Thursday, March 21, 2013

Boris Dittrich on the legislation development of civil marriage



Very interesting to hear Boris Dittrich (the Advocacy Director of the LGBT Rights Program of Human Rights Watch, and the politician who successfully fought for the world's first same-sex marriage in Netherlands) talks about changing forms of "civil marriage":
"We thought it might be psychologically better to first introduce registered partnerships. And it appeared to be a good decision, because once we have registered partnership in 1998, people got used to the idea that two men or two women went to the municipality, had their relationship recognised by the law.... So then the next step of marriage equality, and really being equal, was a logical step.... There is now a discussion in the Netherlands that sometimes people want to marry with 3 people or may be even more. But that is the beginning of something completely new. And that'll take a lot of years, I guess."
Why interesting? Because it resonates with my discussion with a local activist for the LGBT movement over the weekend. The activist lamented over the many censoring mechanisms put in place at various levels of the local society that bar LGBT from getting their voice heard and lifestyle recognized by the public. She said that there should be a public space provided for the LGBT to voice themselves so that they are heard. 

I told her that we should not stop at LGBT censorship. If we want to lift up censorship, why do we stop at LGBT? If the civil society should provide a space for the LGBT to be heard, I don't see why can't the civil society do the same for polygamist and various other arrangements?

The activist looked stunned, and hesitantly noded in agreement.

Then another person spoke up, "If we allow all kinds of the discussions to carry out, what we will have are just talks; when can the society act and move?"

That's precisely the point I wanted to drive at: Do we even know where should the society be moving towards with all the talks about 'civil society', 'equality', etc?

To the Christians, the clue lies in the canonical scripture and tradition.

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