Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
28 March 2007

Now Sweden to get same-sex marriage?

In Sweden, the special commissioner for consideration of the possibility of making marriage available to same-sex couples presented his report to the Minister for Justice 21 March 2007. The report contains proposals for a draft bill amending the Swedish Marriage Code, making it gender neutral. In his report the commissioner also proposes the repeal of the Swedish Registered Partnership Act. Registered partnerships that have not been dissolved at the time of entry into force of the amended Marriage Code would take effect as marriages. Representatives of religious communities would have the legal capacity but not the obligation to perform marriages irrespective of the gender of the future spouses. The amendments are proposed to take legal effect 1 January 2008.
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