For a lesson on marriage equality, look to Mexico (which looked to the U.S.)

In 2005, Canada became the first country in the Americas and the third in the world to legalize gay marriage nationwide. Since then, it has been held up as a counterpoint in discussions about the United States' own lack of progress on the issue. For one amusing example, check out this New York Times article entitled, "Where the United States Lags Far Behind Canada," which discusses the marriage of the first gay Marvel comic-book hero, incidentally a Canadian:

It's a signal perhaps of how far ahead Canada has moved on gay rights that Northstar came out as gay two decades ago, in 1992, at a time when in the United States, and much of the Americas, secrecy, intolerance and stigma marked gay life, and the notion of legal same-sex marriage seemed impossibly far-fetched.

But with the gay-marriage debate once again front and center as a result of Hollingsworth v. Perry -- the case that came before the Supreme Court this week on whether California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional -- the United States might want to look to its southern neighbor instead. 

In December 2012, Mexico's Supreme Court issued a ruling on same-sex marriage in a case not so different from Hollingsworth v. Perry. When the state of Oaxaca passed legislation defining marriage narrowly as a union between a man and a woman (30 states in the United States have amended their constitutions with similar language), Mexico's highest court unanimously overturned the law, arguing that it constituted a violation of "the principle of equality."

Who did the court cite to support its ruling? None other than the U.S. Supreme Court:

In the celebrated case of Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court argued that "[r]estricting marriage rights as belonging to one race or another is incompatible with the equal protection clause" under the U.S. Constitution. In connection with this analogy, we can say that the normative power to get married is of little use if the opportunity to marry the person one chooses is not granted.

The Prop 8 decision is not expected until late June. And while the Supreme Court does not often look to international cases for guidance, perhaps it will make an exception for the Mexican ruling it inspired.



Battle of the maps: North Korea's actual missile capability vs. North Korea's threatened missile capability

Today, North Korea unveiled its "U.S. mainland strike plan" in a map showing Hawaii, Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas and Los Angeles, California as primary targets. The map appeared in a photograph of an "emergency meeting" between Kim Jong Un and his top military advisors, and was broadcast by the country's propaganda arm KCNA.

It's a little difficult to make out because the lines of the continental United States are so light, but the above image shows lines pointing directly to the mainland targets of Los Angeles and Austin (Kim is clearly upset he never got to host a SXSW interactive panel on the future of Logitech hardware.) This expanded image below shows the area of the map more clearly (NK News has a smart overlay here).

Almost as soon as this latest threat surfaced, weapons experts laughed it out of the room given its ambitious assessment of North Korea's weapons capability. "How clumsy of #NKorea to accidentally display their US Mainland Striking Plan -- with ICBMs that don't exist," tweeted Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the nonproliferation and disarmament program for the International Institute for Strategic Studies. "If North Korea tried very hard and got lucky, they might be able to develop and ICBM version of the Unha-2 in five  years," he later told FP in an e-mail exchange. Speaking to the country's missile range specifically, IHS Jane's Defense Weekly editor James Hardy wrote that "there is little to no chance that it could successfully land a missile on Guam, Hawaii or anywhere else outside the Korean Peninsula that U.S. forces may be stationed."

Obviously, it's possible that U.S. intelligence and independent analyses underestimate North Korea's capabilities, a concept fleshed out by our own Kevin Baron this week. But for comparison purposes, here's the extent of North Korea's missile range according to Western experts.

First, this map data is from the Federation of American Scientists and the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. As you can see, North Korea's operational missile capacity, in green, can't even make it to India. 

On the more charitable end, the Council on Foreign Relations estimates that the Taepodong-2 rocket could make it to Alaska, but no further.

Bottom line? SXSW appears to be safe ... for now.