Friday, July 01, 2005

Civil Rights March On...Abroad

With a 187-147 parliamentary vote on Thursday, Spain became the third country to legalize gay marriage. The other two are Belgium and the Netherlands. Pending the results of a July vote that is expected to pass the Senate in Ottawa, Canada will become the fourth.

As often is the case in matters of civil rights, the U.S. lags behind. We were quite late in officially abolishing slavery, but not last (thanks, Saudi Arabia!). The logical extension of that abolition—equality for blacks—took another hundred-odd years. We still won't let gays in the military (unlike Britain, Germany, Israel, etc.) and universal health care? Forget about it!

We usually get it right eventually, and this will be true for gay marriage as well. The only question is: when? How long will we live with the stigma of ignoring one of the great civil rights issues of our age? Let's try not make it a hundred years this time.
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