Okay so before I start pissing everyone off let me say a few of nice things. I support marriage-equality legislation. It think the US Supreme Court ruling overturning state bans on same-sex is awesome. I think people living in the US have a right to be proud and celebrate and paint the town rainbow. But (this is where I will start to lose you) why exactly are the rest of us so excited? When I say the rest of us, I am talking about the 95% of us living outside the US; the rest of the world where this ruling means absolutely nothing, legally speaking. Sure we can say we’re celebrating because we all live in the same world and what is good for our brothers and sisters in the US is good for the rest of us but come on, deep down we know that is just bullshit. Did we celebrate in 2001 when the Netherlands was the first country to pass same-sex marriage legislation? Sure, Facebook didn’t exist back then but would you have rainbow-ed your profile picture to celebrate with the Dutch? How about when Argentina gave equal marriage rights to same-sex couples in 2010? Do anything to celebrate then? I thought not. So why now?
In the Internet age we have developed this rather bad habit of mindlessly aping American popular culture movements without ever stopping to think why we do it. Sure it seems so harmless; no one is hurt when we put a rainbow tint on our Facebook profile picture right? Well, no one except for Mike Huckabee perhaps. So you say why shouldn’t I do it you miserable spoilsport? But each time we jump on their bandwagon we are further reinforcing the American hegemonic principle that America is so much more important than the rest of the world. And by extension if something happens in America it is fundamentally more important than if that exact same event happened someplace else. Remember their hysterical reaction to ebola last year? All up two Americans died. More than 10,000 Africans have died from ebola since December 2013.
Sure Americans act as if the world ends at their borders, and that is their right I guess, but why exactly are the rest of us playing along? Remember this is the country that is so hopelessly out of touch with the rest of the world that they have to create their own versions of our TV shows. Just so they don’t have to learn anything about us in order for them to follow along.
And it’s not like the Americans are exactly trendsetters on the marriage equality front either. Wikipedia lists some 17 countries that have already legalised same-sex marriage. While aforementioned countries like Argentina and the Netherlands actually passed legislation to grant the same legal rights to same-sex couples as for heterosexual couples, the US hasn’t even done that. All that has happened is that the US Supreme Court acted to prevent individual states from legislating prejudice. In effect they have acted to stop the states from doing the exact opposite of what was done in the Netherlands and Argentina. The US congress is so hopelessly out of touch and dysfunctional that even the thought that they could pass such legislation is laughable. And yet it is for this the world celebrates.
Here in Australia there is rightfully a push for our government to pass legislation granting same-sex couples equal marriage rights. You might argue that you are rainbow-ing up to support that cause. But again my question for you is why does it take a US Supreme Court decision to spur you to act? Jumping on someone else’s bandwagon isn’t brave or progressive, its just lazy.
Like I said at the beginning. For everyone in America whose life has been improved by this ruling I say good for you. But for everyone else who has rainbow-ed their Facebook profile picture I say you’re just a bunch of lemmings. Well-meaning for sure. I just hope that you don’t end up following them off the end of some cliff.