Object Lesson Down Under: Marriage Equality Doesn’t Mean the Fight is Over

Last month, New Zealand joined the ranks of nations which have legalized marriage equality.

Substantial victories for civil rights offer opponents the opportunity to argue, Haven’t you changed enough? No: as the New Zealand experience demonstrates, sometimes codification is only the beginning of tolerance. (In the United States, the legality of interracial marriage predated its broad acceptance by many years.)

For example, according to the Huffington Post, more than 50,000 Kiwis have signed an anti-equality petition. (The good news: the group that organized the petition is now being “deregistered as a charity”.) Many people remain wary of progress. And as this headline illustrates, there will always be isolated pockets of prejudice:

New Zealand McDonald’s Employee Reprimanded For Being ‘Too Gay,’ Told Not To ‘Turn’ Customers Gay

Thankfully, our laws (and public opinion polling results) are moving beyond that ignorance—in our country, and in the Southern Hemisphere.