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
20 December 2006

Same-sex relationships around the world

I recieved an email from prof Kees Waaldijk who sums up the situation regarding the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships at national level as follows:

  • Marriage has been opened up to same-sex couples in Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, Spain (since December 2006), South Africa, and in one state of the United States of America.
  • A form of registered partnership for same-sex couples (and sometimes also for different-sex couples) carrying some, most or all legal consequences of marriage, has been introduced in Andorra, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland (from January 2007), United Kingdom, Uruguay?, and in parts of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Spain, and the United States of America.
  • Informal cohabitation of same-sex partners has become legally recognised (at least for some legal purposes) in most of the jurisdictions mentioned above, and also in several other, including Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Hungary, Israel, Portugal, and parts of Australia, Italy and the United States of America.
  • For various practical purposes a foreign same-sex marriage would be recognised in Israel, and (probably) also in many of the countries that have introduced some form of registered partnership, but that have not opened up marriage. However (unlike Israel, after the judgement of its Supreme Court on 21 November 2006) most of these countries would not formally register a foreign same-sex marriage as ‘marriage’.
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