BY ROB SALERNO – It’s time for an international catch-up.
We’ve devoted a fair bit of coverage to Hillary Clinton’s pro-gay-rights speech at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and President Obama’s pro-gay foreign-policy directive this week. While the announcements have generated some fierce opposition from conservatives in the US and abroad, there are at least a few positive signs. According to Voice of America, the African nation of Malawi is reconsidering its anti-gay laws in the wake of the US policy announcement.
You may remember Malawi making headlines around the world last year when a gay couple were sentenced to 14 years of hard labour for gross indecency and unnatural acts. They were later pardonned by the president of Malawi following international outcry.
Meanwhile, in Europe, a major milestone was reached when Belgium appointed its first ever openly gay prime minister. Elio Di Rupo is the continent’s first openly gay head of government (Europe’s second, after Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir was appointed and then elected prime minister of Iceland in 2009).
And in Scotland, the Scottish National Party is moving forward with plans to legalize gay marriage, even those performed in churches that permit them, following consultations that concluded Friday with more than 50,000 submissions.