Just in time for Christmas, here is good news. Latin America is becoming a hotbed of progress for LGBT equality.
Mexico City is the latest, voting to allow same-gender unions and adoptions by same-gender couples. Argentina and Colombia have made recent moves towards liberalization–and Uruguay already allows same-gender civil unions.
Buenos Aires legalized same-sex civil unions in 2002 but conflicting judicial rulings have stymied them. Several other Argentine cities, as well as Mexican and Brazilian states, also permit same-sex unions. Colombia has granted social security rights to gay couples; Venezuela is considering same-sex civil unions.
Of course, discrimination continues in many places. Walter Orlando Trochez, 27, a prominent gay and anti-coup activist in Honduras, was shot dead last week.
But the trend is beginning to feel like a powerful wave, even as the inevitable push-back from conservative political groups and the Roman Catholic Church heats up. The shifts are hard to analyze, especially because traditional machismo attitudes toward women don’t seem to be softening, and abortion is still widely condemned.
What seems clear is that religious bodies are not able to stop political change when the political leaders decide to act.
Just think what would happen here if religious leaders led the way–since most of our political leaders seem afraid to do so. Or maybe we just have to demand some backbone from our politicians?
Rev. Dr. Robin H. Gorsline is President of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, an interfaith organization of gay and straight clergy and lay people working for equality for LGBT Virginians. Read more of his thoughts on faith and spirituality on his personal blog.