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This Map Shows Where Gay Couples Can Marry Across Latin America: INTERACTIVE

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BY IOAN GRILLO / GlobalPost

Coahuila, a Mexican state near Texas, is the newest place in the region to legalize gay marriage. But there are still some countries that ban homosexuality.

MEXICO CITY — Latin America is a staunchly conservative Catholic region with a deeply entrenched culture of machismo and homophobic attitudes. Right?

Not quite.

After sweeping reforms in the last five years, the region possesses some of the most gay-friendly legislation on the planet.

CoahuilaIn the latest move, lawmakers in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila on Sept. 1 voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

This change in a state known for cowboy hats, cattle farmers and coal mines means gay marriages will be able to be celebrated right up to the Rio Grande.

Like the United States, Mexico's been making these moves locally, rather than federally. But other Latin countries have passed reforms on a national level.

In fact, Latin America is home to three of the more than a dozen nations that have legalized gay marriage worldwide. Same-sex couples can even marry as far south as Argentina — a remarkable feat in the pope’s homeland. The region's reforms are largely passed by leftist governments, but that’s not always the case. Coahuila’s bill was backed by the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), while leftist stalwarts such as Venezuela are falling behind on gay rights.

There are still some strongholds bucking the trend. Take Belize, where even being homosexual remains illegal. Caribbean islands also maintain a ban, with Jamaica punishing male homosexual acts by seven years' hard labor (but allowing sex between females).

Homophobic violence also persists, even in some countries with progressive legislation.

However, overall the map has transformed markedly in favor of gay and lesbian rights, and it looks set to keep changing. Take a tour:

Map by Alex Leff.


Louis Farrakhan Blasts Belize for Crumbling Under Pressure to Accept Gay People: VIDEO

Farrakhan

Nation of Islam founder and leader Louis Farrakhan visited Belize last week at the invitation of religious leaders who want the Supreme Court to uphold the country's sodomy law, Blabbeando reports.

Ripped Farrakhan in a speech on Plus TV:

"How many of you see same-sex marriage and are falling for the pressure that's being put on government to sanction something that God don't sanction. America is attaching aid to you rewriting your constitution, rewriting your laws and because you become a whore for money and forsaken the principles and yet you put your hand on the Bible when you take your oath of office. For what?"

Wrote Andrés Duque at Blabbeando:

Let's be clear here: Although local LGBT advocates would like their relationships to be legally recognized, same sex marriage is not at play when the Belize Supreme Court takes up the issue of the sodomy laws in May. He also falsely alleges that aid from the United States will be cut unless laws are changed to accommodate gays and lesbians.

What Farrakhan is doing is urging legislators to keep a law that punishes and jails gay Belize citizens for who they are. Nothing less, nothing more.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Louis Farrakhan Blasts Belize for Crumbling Under Pressure to Accept Gay People: VIDEO" »


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