Monday, September 3, 2012

Leaders Who Listen to Reason Rather than Bishops

"I believe it would be a terrible distortion of democracy if the majorities – the actions of those majorities – denied rights to the minorities."
- Cristina Kirchner, President of Argentina
(A Catholic president in a majority-Catholic country, by the way, which today has marriage equality.)


"Mentalities have changed. There is no longer any reason not to open marriage to people of the same sex." 
- Marc Verwilghen, Fmr. JM of Belgium
(Said in 2003, just prior to marriage equality passage.)

"It is love that must be the determining factor.  Regardless of sex or sexual orientation, love should be the victor.  Everyone should have the opportunity to enter into marriage.  This is an incredibly important value and an important expression of respect for everyone in our society.  The greatest of all is love."
 - Jens Stoltenberg, PM of Norway
(Statement to parliament in 2008, just prior to passage of marriage equality legislation.) 

"Freedom is the ability to let two people in love unite under the law, regardless of their sexual orientation.  Equality is allowing all couples to use the same legal device without discrimination."
- Francois Hollande, President of France

''This is the way it needs to be in a modern society, where churches do not step in the middle of whether someone loves a person of the opposite sex or the same sex.  I'm very proud of Denmark, where regardless of whom you're in love with, you have the right to be married.''
- Helle Thorning-Schmidt, PM of Denmark

''My view is that if two gay people want to get married, then I can't see why it would undermine my marriage to [my wife].  I will vote in favor of same-sex marriage."
- John Key, PM of New Zealand

"Yes it's about equality, but it's also about something else:  commitment.  Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other.  So I don't support gay marriage despite being a Conservative.  I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative."
- David Cameron, PM of the United Kingdom

"We're living up to our tradition of freedom.  People should be able to show, for themselves and for those around them, who they are and whom they love.  I and many others with me are looking forward to going to weddings this summer where the couples' love will be the focus, not their sex.''
- Fredrik Reinfeldt, PM of Sweden
(Said in April 2009 after passage of marriage equality legislation)

"It's important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.  [...]  My expectation is that, when you look back on these years, you will see a time in which we put a stop to discrimination against gays and lesbians.  You will see a time in which we, as a nation, finally recognized relationships between two men, or two women, as just as real and admirable as relationships between a man and a woman."
- Barack Obama, President of the United States

"Today, Spanish society is responding to a group of people who have been humiliated, whose rights have been ignored, their dignity offended, their identity denied and their liberty oppressed.  Today, Spanish society grants them the respect they deserve, recognizes their rights, restores their dignity, affirms their identity, and restores their liberty."
- José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Fmr. PM of Spain
(2005 statement to parliament, after passage of marriage equality legislation.)

"I rise today in support of Bill C-38, the Civil Marriage Act.  I rise in support of a Canada in which liberties are safeguarded, rights are protected, and the people of this land are treated as equals under the law.  We embrace freedom and equality in theory, Mr. Speaker; we must also embrace them in fact. [...]  If we do not step forward, then we step back.  If we do not embrace a right, then we deny it.  Mr. Speaker, together as a nation, together as Canadians, Let us step forward."
- Paul Martin, Fmr. PM of Canada (2005 speech to parliament.)

"I think we must go forward, and be inspired by the most advanced countries in the world. Giving stronger civil legal rights to gay couples will not deprive anyone of their rights."
- Zoran Milanovic, PM of Croatia

Hopefully one day we can add an Asian president or PM to this list...


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