All hail the queen!

29 Oct

It’s the post you’ve all been waiting for… Prince William and Duchess Catherine’s first-born is eligible to assume the British throne, regardless of sex (http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/28/world/europe/uk-monarchy/?hpt=wo_c2)!

And that’s not all: future British monarchs will also be allowed to marry Catholics!

Anyone else feeling a little underwhelmed by the news? Even irritated (thinking, seriously? What took so long?)

Well, let’s not break out the celebratory champagne just yet: according to CNN, while “the leaders of the 16 Commonwealth countries that have the queen as head of state approved the changes unanimously at a Commonwealth of Nations summit in Australia… [t]he individual governments of those 16 countries still must agree to the changes for them to take effect.”

But I wonder just how much suspense we can really be expected to muster. After all, the leadership vote was unanimous.

And that unanimity makes me wonder… how many times were these changes to the laws of succession put to a vote? How long (or recently) ago did a voice within the British Empire first pipe up about the antiquated laws? Was the equal rights for female heirs issue moot a generation ago because Princess Diana had boys (so the empire didn’t have to bother with the issue)? What was it about this moment in history that gave leadership the permission and momentum to vote yes to girls and Catholic spouses?

Because certainly, these laws are well-outdated (again, as demonstrated by the unanimous vote). So why now? Is it because the world is in love with Will, Kate and–by association–the offspring they are compelled to have? Is it because after the birth of a son, the empire would lose its chance to push for more progressive laws… until that son was himself on the verge of becoming a father? There is a reality to it: in the US, we tend to get outraged over the electoral college every four years (if even that often). And then as soon as the presidential election is over, we forget about it… until the next contested vote.

The timing of Britain’s unanimous vote makes me wonder about how and when societies agree to change: when will the US vote unanimously (or just as a majority) in favor of gay marriage? What will it take? What heroes, history and unique circumstances will make a “yes” vote for gay marriage a no-brainer?

Whatever the journey over in Britain and no matter how overdue their reforms seem to be, it’s good news. Now what if Will and Kate’s kid is transgender?

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