In Kathleen Lahey’s article she focuses on strategies for freedoms that go beyond just marriage for LGBT people on an international scale. The article first shows how marriage equality and spousal rights had been won in 35 countries by 2010, but despite these advances in these countries there is still quite a bit of discrimination based on sexuality and sexual identity. Lahey focuses on Canada and explains the criminal and civil laws still in place that discriminate against LGBT persons and how that trend is seen in most countries that have marriage equality. In addition Lahey says there are 80 countries where it is considered a criminal offense to be LGBT, and it can be especially hard on women in countries where they have less freedoms than men.
Lahey goes on to speak about the role that transnational activism and international law have played in making marriage the forerunner and ignoring the laws that criminalize LGBT persons. Lahey says that for the most part international venues are not concerned about discriminatory laws or same sex marriage. Lahey shows how the EU and the UN fight the battle differently. The EU is very vocal about human rights issues and specifically LGBT issues. Since the EU has its own revenue system they are able to offer “valuable trading and mobility rights, but also project and institutional funding, access to governance structures, post-secondary support, and diverse programming” (Lahey 2010, p. 381). The UN on the other hand, while making strides in women’s rights, “has made it possible for religious, traditional, and conservative governments to block similar work on LGBT issues, and the UN cannot offer financial and governance inducements like those of the EU” (Lahey 2010, p. 381-382).
In her concluding remarks Lahey suggests that queer social movements have a task at hand, and it is a difficult one. In order to further human rights they first have to deal with all of the issues surrounding the representative organizations like the EU and the UN, the specific discriminatory laws in those countries, as well as the heteronormative dominance in the thinking.
Some theoretical research questions to consider are 1) Is it possible to move beyond fixed masculine and feminine roles in order to see everyone as a person? 2) How do we change looking at things from the heterosexual male perspective that dominates theory and research?
Some policy and practice questions to consider are 1) How to implement essential rights in all countries 2) How to make laws that do not separate people by status, but are all inclusive and beneficial.