After a 16-hour debate, and a vote that ended in the wee hours of the morning, Argentina’s Senate passed a bill recognizing same-sex marriages, thus becoming Latin America’s first nation to grant homosexual couples the same rights, protections, and privileges of marriage as heterosexual couples. Less comprehensive measures towards marriage equality have been instituted in other regions of Latin America, such as the legalization of same-sex civil unions in Uruguay and in a small number of states in Brazil and Mexico. And recently last year, Colombia’s Constitutional Court granted equal civil, political, social and economic rights to gay couples, including such protections as inheritance rights and the inclusion of partners in health insurance plans. In Buenos Aires, proponents of the same-sex marriage bill framed the issue in terms of fulfilling the constitutional mandate of equality before the law and ending discrimination towards individuals based solely on their sexual orientation. Opponents, on the other hand, argued that the passage of such a bill would signify a threat to the “existence of the human species.”
Despite the existence of reasonable objections to gay marriage based on religious belief, I find the argument that a bill granting same-sex couples the right to marry if they so choose will endanger the survival of humanity a bit absurd, if not dangerous in its fear-mongering. Passing legislation that grants homosexual couples equal rights will not magically change the sexual orientation of heterosexuals. The earth is currently the home of 6,830,000,000 human inhabitants; and according to a 2004 UNICEF report, more than 16,000,000 children are without parents, a number which is only increasing with the spread of HIV/AIDS. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that procreation is not an issue for the human race. It seems to me that the larger, more pressing issue for humanity is caring for humanity, and creating a world where all 7 billion of us have an equal chance at healthy, self-determined lives, free of discrimination in all of its forms.