Friday, December 16, 2005

Czechs & Austrians move to create domestic partnership while American anti-gay tactics spread to Latvia

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According to two articles here and here published by News, the Czech Republic and Austria have taken moves to legalize same-sex unions in the form of domestic partner registries while Latvia has picked up the anti-gay political tactics of the American right. Latvia became the first European country to ban same-sex marriage by constitutional amendment on Thursday, December 15. The amendment passed its final reading in the Latvian Parliament and defines 'marriage' as a union between one man and one woman. Latvia's move may pit it against the European Union's human rights laws. According to the article:
“We are appalled and seriously concerned with these homophobic developments in Latvia," said Patricia Prendiville, Executive Director of the International Lesbian and Gay Association - Europe. "As an EU member state, Latvia is acting contradictory to and disrespectfully to the principles of equality and non-discrimination agreed and confirmed by various EU treaties. Not only has Latvia now a discriminatory constitutional provision motivated solely by homophobia, but Latvia is still the only EU member state which did not ban sexual orientation discrimination in employment as required by the EU employment equality directive," she said.
Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic and in Austria, moves toward equality for all citizens are pushing forward. A bill to create a domestic partner registry for gay and lesbian couples passed the lower house of the Czech Republic on Friday, December 16. In Austria, its Justice Minister, Karin Gastinger, announced on Friday that he is considering providing limited recognition of same-sex relationships. The American right's anti-gay tactic of creating second-class citizens within our COnstitution has spread to other countries. Quite frankly, I'm scared. No countries constitution should be used to take away or limit the rights of its citizens. The United States Constitution, in particular, was never meant to do such a thing. In fact, our Constitution was created for the specific purpose of establishing a government that gave and protected the rights of citizens. While I will admit that we didn't have it erfect in 1781 and we still don't have it quite perfect today, our nation gets better at equality every year... at least until the radical right took its strangle hold on the White House and Congress. By amending constitutions to limit the rights of a certain portion of the population you are, in effect, creating a second-class citizenship. There is no room in the United States of America for second-class citizenship: you are either a citizen with full equality or you are a non-citizen. I'm sorry to speak in absolutes, but this is one area in which a 'black-and-white' worldview is appropriate. I pray that the United States of America will never amend the Constitution to limit the rights of its citizens. I just hope we can get past all of this right-wing hype before we cause too much damage in other parts of the world. Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,