How can we call for a boycott of these countries when gay people by the tens of thousands are vacationing in Jamaica, Zanzabar, Dubai and any number of other radically homophobic countries?I know a gay couple who went to Canada to get married and then went to Jamaica for their honeymoon. They were shocked and angered when I questioned their judgement.We should expect our allies to not support our enemies but we can’t very well ask them to do it when people in our own community don’t understand the importance of not supporting homophobic regimes or the importance supporting those who support us.
How easy it is, after a few years of rapid advancements, for western Europeans to criticise the gay rights record of the United States. The laws of the EU, drafted by western European countries before the more conservative countries of the east were admitted, were easy to enact at a time when the EU itself was much more politically homogenous. The situation is analogous to California, Vermont, New Jersey and Oregon (which you missed, by the way, as a state which has a law granting same-sex couples comprehensive benefits)forming a union (I wish!) and drafting similar laws before admitting Texas, Kansas and Ohio. While I can’t argue with your assessment of US foreign policy as a whole (one which Britain has also subscribed to, don’t forget), and while the American record on gay rights has lost ground in recent years to Western Europe and Canada, your blanket condemnation of the US as “having the 11th worst record on gay rights” is far, far off the mark. Hello? Jamaica? Russia? China? Singapore? Even most of Mexico? The US is a big, fat, tempting target, but don’t let that visibility confuse the issue: many of the laws you enjoy in Europe had their inspiration on the other side of the Atlantic.
The anonymous post, should the person be a regular reader of my column, realise that I am not a European, but was born and brought up in one of the most homophobic nations in the world. And that, by definition, means I’m not British either; nor do I subscribe to its foreign policy.
Anonymous, some of your points are well taken, but the fact of the matter remains, the U.S. does rank among the worst eleven on gay rights. Inspiration from the other side of the Atlantic aside, what does it matter at this point? The fact is, we have 27 states, more than half the country with the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in place which forbids same-sex couples from marrying and I daresay making any provision for second rate civil unions. Even if a Democrat wins the White House in 2008, none of the three recognizes full equality for our brothers and sisters. Offering civil unions with federal recognition will serve gay couples in the 27 red (conservative) states no purpose at all and many of those states don’t even allow domestic partnerships let alone civil unions and there are only nine states where adoption for gay couples is permitted. They either have to move to a blue (quasi liberal/labour) state or at worst, emigrate to a more progressive society. We heard it from the horses mouths on August 9 during the presidential forum that the three frontrunners do NOT believe in same-sex marriage, and they refused to clarify why they opposed it. Is it any wonder we’ve lost ground and will continue to lose ground with moderate conservatives dressed in democratic clothing? The most liberal with the exception of Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel are equivalent to the UK’s tories, doesn’t say much for our system or the democratic party in general. I’d rather have a British conservative than an American democrat, any day. At least they don’t bring religion into politics let alone their personal beliefs which is what is poisoning the democractic party on equality issues.Robert, New York, NY.