Pride continues!

On Thursday Argentina voted in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage nation wide, becoming the first Latin American country to do so.

Extremely contentious rival demonstrations were held outside of Congress in Buenos Aires, with pro-equal marriage demonstrators facing off against anti-equal marriage demonstrators, their respective ‘vigils’ lasting all night. The Roman Catholic Church, those bastions of what is good and right (ahem), waged an ardent and expensive campaign against passage of the law.

But after a 16-hour Senate debate, the vote was held after 4am and gays and lesbians won the same legal marriage rights and protections afforded to heterosexuals. (The law was already passed in the lower house, so once the Senate approved it and published it, the law became official.)

Buenos Aires has long been considered one of the most queer-friendly cities in South America and this new law will no doubt bring many gay and lesbian couples from throughout the region to Buenos Aires to marry. Uruguay and some states in Brazil and Mexico have legalized same-sex unions; in Mexico City gay marriage is legal; and in Colombia queer couples have inheritance and health insurance rights; but Argentina’s new nation-wide equal marriage law grants same-sex couples more rights than civil unions, such as adoption and inheritance rights.

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez has been a strong supporter of equal marriage; speaking about the Catholic Church’s campaign of hatred and discrimination, Fernandez said, “It’s very worrisome to hear words like ‘God’s war’ or ‘the devil’s project,’ things that recall the times of the Inquisition.”

Sen. Norma Morandini, a member of Fernandez’s party, compared the discrimination queers face to the oppression under Argentina’s past dictators: “What defines us is our humanity, and what runs against humanity is intolerance.”

Congratulations, Argentina!

What a doofus

Hey! I'm Tom Cruise! I'm crazy! Gracias, gracias, gracias....

Hey! I'm Tom Cruise! I'm crazy! Pew-pew-pew! Gracias, gracias, gracias, gracias, gracias....

Tom Cruise is in Brasil with his stepford wife promoting his tepidly reviewed movie Valkyrie. While there he thanked a crowd of people with “graçias” (except that they speak Portuguese in Brasil, Tom, not Spanish) and talked about how much he loves the tango (whoops! that’s Argentina, Brasil’s rival country—you probably meant to say “samba” right? Of course you did).

You don’t have to know everything about every country in the world, but if you’re visiting a country you should probably learn something about it—most importantly, what language they speak and how to say “please” and “thank you” in said language.

Tom, don’t you have an assistant or something? Maybe he or she could prepare a little half-page primer on each country you visit, which you could then read before you gaffe. Really, even just printing off the first page of the Wikipedia entry on Brasil would suffice; the first line is: “Brazil (Portuguese: Brasil).”

But more than that, don’t be so disingenuous. People know you’re just there to sell a movie and that you don’t really care about the country or the people. The public is well aware of how these things work by now. You’re no more genuine than a rock star who shouts, “Good evening <insert town/country name here>! You’re my favourite <town/country>, <insert town/country name here>! You are so much cooler than <insert rival town/country name here>, where we played last night!” Granted, a lot of people will scream and applaud at lines like these, but not because they think you mean it; rather, because they’re caught up in the fervor and patriotism of the moment.

So the next time you’re in Brasil, or some other country you don’t care enough about to even discover what language they speak, at least have the backbone to admit that you just want them to pay money to see your movie and leave it at that. Graçias. I mean, obrigado. Or maybe danke? Merci…?