This article was published on July 25th, 2017
It’s not often you see a politician or world leader allow a vote on something you completely disapprove of. But that is exactly what German Chancellor Angela Merkel did in a sneaky game of politics last month. Though she personally opposes same sex marriage and wanted to appease her conservative base, she allowed a vote for marriage equality in Germany knowing it would pass against her wishes. Though she voted against it, she permitted it happening in an acceptance of the times. Suddenly, it seems, first world nations are falling over themselves to legalize same sex marriage in their nations.
Deutschland isn’t the most recent nation, either. The small European island nation Malta, with its strong ties to the Catholic Church, in July 2017, nearly voted unanimously in their parliament to change the laws to be non-gender specific when it comes to wedlock, immediately legalizing marriage across the island. In the last four years, half of the two-dozen countries that now allow same-sex marriage to have come on board.
From 2013 on, Uruguay, New Zealand, France, Brazil, England and Wales, Scotland, Luxembourg, Finland, Ireland, Greenland, the United States, and Colombia had all legalized marriage equality in one way or another. It was Ireland who stunned the world by being the first country, in 2015, to hold a public referendum on the subject. Thousands flew back home to the Emerald Island and voted in support of marriage equality by 62%
What is it about first-world countries so rapidly coming on our side in the last few years? A combination of factors, it seems, have all participated in nation’s extending full marriage rights to its citizens.
First, it’s the right thing to do. LGBQ activists are simply asking for equal treatment under the law and deem marriage an essential part of society.
Second, world leaders like Justin Trudeau, Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, Enda Kelly, and Jeremy Corbyn, to name a few, have publically supported marriage equality in the last half decade.
Third, the Internet has connected people to the world, enabling individual stories of heartache and separation to be able to be seen around the world. It’s hard for some African and Middle Eastern leaders to claim that homosexuality is a western invention when the Internet and Facebook tell otherwise. Gay people come from all walks of like.
Fourth, being anti-LGBT is bad for business. American states like Arizona, Indiana, and North Carolina are feeling the wrath of corporate dollars pulling out of their states due to archaic laws trying to suspend LGBT rights. Queer people spend millions of dollars in tourism that countries like Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, Chechnya, Russia, etc. miss out on due to their often-horrific legal stances against gays.
Now, we wait in the wings, on the train platform, ready for other western-world countries to ride the train as well. Half of South America is already there. Countries like Costa Rica have talked about it. Meanwhile, Taiwan is en route to legalize, along with Korea and Vietnam. Will first-world Japan join in too? Thailand? What about the rest of Europe like Italy and Monaco? Poland? Which country will shock us all in the Middle East or Africa by supporting same-sex marriage? It’s anybody’s guess, at this point. Hopefully the same-sex marriage train keeps a-chugging along and more countries follow suit.