Belgium’s gay hope
December 4th, 2011
I have to admit that my knowledge about Belgium and Belgians doesn’t extend much past Hercule Poirot and Godiva chocolates. And, of course, Belgium holds the distinctive honor of becoming, in 2003, the second nation to offer its gay citizens full marriage equality.
Now Belgium appears to be on the verge of claiming another Second Place, becoming, after Iceland, the second nation to appoint an openly gay Prime Minister.
The small European country has shared its neighbors’ economic woes over the past several years. A year and a half has gone by since it’s last national election without a government being formed. But now the majority Dutch speaking country has settled on a Prime Minister, a French speaking son of Italian immigrants. And the least controversial thing about the selection of Elio Di Rupo is that he’s gay.
While my own political persuasions think that socialism is not likely to be Belgium’s solution, I wish Elio well.
Belgian Archbishop: “AIDS Is a Kind of Immanant Justice”
October 15th, 2010
According to Flandersnews, the Belgian Catholic Primate, Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, is about to publish a memoir in which he describes AIDS as a kind of “Immanent justice.” The news item contains very little information on the context of the remarks, but the Archbishop’s spokesman Jürgen Mettepenningen confirmed that those comments accurately reflect the Archbishop’s belief:
Jürgen Mettepenningen: “When the Archbishop spoke of homosexuality as a misunderstood form of sexuality I also sounded the alarm (to the archbishop). I thought that this could be formulated in a better way. But I don’t have the job of thinking for him. I am only his spokesman.”
The Catholic Church in Belgium is embroiled in a massive child sexual abuse scandal. Last June, police seized files on 475 cases last Juny, but a court declared the raid illegal and ordered the files returned. The Bishop of Bruges, Roger Vengheluwe, resigned in April after admitting he had sexually abused his nephew for years. In September, Bishop Guy Harpigny, the Belgian bishops’ spokesman on the abuse scandal, told Belgium Radio that the church is afraid to give a full apology for the sexual abuse of children by its priests as this could open the door to compensation claims.
Marriage Rights Around the World
May 15th, 2008
The following countries offer some form of recognition to same-sex couples:
Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, United States (Massachusetts, California)
New Zealand, Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), Argentina (Buenos Aires, Rio Negro), Mexico (Coahuila), Uruguay, United States (Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey)
Registered Partnership or Domestic Partnership
Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Finland, Luxembourg, , Slovenia, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Italy (City of Padua), Switzerland, Hungary, Australia (Tasmania), United States (Maine, Washington, Oregon)
Other Methods of Limited Recognition
France (PACS), Germany (Life Partnership), Croatia (Law of Same-Sex Relationships), Andorra (Stable Union of a Couple), Mexico (Mexico City – PACS), Colombia (Common-law marriage inheritance rights), Israel (Limited recognition of foreign legal arrangements), United States (Hawaii – Reciprocal Benefits; New York – recognition of out-of-state legal marriages)
Although recognition is in a rapid state of change, this is my best understanding of the current rights provided. Several nations are in the process of adding or revising recognition.