In an article on the Huffington Post website on December 31, Freedom House listed its best and worst human rights developments of 2012. LGBTI victories were listed as a “Best Human Rights Development” and we agree.
There were several important victories in the battle for LGBTI rights in 2012, particularly in the United States and Latin America. A U.S. president voiced public support for gay marriage for the first time, and three states — Washington, Maryland and Maine — passed laws allowing same-sex marriage, bringing the total number of states with such rules to nine. In addition, the first openly gay woman was elected to the U.S. Senate. In Argentina, where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2010, the Senate passed legislation that allows gender to be legally changed without medical or judicial approval, and includes sex-change surgery and hormone treatment in government health insurance plans. The same month, Chile passed an anti-discrimination law that penalizes all forms of discrimination. Although not specifically written to protect LGTBI rights, the measure was spurred by the brutal killing an openly gay man. Even Cuba has jumped on the bandwagon, electing its first transgender person to municipal office. Same-sex marriage is also legal in Canada and some parts of Mexico. Sadly, for all of the progress seen in this hemisphere, the situation for LGBTI people has actually worsened in much of Eurasia and Africa.