News & Politics

This Was the Decade For Same-Sex Marriage. Who Knew?

In the year 2000, I never would have imagined that we'd be seeing a global movement for marriage equality.

When I sat down to think about what has pleasantly surprised me, or disappointed me, over the last decade, it was on the day that the Mexico City assembly voted to legalize same-sex marriage, declaring its new definition of marriage to be "the free uniting of two people." This, mere days after Washington DC mayor Adrian Fenty signed the district's marriage equality bill. Two north American capital cities legalizing same-sex marriage within a week of one another -- and Ottawa didn't get in on the action only because there's no need -- is something I don't believe I imagined would be possible at the start of this decade.

It's not because I didn't want it to happen; to the contrary, I've been hoping for legalized same-sex marriage all over the globe since I was old enough to understand that it didn't already exist. Even to my wee developing mind, then mostly clogged with endless unanswered questions and an obsessive preoccupation with Smurfs, the prohibition on same-sex marriage seemed like a horrible injustice. It wasn't fair, in the simple way many things bitterly complained about on the school playground weren't fair, and I haven't changed my mind about that since.

A decade ago, I knew a lot of straight people who supported something marriage-ish, such as civil unions or domestic partnerships, but didn't share my elementary umbrage at the flat unfairness of marriage inequality. But somewhere, over the course of the last few years, most of them caught up. And now they're impatient, too.

Which is not to say, of course, that there doesn't yet exist a strong opposition to same-sex marriage. Certainly there does -- the recent setback in Maine, and the results on election night 2008 in California and Florida, attest to that grim reality in the U.S. alone. Even the American president, who once upon a time flatly stated that the Defense of Marriage Act should be repealed, has made no significant move in that direction since taking office. One of Newsweek's political predictions for 2010 is Obama does nada on gay rights, and I would be surprised if that prediction were wrong.

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