Friday, January 10, 2014

Let's hear it for familias homoparentales

Math whiz Alexis Héctor Castillo, his sister, and their mamas
El Día, the Santiago (Chile) daily, carries a brief reference in their “Social” section to a well-done video today put out by the AVP Campaign.  “No more families without rights,” reads the headline, the slogan of the MOVILH organization.  MOVILH  stands for  Movimiento de Integración y Liberación Nacional Homosexual/International Movement for National Homosexual Integration and Liberation.    AVP stands for Acuerdo de Vida en Pareja/Life Partner Agreement.   Chile is on the move to become perhaps the next country to approve same-sex marriage.  It’s a ways off, and there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip, but we’re on our way!

If you’re of the Spanish-speaking persuasion, check out the video at the site.  If it’s down by the time you read this, you should be able to get it on YouTube here.

The video shows what can happen to a couple who want to marry, but can’t.  Two women.  One gets sick and dies.  The other nurses her through it and then loses the house to her family, who do not approve of the relationship.  The story has been told over and over, in each country where same-sex marriage rights are withheld.  Each one becomes an isolated individual case. Each struggle is fought one at a time.

But there is good news in Chile, not to offset the first story – that won’t be done till same-sex marriage rights are recognized legally – but to indicate reason for hope.  A same-sex marriage bill cleared committee by 28 votes to 6 on Tuesday and is now in the Chilean Senate for consideration.  Also in the Senate chamber, no surprise, were opponents with signs reading, “Return to Christ.”   Fortunately, the president, Michelle Bachelet, is behind the bill, and behind LGBT causes in general.

Then there is the story of a boy named Alexis Héctor Castillo.  He’s from Rancagua, a copper mining town south of the capital.  He just won the prize for best math student in the country.  Now his mothers are at pains to explain it’s not that “las familias homoparentales son mejores o peores que las otras…”  - it’s not that families with same-sex parents (I much prefer the Spanish word “homoparental”) are better or worse than others – it’s just that the State needs to recognize they are in no way different, and good things can just as easily come from them as from the standard variety.

If you look at a map of South America detailing where same-sex marriages are recognized, the image is striking. 

   Same-sex marriage
   Other type of partnership
   Unrecognized or unknown
   No recognition, same-sex marriage banned by the constitution
   Same-sex sexual activity illegal

60.7% of South Americans live in Brazil, Argentina or Uruguay (in  ) where same-sex marriages are legal.

An additional 15.5% of the population live in Columbia and Ecuador (in  ) which have civil unions and where the pressure is on to extend the right to unions to the right to full marriages.

Not too shabby, all things considered.

¡La Lucha Continúa!

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