Wednesday, January 25, 2006
If You Can't Fix It, You Gotta Stand It
Canada's newly elected Conservative government has promised to revisit same-sex marriage less than a year after the country became just the third in the world to legalize such unions.
But it won't happen soon, and the effort may be hindered by the Conservative Party's narrow victory Monday, which will force compromise among the major parties.
And reopening the issue seems to contradict the sentiments of most Canadians. Prior to the election, a nationwide poll found that 66 percent felt the issue was settled. The number who said same-sex marriage would determine how they voted was "almost infinitesimal," said pollster Donna Dasko, senior vice president of the Environics Research Group.
A Conservative Party representative said same-sex marriage is not among the party's top five priorities, which are child care, health care, crime, government accountability and lowering taxes.
"We're putting things like same-sex marriage on the back burner to these five," said Melissa Cable, press officer for the party.
"If the resolution is passed, the government will introduce legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage while respecting existing same-sex marriages," according to the Conservative platform.
It is unclear how that could happen. Courts across Canada consistently have ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marry violates the nation's constitution, and any bill would face an immediate court challenge. And the country's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, similar to the U.S. Bill of Rights, prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.
To make any new action immune from the courts, constitutional experts say Harper would have to invoke Canada's wildly unpopular "notwithstanding clause."
That clause allows Parliament to pass a law notwithstanding the charter that would otherwise prohibit it. Even when such a law does pass, Parliament must revisit the issue in five years.
Harper said during the campaign that he would not have to use that clause because the country's Supreme Court would rule in his favor. But many disagree.
Sigh. Even Canada has fanatics, who just freak at the thought of -- ewww! -- guys making out.
So freaked are they that they would use a "wildly unpopular" clause of the law to overturn legislation which has great popular support and yet protect existing violations to the new law.
My ass. This is what is known as "pandering".
Why is it that gays threaten them so? Because, as far as I know, gays who want to get married aren't trying to destroy the institution of marriage -- they're trying to opt in. In the US, there are are many legal and societal benefits to marriage, and gays want to take advantage of those benefits with their chosen life partners.
So why bother with, effectively, a time window for gay marriage, where those who got in under the wire are good to go, and everyone else is an unclean vile heathen faggot perv, or whatever Canadians would call them? Either it's legal or it's not. And, uh, Canadian Conservatives? Where you are, it is. And people want it to be.
You have a lot of actual, real, country-leading legislation on your plate, and you only won by one seat. Don't get cocky.
The question is, of course: Is marriage a church or state related issue.
If marriage is a purely religious ceremony, than the church retains the right to make the final decision as to who is truly married and who's not-- but there shouldn't be any financial or legal benefits to being married. The only benefit involved would be that of being able to stand before the Lord on the Last Day knowing that you had Done Well in His-- Um. Sorry. Wrong blog.
But, if it's a purely secular ceremony, as emotional as buying a car, and exists solely for tax benefits & insurance policies, than what right does the church have to be involved in it?
Perhaps what we need are two ceremonies, rather than one, and a separation of church and state. But no doubt things are different in Canada, after all, we here in the US would never be so foolish as to try to merge the two ...