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The (Wedding) March of Progress
December 4, 2006 3:33 PM   Subscribe

The grooms wore khakis and leather boots. Two game rangers, Vernon Gibbs and Tony Halls, became the first same-sex couple to legally wed in South Africa on December 1, a day after President Thabo Mbeki's government authorised gay marriages. SA is the 5th country allowing fullly equal same-sex marriage rights--Worldwide timeline of advances here, from 1979 until now. (In other news: Israel just officially recognized full rights for marriages made abroad, and Mexico City just approved Civil Unions)
posted by amberglow (23 comments total)

 
Bless em. Hope their union is a long and happy one.
posted by stenseng at 3:36 PM on December 4, 2006


The irony.

It would be funny to see the South Africans now boycott countries which obstinately continue their policies of sexual apartheid.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:21 PM on December 4, 2006


Now if only they could solve that whole Apartheid-related poverty consuming their country. Sounds mostly like an image band-aid.
posted by Captaintripps at 4:27 PM on December 4, 2006


It's going to start getting embarrassing when, like, Cameroon legalizes same-sex marriage and the USA is still bickering back and forth about it.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 5:20 PM on December 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


Could lead to dancing.
posted by jonmc at 5:41 PM on December 4, 2006


Now if only they could solve that whole Apartheid-related poverty consuming their country. Sounds mostly like an image band-aid.

That's right, they've given up on dealing with poverty and are now focussing all their available resources on gay marriage.

Actually it was result of the SA constitution being rather explicit on the topic of discrimination, not surprising considering their history.
In whose eyes exactly are they trying to 'band-aid' their image?

Does this mean that you believe that the United States should not have gay marriage until it solves 'that whole slavery and ApartheidJim Crow-related poverty'
posted by atrazine at 5:58 PM on December 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


Let freedom ring.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:16 PM on December 4, 2006


Funny, I don't recall where I stated it being a zero-sum situation on rights. What I said clearly intimates I believe it to be mere window dressing and nothing more. South Africa already has a horrid reputation on, I don't know, countenancing awful practices in the diamond trade, leading the way in irrational beliefs about AIDS, stratospheric crime, and one of the widest income disparities in the world based on its resources and financial structure versus the per capita income of its population. Yeah, I think it's being used as a band aid.
posted by Captaintripps at 6:23 PM on December 4, 2006


Captaintripps writes "Now if only they could solve that whole Apartheid-related poverty consuming their country. Sounds mostly like an image band-aid."

Since you say later that it's not a zero-sum game, why does an important advance in social justice automatically mean it's a bandaid? As pointed out already, this is a direct result of the SA constitution.... so where, again, is this a band-aid? Or is this homophobia in disguise? Or envy?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:13 PM on December 4, 2006


"Game rangers," eh? Is that some kinda hip new lingo?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:21 PM on December 4, 2006


What a beautiful thing. I wish them much joy.
posted by vespertine at 7:42 PM on December 4, 2006


Now if only they could solve that whole Apartheid-related poverty consuming their country. Sounds mostly like an image band-aid.

Can I put you on hold? I've got New Orleans on the other line.
posted by srboisvert at 3:34 AM on December 5, 2006


Fully equal? No it's not. It's "separate but equal" and is said to entrench inequality. Even South Africa's own Human Rights Commision slams the bill. Of course, most of the protests are from other quarters, who claim they need to "save marriage".

My partner and I haven't discussed whether to avail ourselves of this civil union. We already enjoy a German Lebenspartnershaft.
posted by Goofyy at 4:09 AM on December 5, 2006


dna: I explained that in the comment above yours.

srboisvert: That's class-A snark and they should sell it twenty to a pack, but criticizing the U.S. does zip to devalue what I said. See, pretty much anywhere has problems, and when people bring up one of those places, you can talk about those problems and how they do or do not go about solving them.
posted by Captaintripps at 5:14 AM on December 5, 2006


Goofyy, my response to that is the same as it is to protests against Civil Unions: we'll take what we can get as soon as we can get it, and full rights will come with time.

Captain, I'm not sure you understand what you look like. Here's a play in one act:

GAYS: Hey here's some good news!
YOU: PSH WHO CARES!?

In other words, get a god damn grip. Yes, SA is still a weird messed up place. But uh permit us a little celebration, ok?
posted by kavasa at 5:44 AM on December 5, 2006


I'm fine with how you think I look and with expressing that opinion anyway. It's a public web site with diverse opinions and as far as I can tell my opinion does nothing to disallow you from celebrating.
posted by Captaintripps at 6:01 AM on December 5, 2006


kavasa: I ain't out protesting, or even wanting to do so. I'm a guest in South Africa anyway. I'm just saying, don't call it "equality" when it isn't equal. That would be drinking the wrong koolaid, IMO.

South Africa is messed up. No kidding! Did those commenters think that Nelson Mandela had a magic wand with which to heal centuries of apartheid? Or do they think that Africans have some immunity to greed, imparted by skin pigmentation?

Today I see the kids streaming out of their "informal settlements" (what some call "squater camps" an American would probably think of as "shanty towns"), in the morning, all dressed in school uniforms. They're getting educated.

I live in a posh suburb. But it isn't all white anymore. There are a good number of middle class Africans living here now. There will be more. The South African version of affirmative action has lots more teeth than the American kind.

But those informal settlements have sanitation today. When they cut eachother up on Saturday night, they get surgery at a real hospital (it's a terrible problem, a friend is one of the surgeons)...assuming the supplies weren't stolen (another terrible problem).

South Africa is a diverse place. The Africans have multiple cultures (Xhosa and Zulu being the majority, but also Bushmen and others). These have centuries-old traditions of their own, and their own tribal political structures. The whites have various backgrounds, mainly Dutch and English, but others, too. Plus Indians, Asians and Jews. The politics must be a nightmare!

Add corruption, to which South Africa isn't immune, and any progress they make is to be applauded as a minor miracle. I would imagine it isn't helped that we have Zimbabwe to the north to point at, to prove the local superiority.

The poverty is there, for sure. One morning I watched, unseen, as a man rifled my garbage bags. He found some stale bread and immediately ate it. These are folks for whom 30 cents (USD) is a big deal. That kind of poverty isn't easy to eliminate.
posted by Goofyy at 6:19 AM on December 5, 2006


OMG, legitimizing nuptials for teh Oversexed, Orgy-obsessed, Godless Gayz™:
"We did not have a very romantic wedding night because we have two baby bat-eared foxes that kept us up all night wanting to be fed and cuddled. And then someone brought in a black eagle with a broken wing and we had to take care of that.... It's been very hectic."
posted by rob511 at 12:47 PM on December 5, 2006


In other news...
posted by homunculus at 1:29 PM on December 5, 2006


homunculus--what a weirdly phrased article that is.


In other news back here, ThinkEqual launches for NJ
posted by amberglow at 3:31 PM on December 5, 2006


Headline in my local paper, the Daily Dispatch (East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa):
"Pastors shut door on gays" (As far as I can tell, the article isn't on the website).

From this article, a quote from one Fikile Vilakazi of the organization OUT: "Civial marriage officers working for the state are fully booked and religious ministers who are marriage officers do not yet have the licences required in terms of the Civil Unions Act to marry same-sex couples". She knows of only two ministers, in Pretoria, who have obtained the licence.

You see, a special, separate license is required for a minister to do these unions. The existing license to perform marriage (opposite sex) doesn't cover this new union.

The South Africa court gave the legislature a whole year, during which this unconstitutional discimination was allowed to continue. Then the new law created yet another bottle neck to the process.

It is decidedly not fully equal, and this specific matter of the license appears to me to be a deliberate attempt on the part of the legislataure to further circumvent the Constitution and the court. Of course, I'm not really surprised. But I am considerably offended by this reality.
posted by Goofyy at 9:29 PM on December 6, 2006


Goofyy, are religious marriages usually legal there without a civil license as long they fill out that separate license? (Here religious marriages are not legal--you must get a civil license from your city or state's marriage bureau, fulfilling their requirements also--like blood tests and stuff.) Do straight couples have to wait for an appt with the civil marriage officers too?
posted by amberglow at 10:18 PM on December 6, 2006


more global marriage news, and a pathetic thing from Romney is the only news from here--sad
posted by amberglow at 5:04 PM on December 8, 2006


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