Liberté, égalité … perfidité
Two A fine examples on this year’s Bastille Day:
- In Argentina, the Senate argued all night, finally at four in the morning passing by a vote of 33 to 27 the lower house bill that legalizes same-gender marriage. President Fernandez de Kirschner has already said she will not veto the bill, which was supported by about 70 percent of Argentines.
The best the opponents were able to muster was a slogan “Every child deserves a mother and father,” which may be true, but rather misses the point. Argentina joins Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Iceland, Belgium, South Africa, Portugal and Canada in permitting same-gender marriages nationwide. Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay may join Argentina in updating their marriage laws later this year.
In the Americas, besides Canada (and Argentina as soon as the new law is printed in the Gazette), in countries where marriage is a state matter, same gender marriage is permitted in San Pedro Sul in Brazil and the U.S. states of Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont as well as the District of Colombia (Washington).
And, of course, the Federal District (Mexico City). Having discovered in Mexico that the sky does not fall when people of the same gender marry, reforms may be on the agenda for state legislatures in Michoacán, Morelos, Puebla, Sonora, Tabasco, and Tamaulipas.
Several European countries, and a handful of places in the Americas (like Montevideo, Uruguay and the state of Coahuila) give legal protection to same-gender couples under free union (domestic partnership) agreements.
- And a hoax: in France… probably the best Bastille Day gesture ever… the government decided to correct one of the great injustices of European colonialism, paying back (with INTEREST) the 90 million gold francs extorted from Haiti in return for its independence. A fake email allegedly from the French Foreign Ministry announced plans to return the 90 million gold francs Haiti was forced to pony up for it’s independence. Having begun life hopelessly in debt, Haiti never recovered, and there is no way to undo the past, but €17 billion goes a long way to at least overcoming some of the most pressing needs of that most unfortunate nation. Structually Maladjusted was pulled in by this hoax too… which he seems to think was useful in highlighting the Haitian debt issue. I do’t. That seems a rationalization for what is, at bottom, a cruel trick… not so much on people like myself (who picked up the tale), but on the very people meant to be “assisted” by this hoax.
From what I can tell, the hoaxers are a U.S. group, preaching to the French about a historic injustice, which — I suppose could be (and should have been) the basis for some unrestricted aid now. But, U.S. groups should, if they do need to preach (which seems to be the style of U.S. political discourse) might do better to stick to their own country’s sorry history of intervention and expropriation in Haiti and elsewhere in the Americas. This seems typical of U.S. “progressives”… not to really have any concern with their fellow Americans as people, but only to use them as “lessons” for domestic consumption.
While that may pique a few consciences in France, the effect is only to use Haiti as a foil for their own social and political games. And a cruel trick upon any Haitian who might have read the original report.