Thursday, December 07, 2006

Gay Progress - the Angels Rejoice!

I was delighted to read today that the Italian Senate called on the Prime Minister's government to present legislation legalizing same-sex unions. Regardless of what happens in response to the Senate's demand, it is significant and encouraging that the upper legislative house of a major country's government made a statement (in defiance of the Vatican it should be noted) in favor of same-sex unions.

I was also delighted to learn that the Canadian House of Commons (the lower legislative house of that country) defeated a move to revisit same-sex marriage in that country. Our neighbor to the north offers legal same-sex marriages but some conservative politicans wanted revisit the issue and repeal the same-sex marriage option. By 50 or so votes, fairness and justice won the day and same-sex marriage remains legal in Canada.

But wait, there is more good news! Today, the largest Christian denomination in Sweden, the Lutheran Church of Sweden, gave its churches permission to bless same-sex unions! Civil unions have been legal in Sweden for more than a decade, but now Sweden's former state-church (and still largest denomination) has given the green light for the church to bless those unions.

And finally, Conservative Judaism moved today toward a more inclusive position toward Jewish gays. The Conservative movement is actually the moderate brand of Judaism, sandwiched between Orthodox Judaism on the Right and Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism on the Left.

Nevertheless, Conservative Judaism has traditionally banned the ordination of openly gay rabbinical students. As of today, that ban has been eased. Conservatives are not yet as welcoming and affirming as the Reform and Reconstructionist movements, but individual seminaries will now be free to admit and even ordain gay students (or to refuse to do so). This appears to be a step toward inclusion, or at least an attempt to open the door to the possibility of future inclusion.

The Italian Senate, the Canadian House of Commons, the Lutheran Church of Sweden, and Conservative Judaism in the U.S. all made progress today and collectively made the world a bit friendlier for gays and lesbians.

There is more work to be done, but today is a good day that offers hope that the work will be done. The march toward justice continues. What's that I hear? Waves crashing? Thunder rolling? No, I believe it is the sound of angels applauding as they always do when justice, fairness, and goodwill are given their rightful place in the world.

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