Friday, November 10, 2006

Whither Latin America?

In the world's most Catholic region, right under the nose of the Tilma of Tepeyac (with one month to go 'til mañanitas), Mexico City gives the greenlight to same-sex domestic partnerships:
The national capital's municipal assembly, controlled by left-wing legislators, backed legal gay union by a vote of 43-17 as hundreds of rival protesters demonstrated noisily outside the building.

The local congress in the northern border state of Coahuila, bordering Texas, began debating a similar law to legalize gay unions this week....

The legislation in Mexico City and Coahuila is modeled on France's civil code and provides property, pension, inheritance and even co-parenting rights but stops short of allowing full marriage or adoption of children.

...meanwhile, in Chile, the hierarchs are rankled by a government-backed drive to encourage condom use:
The campaign exclusively promotes condoms, makes no mention of abstinence and has reopened a heated debate in this traditionally Catholic country over the use of condoms, gay rights and sexuality.

Chile's Ministry of Health launched the eighth annual AIDS awareness campaign in early November with the slogan, ``I take care of my life; condoms always.''...

The $1 million campaign includes two television advertisements, three radio spots, and three posters that will be plastered all over the country. Featuring school-age girls talking about condoms, a pizza deliveryman and his girlfriend, a young gay couple, and a group of young skaters, the ads urge viewers to take responsibility for their own lives and to protect their partners by always using a condom.

The government campaign reopened a heated debate in what has long been viewed as the most conservative country in the region.

Manuel Camilo Vial, the bishop of the southern city of Temuco, criticized the campaign for only focusing on condom use.

''It surprised me,'' he said. ``It's easy to defend condoms and give them out, but that doesn't properly educate people about what true sexuality is.''

The campaign also provoked a row in Chile's governing Concertación coalition, with the Christian Democratic Party issuing a harsh rebuke. Lawmakers Carlos Olivares and Eduardo Díaz said the campaign was ''incomplete, uninformed and ideologically flawed'' and warned it would actually increase promiscuity by promoting condoms.

The dispute is not the first time the Christian Democrats have taken issue with President Michelle Bachelet's agenda. Her recent decision to provide the morning-after pill to youths over 14 years of age without parental notification caused widespread tension between her Socialist Party and the Christian Democrats.

Remember, a papal visit to the area's in the offing in May '07, in connection with the CELAM assembly at Aparecida in Brazil.