Yesterday, with strong backing from the ruling African National Congress political party, the lower house of South Africa's parliament passed the controversial Civil Union Bill. Last year, South Africa's highest court had given the government until December 1 of this year "to legalize same-sex weddings...after gay-rights activists took the issue to court." The high court had ruled that "existing laws discriminated against homosexuals." That decision "was based on [South Africa's] constitution, which was the first in the world specifically to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual preference [sic]."
Note: this is the same country that enforced apartheid until 1994. We outlawed legalized segregation in the 60's, but continue to stumble over sexual moralism when it comes to gay marriage.
But at least we're way ahead of Iran (via Mother Jones):
AN Iranian man convicted of sodomy was publicly hanged in the western town of Kermanshah, the official news agency IRNA reported. The man, identified as Shahab Darvishi, was charged for “moral corruption, battering and sodomy”. The public hanging drew hundreds of cheering people.
While I respect the beliefs of those who practice whatever faith they feel called to, I have never respected and will never respect those who would wield their religious beliefs to justify the repression of others. And it would be much better were we also to provide a shining example of tolerance to world, alongside Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain and now South Africa.