Advocacy News - Gay marriage keeps going and going ...
June 3, 2005
Gay marriage keeps going and going ...
By Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell
Gay and straight media alike have, in recent weeks, repeatedly announced the death and rebirth of equal marriage legislation in Canada. If the fall of communism in Poland can be deemed a miracle and credited towards the sainthood of a deeply flawed and fallible Pope, then surely the resurrection and ascension of marriage equality in Canada’s parliament and senate must also be miraculous.
In 2000, when we announced our intention to get married by our church, the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, and seek legal recognition from our Ontario and Canadian governments, doubters and opponents were with us from the very beginning. But winning the first Canadian victory for marriage equality in July 2002 was a great boost to confidence in the worldwide movement for equal marriage.
Winning the definitive victory and changing the definition of marriage in June 2003, retroactively to 2001, was our dream come true. From then on, there has been no going back. Everything that has followed since has been clean- up.
Our opponents have tried to mess things up again and again. They tried to appeal our marriage case in 2003. They lost. They tried to fight couples in 8 other court cases (with two more cases now underway in N.W.T. and New Brunswick). They lost. They argued their case against our rights in the Supreme Court of Canada and lost again. Having exhausted their legal actions, our desperate opponents turned to Members of Parliament to promote discrimination.
Hateful statements about sex with animals, sex with babies, sex with children, and sex with siblings were made by sex-obsessed “Christians” during a first round of Parliamentary hearings. The public was told we were similar to alcoholics, prostitutes, and drug addicts, but that we could change if we really wanted to. Our homosexuality was because we were molested as children, a Catholic said with infallibility (if not experience). “Christians” spoke about lopping off body parts as a deterrent to homosexuality. Still, the Parliamentary committee that conducted the hearings recommended accepting the June 10, 2003 Ontario Court of Appeal decision in favour of equal marriage rights.
Unwilling to stop trying to impose their unholy dogma on others, “Christian” fundamentalists and extremists showered parliamentarians with petitions, mass mailings, phone calls, and visits in an unrealistic attempt stop progress. Catholic bishops of bigotry threatened our political leaders with damnation at the ballot box and in hell thereafter. Pulpits were used to instill fear and hatred in the hearts of the faithful, abusing spirituality to turn followers against gays and lesbians and their supporters. Calgary bishop Fred Henry called for the government to use it's coercive power against our targeted minority group. Money, resources and consultation poured in from groups in the U.S. like Focus on the Family and the Knights of Columbus in an effort to expand Jesusland north.
When all else failed, “Christian” proponents of hate threatened to bring down the Canadian government. If the government fell, the bill would be dead. Liberal party members who had voted against same-sex marriage were lobbied to bring down their own government in a confidence vote. Then came Belinda Stronach. Now there's a saviour for you.
Again the Conservative party attempted a filibuster, this time in Committee. The Conservatives (quickly becoming a faith-based party) wanted to jam the committee full of the motley crew that said such "lovely" things in the last committee. The tactic would have pushed the committee far into the future, but yesterday the Liberal party confirmed that Parliament and the Senate would sit through the summer if necessary to get the bill passed.
Well, same-sex marriage is one thing, and summer vacation is another.
Opponents of equality have nothing to show for their misguided efforts, except a heap of bad press and long-term damage to their reputation and image (with all the additional fallout that implies). As we prepare to celebrate the 5th anniversary of our legal marriage, we are confident that gay and lesbian couples will soon have Canada-wide access to the rights many of us have enjoyed these past years.
And the spread of justice and equality will not stop here. Canada is at the front lines in the expansion of human rights. We have set a standard that others are demanding in their countries. Despite the worst attempts from the enemies of freedom, gay marriage keeps going and going and going!