken up in opposition to the legislation. And of course, the issue of the criminality of homosexuality abroad is not limited to Uganda. For a recent post from IGLHRC on the status of a law criminalizing homosexuality in Rwanda, click here.

We often blog about gay marriage issues here in the United States, but will definitely be more diligent in following how these issues are being dealt with around the world as well.