Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« SIFF 2007: Saturday Highlights | Coming Soon... »

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Surging Past Washington State on Gay Rights: California, Massachusetts, Oregon… and Colombia?

posted by on June 16 at 10:12 AM

Washington State’s domestic partnership law goes into effect in July.

When it does I’ll be able to order my boyfriend to get an autopsy, donate his organs, and decide just where and how to dispose of his remains. I have so much to look forward to. Meanwhile gays and lesbians in California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Colombia—not “District of” (which is, I’ve learned, spelled with a “u”), but “in South America”—will be enjoying much broader rights.

In Massachusetts, of course, the gays are getting legally married—just like the gays in Spain, Holland, South Africa, and other points more progressive. But in a clear sign that Washington State’s well-meaning legislature was guilty of some seriously under-reach on securing rights for same-sex couples in the last legislative session, Colombia’s national legislature has passed—and it’s conservative president has pledged to sign—a law extending some of the major benefits of marriage to same-sex couples in that Latin American nation.

Colombia is set to become the first Latin American country to give established gay couples full rights to health insurance, inheritance and social security under a bill passed by its Congress.

The plan approved Thursday is expected to take effect soon. It is backed by President Alvaro Uribe.

The Washington State domestic partnership law includes the right to inherit property in the absence of a will but it does not mandate health insurance coverage for DPs or social security benefits (which are, unfortunately, in the hands of the feds). Still, if they’re passing laws in Colombia—Colombia!—that go farther than Washington’s DP law, we can and should do better, and demand more, during the next legislative session.

In other gay marriage news…

This Michael Kinsley essay is a must-read.

The debate of 14 years ago about gays in the military seems almost quaint. Kids grow up today with gay friends, gay parents, gay parents of friends and gay friends of parents. If only blacks and whites were as thoroughly mixed together in society as gays and straights are. Kids are also exposed constantly to an entertainment culture in which gays are not merely accepted but in some ways dominant. You rarely see a reality show without a gay cast member, while Rosie O’Donnell is a coveted free agent and Ellen DeGeneres is America’s sweetheart. The notion that gays must be segregated out of the military for the sake of our national security must strike Americans younger than, say, 40 as simply weird, just as we of the previous generation find the rules of racial segregation weird. (O.K., run that by me again: they needed separate drinking fountains because … why?)

And we’re not done with Massachusetts

Fresh off the success of defending gay marriage from its latest attack, advocates say they have one more fight in Massachusetts: Repealing a 1913 law that bars same-sex couples in most other states from coming here to get married.

Some say the law—which says couples cannot be married here unless their unions would be legal in their home states—has its roots in the effort to block interracial marriage, and plan soon to strategize for its repeal….

Massachusetts is the only U.S. state where gay marriage is legal. A few states recognize civil unions for same-sex couples.

Opponents of gay marriage, including the former governor and now Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have said repealing the law would make Massachusetts the “Las Vegas of gay marriage.”

And Stephen Colbert thinks gays should come with a warning label, and homosexuality should be treated as a disease. Call it Disco Fever

RSS icon Comments


Columbia. Hmmm. The river? The University? Because surely Dan Savage can't be so geographically challenged that he doesn't know how to spell the name of one of our largest suppliers of caffeine and cocaine.

Posted by suren~o | June 16, 2007 11:12 AM

Seriously. What is it with you guys and the spelling of Latin American nations' names? Guatamala? Columbia?

Posted by Levislade | June 16, 2007 11:27 AM

Colombia, Dan.

Posted by Fnarf | June 16, 2007 11:28 AM

...and not to make too fine a point, because I feel like I criticize you too much even though I admire your work, but....

The comparison between Massachusetts and Spain, Holland, etc is not equivalent. Of course, those nations have allowed what only a state of this burg has dared recognize.

Also, doesn't England offer civil marriage to same sex couples too? I know they do because my friend had to move there to be with her girlfriend (now her spouse) because they were tired of the expense of visas and the hassle from immigration as they traveled back and forth to be with each other.

Immigration rights are over looked way too much in this conversation (of sorts) about equal treatment.

I wonder how close England comes to equal treatment with their civil marriage law. Obviously, it offers at least immigration rights. MA can't do anything about that.

Posted by patrick | June 16, 2007 11:29 AM

Sorry about the o/u issues. I'm a bad speller -- ask Amy Kate. But, hey, at least it was spelled correctly in the parts I copied and pasted out of Tribune's news story.

The UK has civil partnerships, which offer all the right and obligations of marriage.

Yes, MA can't do anything about the feds. But they've made it possible to, with continued efforts and never-ending lawsuits, move the feds one day on this issue.

Posted by Dan Savage | June 16, 2007 11:47 AM

Mr Romney, you surprise me. As a money-loving Republican, can't you help but see the financial boon of having thousands of men and women flock to Massachusetts to marry their partners in your great state? It's worked out great for Las Vegas.

Also, I hope that people are not taking Stephen Colbert literally when he says that gays should come with warning labels... If so, then I say to you "learn sarcasm."

Posted by Emileigh | June 16, 2007 4:47 PM

gee, a "caring" 'n' kind, totally prophylactic, sarcasm warning-label: only in Seattle!

Posted by Sarcozy | June 16, 2007 4:57 PM

Couldn't find a warning label that fit from American warnings, but here's one in German that we could modify:

Rauchen macht sehr schnell abhängig: Fangen Sie gar nicht erst an! (Smoking is highly addictive: Don't even start!)

With regards to my own homosexuality, that first part definitely seems to be true. The more I do it, the more I can't seem to do without it. And once I started, I was immediately hooked. But then, I'd have to remove the "Don't even start!" Since I'm not the least bit sorry I did. So maybe it's not a good one.

How about "Homosexuality greatly reduces your chance of legal marriage"? Or "Homo Xing"? "This side up"? (I'd have to have mine on the front and back.) "Homosexual. Do not bend." There's one I can get behind.

Posted by bitch on heels | June 16, 2007 6:36 PM

Dan, you must visit South America! The article makes it sounds as if Colombia is some backward country. "How humiliating that they have more gay rights than us over here in the US of A!" you must think.

Having spent time in various parts of Colombia, traveling and meeting locals, I assure you that it isn't a bunch of mud-huts and poverty. Bogotá's financial district feels as upscale as San Francisco's. The ATMs use friggin' fringerprints instead of PINs! Medellín is a city of culture and art and home to many Latin music stars. Cartegena's lovely beaches and fantastic nightlife match anything I've seen in New York. In short: Colombia kicks ass. A shame about all the bad guys living in the jungles.

Now if Bolivia were to adopt same-sex marriage, that would be humiliation. That's a poor country with mud-huts and locals that will take a dump ON THE BUS if they can't wait for the next stop. That's a different South America.

Posted by EAS | June 17, 2007 1:15 AM

If the US does not start changing soon, I think Latin America could run past it in terms of gay rights. Latin American culture has family as one of the most important values, which means that the family will always (in theory) remain together even if someone is gay.

Makes me mad that the Pope and religious conservatives have made Family a bit of a dirty word when it's one of the best things we've got going to gain gay rights.

Posted by Arturo | June 17, 2007 10:24 AM

Dan knows stephen colbert is being sarcastic right? Thats the point of his whole show...

Posted by Kiwi | June 17, 2007 10:45 AM

No, Kiwi. Dan Savage doesn't comprehend sarcasm. Ever.

Posted by katie | June 17, 2007 11:51 AM

Yeah, Dan, MA is pushing the envelope in our struggle towards getting full benefits--including from the feds. We won a great victory here on June 14th. Check out how MA did it in our recently released book, "Courting Equality:A Documentary History of America's First Legal Same-Sex Marriages" (Beacon Press). Great color photos and text that gives the history. We captured the many strategies that worked to win. Our website gives details

Posted by Courting Equality | June 19, 2007 12:51 PM

Hello! Good Site! Thanks you! rkkmochpbtuxqv

Posted by zrtztcunks | June 24, 2007 4:56 AM

zrijkych louigfrp qwokalmji rfcu kbrjizf ubfc vkeacgwnf

Posted by unij wgujbzen | June 25, 2007 3:45 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).