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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 4, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 23
Arts & Entertainment
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Letters

U.S. FALLS BEHIND THE REST OF THE WORLD IN GAY RECOGNITION

I regularly read in the LGBT press and in communications from various LGBT organizations that same-sex marriage is legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Mexico City, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. (reference: Sixty Percent Of Iowa Gay Marriages Between Non-Iowans by Rex Wockner, SGN, May 28, 2010.)

Placing U.S. states on the same list as the countries mentioned above while leaving about 30 other countries off the list whose federal governments recognize same-sex unions, partnerships, registrations, etc. is misleading, and the press ought to get it right. The truth is that countries like the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Sweden, Denmark, and a bunch of other countries belong on the same list as Canada and Belgium; whereas, our few U.S. states with so called same-sex marriage do not belong in their company.

To explain, same-sex civil unions in the U.K., for example, are recognized by the British Government, and same-sex partners there have the same rights with respect to taxes, pensions, public and private benefits, inheritance, immigration, housing, hospital visitation, etc. as "traditional" heterosexuals marriages. Same-sex marriages in Iowa are not recognized by our U.S. Federal Government. Iowa same-sex marriages aren't even recognized in Iowa when it comes to federal taxes, social security, and immigration. The same is, of course, true of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts and the rest of the list of U.S. states that sanction same-sex marriage.

We shouldn't diminish the progress we have made in this country, but we also shouldn't imply that our progress compares with the progress made by a growing list of countries that have torn down the barriers of discrimination. The list of countries whose federal governments recognize same-sex marriage-like contractual relationships is significantly larger than the LGBT press reports, and this list does not include a single square foot of the U.S. The reality is that the U.S. is way behind and falling farther behind the rest of the industrialized world every day. The LGBT community as well as the larger American community needs to know this.

Thank you for your consideration,

Craig Norton

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