THE United States Supreme Court has made history, legalising same-sex marriage across all 50 of states.
Though this is undoubtedly a momentous occasion worthy of joy, celebration, and kudos, let’s remember that homophobia — and violent hate crimes against the gay community — are still prevalent in the US. This change may spark more hate, with dire consequences.
Consider the example of France, circa 2013. The nation known for its liberal stance on love legalised same-sex marriage in May of that year, and within days, members of the LGBTQI community were attacked on the streets. Several religious groups were convicted over the violent beatings.
We all know the US has its problems with hate crimes. There are frequent reports of attacks on students at schools and hardworking members of communities being cruelly ostracised in many of America’s southern, conservative states.
Not to mention anything of the nation’s leaderboard status when it comes to LGBTQI suicide figures among teenagers.
Even rainbow-friendly cities like New York and San Francisco have reported several hate crimes against members of the gay community, from benign vandalism of pro-gay murals in California to violent subway attacks in New York.
Just a month ago, New Yorker Bayna-Lehkiem El-Amin allegedly slammed a chair over the heads of a homosexual couple inside a restaurant. Video footage of the attack showed El-Amin hurling homophobic slurs, while stomping on one of his two victims – then audibly cracking a chair over both their heads.
The US has been the world’s biggest superpower, and trendsetter, for decades. Though the tides are changing, as we begin to look to Asia and Europe for what’s hot or not, there’s no denying the power American culture has and its infectious ability to shape the rest of the world. So let’s hope that nations who’ve spent many years simply taking leaves from America’s political playbook (i.e. Australia) decide to take this one on board.
And likewise, let’s hope the US learns from the enforcement mistakes of other nations like France, and endeavours to keep all its citizens safe in the wake of this historic decision.