Thursday, December 01, 2005

Welcome, South Africa, to a very exclusive club

South Africa is well on its way to becoming the fifth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. The first legal same-sex marriage in South Africa has already taken place.

This would make South Africa the fifth country - after the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Canada, to enshrine gay and lesbian equality in the most profound way possible - with a recognition that gay relationships are just as valid and loving as straight ones.

South Africa is particularly significant, because their policy of apartheid - a racist and degrading policy openly and enthusiastically supported by Conservative MP Rob Anders - was known around the world, and they have been iconic in shedding their discriminatory past and building an inclusive, tolerant, liberal democracy. This is a testament to just how far they've come - twenty years ago, who would have thought that South Africa would be further along in the fight for equality than much of Europe, and lightyears ahead of the United States?

It's also a testament to how much the Conservative party has changed. The types of religious fanatics I talked about in my previous post want to take Canada off that list of five countries, and Stephen Harper is playing their game. Who would have thought that the party of Brian Mulroney - who to his great credit fought twenty years ago for an end to apartheid - would have been hijacked by people who support South African apartheid, and who want to implement their own brand of it against gays and lesbians in this country?

It's shameful, and former Progressive Conservatives (like me), and members of the progressive wing of the Conservative Party should think long and hard about the type of far-right fanatics they'd be supporting by supporting Stephen Harper, Stockwell Day and Rob Anders' Conservatives.


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