Posts Tagged ‘ Massachusetts ’

A Global Snapshot of Same-Sex Marriage

By  for The Pew Research Center

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Around the world and in the United States, the pace of same-sex marriage legalization has picked up in recent years. Of the 15 countries worldwide to permit gay men and lesbians to marry, eight have done so since 2010. In addition, same-sex marriage is legal in some parts of the United States and Mexico but not others; of the 12 U.S. states (plus the District of Columbia) where same-sex marriage is or soon will be permitted, nine have legalized it since 2010.

In the United States, the spread of same-sex marriage laws has coincided with rapidly shifting public attitudes toward homosexuality. Six-in-ten Americans now say homosexuality should be accepted by society, up from 49% in 2007; 33% say it should not be accepted, down from 41% six years ago. (Look here for details on Americans’ changing attitudes toward same-sex marriage itself.)

In most other countries, attitudes toward homosexuality have been fairly stable in recent years. Not surprisingly, same-sex marriage has advanced the most in countries and regions where acceptance of homosexuality is highest.

We’ve surveyed eight of the 17 nations that have legalized same-sex marriage in all or part of their territory; in all but one of them at least 60% of people say homosexuality should be accepted. (The exception is South Africa, where only 32% say it should be accepted versus 61% saying it should not be; still, that was the highest acceptance level among the six African countries surveyed.)

On the other hand, among all but one (Jordan) of the 13 countries in our survey where 80% or more of people said homosexuality should not be accepted by society, same-sex relations are illegal in all or part of their territory, according to a report from the International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association.

 is a Senior Writer at the Pew Research Center.

 

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Thanksgiving: An American Eid

By Carmela Conroy for The Daily Times

Last week, some Pakistani friends welcomed me to their homes for Eidul Azha. As someone living far away from loved ones, it was wonderful to enjoy their hospitality and witness the warmth of family and food during this special time in Pakistan. It reminded me of our American Thanksgiving holiday, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

Americans of all ethnicities, religions and national backgrounds celebrate Thanksgiving Day at home or in larger group settings. Traditional Thanksgiving foods, such as turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin and pecan pies, harken back to the first Thanksgiving almost 400 years ago.

The first Thanksgiving was a feast shared by English pilgrims who founded the Plymouth Colony in what is now Massachusetts, with Native Americans of the Wampanoag tribe. In 1620, the pilgrims crossed the Atlantic Ocean in search of religious freedom. Arriving too late to plant many crops, and without fresh food, half of the pilgrims died of illness that first winter. The following spring, the Wampanoag people taught the English how to grow local crops, like corn, barley, beans and pumpkins, and helped them master hunting and fishing in the untamed wilderness.

The following fall, the pilgrims and the Wampanoags celebrated God’s blessings together at the new harvest. Very few pilgrims would have survived to celebrate that first Thanksgiving, but for the Wampanoag people’s charity towards them, helping them to adjust to their new home.

That spirit of giving thanks to God for our blessings, and sharing those blessings with others, lives on. I have observed that Pakistanis share a portion of their sacrificed bakra with their poorer neighbours during Eid. Similarly, many Americans spend part of their Thanksgiving serving meals to the needy or donating food or money to soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Families often participate together in charity fundraisers or donate to food drives. Thousands of charitable organisations serve hot dinners to the needy and many thousands of turkeys are donated to underprivileged families each year.

This year, the Thanksgiving and Eid traditions of charity and sharing are more important than ever here. The severe flooding this summer was the largest natural disaster that Pakistan has ever experienced, and I am proud to say that the American people contributed over one-third of the total relief provided by the international community to help people whose livelihoods and homes had been destroyed. American charities predict that more Americans will seek help during the holiday season than did last year, due to the ongoing economic downturn. As we count our blessings, we must recognise that although floodwaters have receded, many affected people still lack adequate shelter and livelihoods.

Today, Thanksgiving Day, I take time to reflect on my blessings, including the warm Eid hospitality so recently offered by Pakistani friends. Inshallah, I hope that the spirit of generosity and support from our “two Eids”, both American and Pakistani, can continue through the holiday season and into coming new year.

Carmela Conroy is the US Counsel General in Lahore, Pakistan.

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