Saturday, May 26, 2012

May Round-Up

The month of May has certainly been a busy one!  Here's a round-up of some of the good...and the bad.

Probably the best recent news came out of the USA:  President Obama finally publicly announced his support for marriage equality.  Prior to this he was a supporter of civil unions only.  The announcement was a major event in the fight for civil rights; no other sitting American president has ever publicly endorsed same-sex marriage, especially in an election year, though some former presidents recently have (namely Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter).

This is a definite boon to the marriage equality push in the US, so kudos to the Prez for taking a stand for equality and liberty!

On the other side of the Atlantic, Francois Hollande has become the brand new president of France.  Hollande, a member of the Socialist Party, had marriage equality as part of his campaign platform, saying that if elected he would push legislation to finally bring same-sex marriage to France.  Of course he needs more liberal-minded Congresspersons to back him up, which is hopefully what he'll get after congressional elections in June.

Vive la France et vive la liberté!

Jumping back across the Atlantic and over to the Pacific side of the states, yet another federal judge in California has ruled that DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) is unconstitutional.  DOMA, which was enacted in 1996, federally defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.  It has been ruled unconstitutional in multiple federal courts across the US since that time, and President Obama as well as the US Attorney General refuse to defend it.  The matter will eventually end up in the Supreme Court for an ultimate decision, and at least one of the DOMA cases is expected to reach the SC by the end of 2012/beginning of 2013.  This most recent California ruling is one more nail in the coffin of that discriminatory law!

Now we'll hop over the Pacific to the Philippines for some (unfortunately) not so great news.

Manny Pacquiao decided to take his gloves off on the issue of marriage equality, publicly declaring he is opposed to same-sex unions.  Granted, he's entitled to his opinion and this wasn't a huge surprise.  Socially and politically he's a very conservative guy -- last year he fought against a bill that would have made condoms available to poverty-stricken Filipinos, and the crux of his argument was that "God said 'Go out and multiply.'"  Wow.  In my opinion the guy should stick to boxing.

Really, Manny?
Manny's a great boxer, there's no debating that.  He's an awesome athlete.  But I was terribly disappointed to hear him say such things about same-sex couples.  He's showing just how small-minded he actually is, and it's a shame.  He may earn points with far-right conservative Christians back home in the Philippines by making such statements (especially if he has his eye on running for president), but to many of us in the rest of the world he just lowered himself a notch.

Honestly I don't really care what Manny Pacquiao says.  Obviously he's not much of a role model in my book.  But for others - especially young Filipino males - he is influential, and that's what's sad.  He has a public voice and by saying the things he's saying, he's helping to keep bigotry alive.

My dad happens to be a big boxing fan and a fan of Pacquiao.  When he heard about Pacquiao's comments on same-sex marriage, he said, "He's still a good boxer but I've lost respect for him now.  It's sad to see that Manny is that close-minded in the year 2012."  I think my dad has it right.

Manny, we like you... as a boxer.  Please get back to boxing and leave it at that.


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