Advocacy News -
Not simply divine
May 7, 2005
Not simply divine
rights and same-sex marriage
R. Douglas Elliott, B.A., J.D.
Ferdinand and Isabella were sending Christopher Columbus off to discover
they were also busy enforcing Christian orthodoxy and ruthlessly rooting
out heresy at home. How the world has changed since the days of the Spanish
Inquisition! One of the first official acts of the new Pope, whose last
job was running the modern version of the Inquisition, was to condemn
the recent decision by the lower house of the Spanish legislature to extend
civil marriage to same sex couples.
centuries after Columbus’s
arrival, the United States of America
was born right here
in Philadelphia. The young
nation rejected the European tradition of an official religion endorsed
and enforced by the state. They over threw their ruler, a man named George,
despite the fact that George believed God had placed him in charge. The
was the first country to embrace the concepts of constitutional rights
to equality and freedom of religion, individual rights that would protect
every person from the tyranny of the majority.
Those ideas laid the foundation for the freedom to marry for same
sex couples that has been embraced in countries such as Canada,
a country that was founded in part by the Tories who had opposed the American
President of the International
Lesbian and Gay Law Association, I have had the opportunity to observe
the global trend toward legal recognition of marriage for same-sex couples.
As a lawyer in Ontario, Canada,
I had the privilege of representing the Metropolitan Community Church
of Toronto, one of the winning parties in our Court of Appeal’s decision
in Halpern that has made marriage for same-sex
couples a legal reality in my country.
this brief paper, I propose to outline some international developments
in same sex-marriage beginning with a detailed look at Canada. I
will conclude with some observations about the clash between proponents
of secular human rights to equality and those who advocate of more religion
in the public square, or perhaps more accurately, religious control of
the public square.