Portugal legalized same-sex marriages last year, joining a small but growing group of countries around the world. According to an op-ed piece in the New York Times, it’s not a coincidence that some of the countries have made this decision. It’s because of their history.
After a brief discussion of the first countries (Netherlands and Belgium) to legally allow same-sex marriage (which he is distinguishing apparently from civil-partnerships such as are found in the United Kingdom, Bruni writes:
“The eight countries that later joined the club were a mix of largely foreseeable and less predictable additions. In the first category I’d put Canada, Norway, Sweden and Iceland. In the second: South Africa, Spain, Portugal and Argentina.
Why those four countries? People who have studied the issue note that that they have something interesting and relevant in common: each spent a significant period of the late 20th century governed by a dictatorship or brutally discriminatory government, and each emerged from that determined to exhibit a modernity and concern for human rights that put the past to rest.
“They’re countries where the commitment to democracy and equal protection under the law was denied, flouted and oppressed, and the societies have struggled to restore that,” said Evan Wolfson, the president of Freedom to Marry, a New York-based advocacy group, in a recent interview.”
Interesting argument. Do you think it holds? Which nation will be next?