I was born in 1987, two years before the first same-sex union bill was passed (Denmark, 1989) and eleven years before the first same-sex marriage bill came through (Netherlands, 2000). I was born in a country where consensual homosexual activity was illegal.
In 2011, the world looks like a different place. 10 countries (Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland and Argentina) and 5 U.S. states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire) and the District of Columbia, in addition to a few other subnational entities, already legalised same-sex marriage.
I am lucky to be born into this generation. I live in the part of the world where most people support equality for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people. In fact, we are the first generation in history to have achieved this level of acceptance.
Same-sex marriage legislation is a great achievement, and I see it is an indicator of social progress. I also acknowledge that I am fortunate to be raised and live here.
It is tragic, however, that the majority of the LGBT population lives in countries where same-sex civil unions or marriage remain illegal. It is heartbreaking that in six countries homosexual acts are punished by life imprisonment and in ten countries by death penalty. It is sad that it will take several more generations even in the West to achieve full equality in court, in classrooms, and on the less fortunate streets. It is tremendously sad that leaders of Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, still enjoying moral prestige among large masses of population, refuse to recognise LGBT rights.
I sincerely believe that legalisation of same-sex marriage is inevitable in most parts of the world. I believe that there is a certain threshold that must be overcome, after which there will be no more fear that the achieved LGBT rights could be taken away from the population and after which a wave of positive legislation outside of the West ensues.
It could very well be that such threshold is the moment when three countries – Britain, France and Germany – and two U.S. states* – California and New York – legalise gay marriage. Just those five due to their political, economic and moral eminence, and of course their large, wealthy, and fluid populations. After those five get it right, the toughest fight for equality will be over – equality will become firmly embedded in people’s psychology in the West.
This is my personal view, subjective as it is, but I think that those five will make all the difference.
As time goes by, I will be returning to this message and updating it when equality legislation passes through. Adding to this post will be a sweet thing to experience.
May 2011: 0/5
June 2011: 1/5 New York
May 2013: 2/5 France
June 2013: 3/5 California**
July 2013: 3.5/5 England and Wales
Mar 2014: 3.75/5 Scotland
June 2015: 3.75/5 United States (all 50 states)
* Why did I focus on the two U.S. states rather than the entire country? Because back in 2011, it was unimaginable that the entire United States would have marriage equality in only five years. (Update: June 26, 2015)
** Initially passed in November 2008.