While we were all focusing on the election, there was other big news being made around the world this week. Here’s a rundown:
Spain’s Constitutional Court, the highest in the nation, Tuesday upheld the country’s marriage equality law, adopted in 2005, by a vote of 8-3, the Associated Press reports. The law had been challenged by the conservative Popular Party, which took power in the nation last year; it was passed when the Socialist Party controlled Parliament. Spain was the third country in the world to offer legal marriage to same-sex couples, after the Netherlands and Belgium, and 22,000 couples have wed under the law.
French president François Hollande unveiled a proposal for marriage equality in his nation Wednesday, aiming to fulfill a campaign promise, but he’s already encountering greater resistance than expected, Time reports. Read more here.
Amid opposition from churches, the government of Malawi has backpedaled on promises to suspend enforcement of antigay laws, with an eye to eventual repeal. Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara denies he ever said he would suspend the laws, Reuters reports. In Malawi a conviction of committing homosexual acts carries a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
Sir Ian McKellen criticized New Zealand prime minister John Key for recently describing a radio host’s clothing as “gay.” Key said he did not mean to disparage gay people, and noted that he supports marriage equality, but McKellen said Key needs to “watch his language.” The esteemed British actor, who is also a prominent gay activist, wrote on his blog, “I’m currently touring secondary schools in UK, attacking homophobia in the playground and discouraging kids from the careless use of ‘gay’ which might make their gay friends (and teachers) feel less about themselves.” McKellen has visited New Zealand frequently to shoot the Lord of the Rings films, in which he plays the wizard Gandalf.
Back in the U.S., New York governor Andrew Cuomo denounced an Orthodox rabbi who said Superstorm Sandy was God’s punishment to the state for allowing same-sex marriage. Rabbi Noson Leiter said the storm was particularly targeted at lower Manhattan because the area is “one of the national centers for homosexuality.” Cuomo, who advocated for the state’s marriage equality law, issued a statement saying, “This kind of hateful rhetoric has no place in our public discourse, and is particularly distasteful in times of tragedy,” the New York Daily News reports. He called on Leiter to apologize.