Same-sex marriage ruling a positive step

South Africa will be the first African nation to legalize same-sex unions.

South Africa is on its way to becoming the first African nation, and the fifth in the world, to legalize same-sex marriage. Under a ruling by the highest court, South African Parliament has one year to change the words husband and wife to spouse in the marital laws.

This is a positive move forward for South Africa. Many hope its effect will be positive in a nation where homosexuality is taboo. Gay activists in South Africa hope this ruling will lessen violence and ridicule among homosexual men and women. Activists also hope it will lessen rape of lesbian women, which is common from men who hope to “cure” them. The ruling is a watershed moment for human rights. By recognizing the validity of same-sex unions South Africa is not only becoming a world leader in equality, but also breaking down old stereotypes of GLBT people. Furthermore, this ruling will allow South Africa to move forward as one nation to tackle the problem of AIDs and HIV ” a problem that affects nearly 20 percent of all adults in the country. It is not a “gay” problem but a problem that affects all sectors.

In a country infamous for its apartheid it gives one hope to see how much progress can be made in the area of equality. The decision in South African courts is one that should be made in the United States. Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain are the other nations that have legalized same-sex unions. In the United States, same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts. In California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and Vermont people in same-sex unions can get legal status similar to civil marriage. Even though South Africa largely is intolerant of homosexual men and women, it’s Parliament has made a move that will improve the state of human rights and violence. Hopefully other countries will follow suit.

The United States must follow suit and recognize that discrimination against homosexuals must not continue.