Selection Of Your Comments
November 7, 2003
I think that this article is wonderful. It is very concise and logical and should appeal to the best in all people. Unfortunately, while his arguements are sound, I feel that you will never change the mind of a religious fanatic. Those people who are fanatics about these things will always be. They believe that divorce is wrong and have 8 kids. You get the idea. The only way for people to change is time.
Right now same-sex marriage is new and scary, it will, over time be just like anything else. The church has no place interferring with the government, just ask them how they would feel if the gov't started mandating their Sunday service? Put it to them that way and see how they feel.
Just make sure the courts make it legal and in 15 years no one will give a hoot, except the loonies and well they will always be there. Personally I don't know why it is anyone else's business anyway. Who really cares who marries who? Besides, if these people are so high and mighty about saving the "institution" (and only crazy people belong in one), why aren't they freaking out over divorce and common-law unions? Don't they have wife-beaters and hungry kids or the homeless to worry about? Just think about what could happen if the church got up in arms about affordable day care or homelessness or violence against women, or special ed? Maybe they should use their powers for good instead of evil.
Thanks for the good article.
Mrs. (yeah I'm one of those breeders) Dana Gadsden
November 8, 2003
RE: 10 reasons why Christians should support same-sex marriage
And the #1 reason why the church should support same sex marriage is....why do they care what sex your spouse is if your not getting any!
November 10, 2003
The Catholic Bishop's statements that same-sex marriages could lead to incestuous relationships, as reported by Michelle MacAfee of the Canadian Press, has made many Canadians pay attention to the issue.
However, upon reading the Bishop's comments, there appears to be some confusion as to what constitutes a "traditional marriage". The current definition specifies that it must be "between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others". This definition could also imply incestuous relationships IF this were the only clause in the legistation. Under this guise, it could include a brother and his sister, a father and his daughter, etc. However, there are clauses in the current legislation that prohibit incestuous relationships, defines the legal age of consent and specifies the penalty for any offenses. These clauses will remain in affect under the proposed change to the marriage act. So.... What is the issue?
Age? If age is the concern, then why not specify that the marriage must be between two adult (as defined by law) persons who love each other to the exclusion of all others. This, in combination with the prohibition against incestuous relationships, would protect the innocent, would preserve the incest protection laws and would still allow heterosexuals, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people the right to marry their partners. If this were the case, in what capacity would it affect your marriage?
Procreation? If procreation is the sole purpose, then why have the religious leaders allowed people to marry when they are physically unable to bear children or those who have chosen not to have any children? Also, many men and women who have already had children, who have been married before and do not plan to have any further children, have been allowed to marry. Are these wrong? Should they all be nullified?
"Sexual Deviants"? If it is the "sexually deviant (as some like to say)" that the religious leaders are worried about, I think they need to look no further than their own back door to realize that heterosexuals are as just as susceptible of "deviant" actions. Maybe they should check out the statistics of just how many sexual offenses are committed and by what sex and what gender and are these offenders married under the current definition of the law.
Transgender? It is apparent that no group has considered the rights of the transgender community. Some have had legal sex reassignments and have been legally wed all over the world even though they are genetically the same sex as their partners. What about those who have been diagnosed as transgender but have decided to opt out of sexual reassignment for any number of reasons (although most commonly - abuse and money)? These people are of the opposite sex in mind and spirit than that of their body. Should they not also be allowed to wed just as their reassigned community members have? It has been proven that sexuality and gender are two separate issues and those who do not understand (especially those in politically motivating positions), should try to learn more about the facts before passing judgement. So which will it be, the sex of the body or that of the mind and spirit that decides the fate and who has the right to make those decision?
Love? Maybe we should all try to understand the true definition of love (not sex) to understand why anyone might want to marry someone of the same sex. It is time for people to stop worrying about "who loves who" OR "who wants to marry who", and get back to the basics of life. God has sent us here to love each other and to accept and even embrace our differences. As a society, we have become so negative and greedy that we no longer see the good in each other and we do not do enough to help our brothers in need (before they actually become needy). Start passing judgement and start loving one another.
I believe the phrase that best fits here is "Thou shalt not judge". My minister (a heterosexual man) made a statement that really touched my soul. Although this is a paraphrase, his statement was "God created us to love and tend to our earth and all other beings on earth. We have failed miserably here and now we are failing our own. When we find true love, that's is when God has entered our lives".
D. L. Brown,
A few points to clarify some of the above:
The current definition of marriage is no longer "one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others". This definition was encoded in common law (judge-owned law) and it was changed for all Canadians on June 10, 2003 when the Court of Appeal for Ontario re-wrote the definition to be gender-neutral, "two persons". The Canadian government, recognizing the unwillingness of other provinces to adhere to this law without a court order, decided to enshrine this new definition in a parliamentary law.
The issue of age has already been addressed in marriage law and does not require further elaboration. Same-sex marriage has no impact on age requirements for marriage.
And finally, the Catholic Church has prevented opposite sex couples from being married in their faith community if they are incapable of procreation through unassisted means.
November 17, 2003
I am doing a report on the legitmacy of the Judiciary and Parliament in regards to a perceived changing in who has the ultimate decision making power. I visited your website to research recent cases between the two powers. I just wanted to say good luck with your endeavor. As a straight, athiast man I truly believe that those fighting against you have nothing but religious beliefs to back them up. And why should a political institution take into account the beliefs of religious institutions over the beliefs of the rest of the country? It's very frustrating. I defend your side every time the arguement comes up, and let me tell you, it isn't very hard when the other side can only argue that god doesn't want this. Good luck.
November 18, 2003
This is the most magnanimous positive decision any state supreme court could make. I have worked very hard as an activist to see same-sex marriage become a reality, and will continue to do so. I love your site--it is so encouraging to us struggling LGBT Americans. I have been with my partner for eight years now, and want to marry her.
November 18, 2003
Several months ago, when the Massachusetts decision was due, enlightened activists that have same-sex marriage as the only or pivotal issue suggested that this decision would not allow marriage licences to be issued; and further to allow the politicians in a presidential political year to decide upon what abridgement of rights they could offer. In Massachusetts, both political parties have social conservatives who will give the activists a civil union or RDP statute. All the rightwingnuts and their spiritual gurus have made the media circuit pledging defeat of any statute; while the activists led by gay Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts has again asked for moderation and moderated rights for gay couples - stating that full equality, Canadian-style, is impossible to achieve in the United States in this period of time.
I tend to agree with the congressman and the many activists who see marriage as only one of many issues, and not the one right on which all others emanate from. With those "activists" apologising for radical actions like human equality now, what can one expect?
History repeats itself. The Reconstruction Republican African-American officeholders were sold back into bondage by the Abolitionist Republicans, their supposed allies in 1877. The Dixiecrats regained control of the South, and in twenty years wrote laws that effectively returned them to a slave state - first Jim Crow then Plessy.
Our activist leaders are pleading with the rightwingnuts to leave us DOMA and not to create a Constitutional amendment. What a sorry strategy. Our enemies understand the dynamics of minority oppression. It worked in 1877 and in 1891. We are not really fighting for full equal rights but some " separate but unequal " compromise - forcing generations not yet born to fight for what Canadians already have.
History is replete with anecdotes about one event changing the course of history. Rising out of the apathy often connected with oppressed minorities, one person would make of one assertive act the catalyst that would mobilise a significant number of persons to stand and yes, demand their human rights long denied by an oppressing majority. And, ironically enough, they would also find a significant number of persons in the majority who would also stand with us - having been awakened morally from a slumber of quiet acquiescence.
As I write these words, I am thinking about Sojourner Truth and Rosa Parks or John Brown or Jesus Christ or Buddha, for all these persons sought to inform the majority about the rights of all peoples.
Oppression, especially institutional oppression, is often described as the main causal factor in an apathy to obtain those human rights. Repression is a by-product of oppression. A great danger for all minority persons is the subtle perception that the majority is right in their oppression of us. Self-loathing can turn to self-hatred. Despair becomes acceptance of the permanent status quo- or if events turn even ever so slightly in our favour, a studied neglect as the reinvigorated forces of reaction campaign for the status quo ante.
If ever there was a time to recognise that we have our own heroes, whose names are Ann and Kevin and Elaine and Joe and their continuing actions, and those of Roy and James and Eileen as supporters, should make us all not only march in the streets but into buildings where licences are issued and special spaces where clergy or magistrates officiate and make this a national and international victory for ourselves and our posterity.
Raymond Sawyer-Smith, PhD
The freedom to marry belongs to all Americans
Yesterday, the Massachusetts Supreme Court issued a decision making it the first US State to recognize equal marriage rights for lesbian and gay partners. The court held that the state of Massachusetts did not show a rational basis or legitimate state purpose for denying civil marriage rights to same-sex couples.
It's been almost 40 years since the Supreme Court of the United States proclaimed that "the freedom to marry belongs to all Americans… and is essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by a free people." -- Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 1967.
Those eloquent and uplifting words were written way back in 1967 to compel the state of Virginia to abolish it's ban on interracial marriages. Could the Massachusetts decision be the light at the end of the long tunnel for LGBT Americans? Things are definitely looking up, but don't get too cozy -- its going to be a bumpy ride to full equality.
The Massachusetts case, along with the ordination of the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop and a United States Supreme Court judgment declaring sodomy laws unconstitutional, have really lit the fire under the opposition. They are desperate and will stop at nothing to "preserve the sanctity of heterosexual marriage."
At the top of their "to-do" list is a push for an amendment to the US Constitution that would forever deny marriage rights to same-sex partners. President Bush claims that he is opposed to such an amendment but is "looking into" all possible options for preserving "traditional" marriage. And Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie openly admits he would like to see the ban on same-sex marriage be made part of the Republican Platform for the 2004 Presidential election.
The abyss between the equal marriage and anti--gay marriage forces has provided the space for an intense cultural and political battle --- one that may roll back legal rights we have gained and prevent us from achieving full equality.
This may be the defining moment for the LGBT community. Are we going to continue on as second-class citizens in our own country? Or will we find the courage to stand up to the ignorance and reclaim our fundamental, constitutionally guaranteed right to marry the person of our choice? If it is true that "the freedom to marry belongs to all Americans," then the right to marry belongs to us!
Don’t let the hate-mongers keep you in the back of the bus. Use the power of your vote to demand to be treated equally, with dignity and respect. Take action for yourself and your family. Talk to your friends and ask them to vote for candidates who honor and support our relationships. Together we can do it!
But for now, there is no JUSTICE. There is JUST US!
November 20, 2003
I'm a bit ignorant on this issue and I have question I was hoping you could help me with. If legislation is passed to grant the legal right to same sex marriage will the same sex couples gain benefits that will, in the end, cost tax payers?
sex couples already have all of the benefits afforded to common law couples
opposite sex couples. The criteria under the Income Tax Act and other
federal legislation is that they live together in a relationship for one
year. This was the purpose of the Modernization of Benefits and Obligations
Act ( 2000, c. 12 ) passed by Parliament in 2000. In addition, in Ontario
same sex couples also already have all of the benefits afforded to common
law opposite sex couples however, the criteria may vary. For example,
under the Family Law Act of Ontario the criteria is that the couple live
together for three years before support rights vest. All that remains
in law in Canada to convey to same sex couples through marriage are property
rights. In Ontario property rights are between the two individuals in
the marriage relationship, although property rights do extend to the qualified
right to inherit the other's property. I hope you find this useful.
November 21, 2003
Bravo to you, and to PFLAG, and to all the creative talent responsible for the PSAs! The concept of the spots is brilliant in its simplicity. I can only wish we could pull off something similar down here.
November 21, 2003
Good luck in your fight for same sex marriage. I think the TV spots are very effective and will make people think about their position. I hope we can follow Canada's lead and do the same.
November 21, 2003
Enjoyed your Public Service Announcements. I have a suggestion for a follow-on after these run. I think you should then do a POSITIVE portrayal of similar themes based on "What's right with Gay marriages". The current ones are a bit on the negative side and this follow-up would present positive situations similar to staight marriages showing family gatherings, couples with children, romantic dinners, etc.
I hope this helps in Canada. Then maybe you can lend them to Massachusetts.
November 21, 2003
Hey guys, just to let you know I have updated our website to include llinks to yours on THE AGENDA's home page as well as in our links section. In a couple of days I will add links to the PSA's you have.
I am very impressed with the PSA's. Very nice job!!
You can see our site at www.herounit.com and just click on THE AGENDA! logo.
November 29, 2003
I would like to commend your group for the work you have done. I am a social work student in the US, and have been very upset by efforts here to ban same-sex unions. I will be sure to recommend your site to other students at my university. Good luck with your efforts; hopefully the US won't be far behind!!!
November 29, 2003
Dear Kevin and Joe,
On October 11th, 2003, we celebrated the best Thanksgiving as, surrounded by 60 of our closest friends and family, we said our legal vows on a set of old dining train cars...it still seems unreal.... THANK YOU for all that you have done to make our lives better...thank you for having the courage to fight so hard...we are truly thankful...words cannot express how much so... All the best to you both always!
Mrs. and Mrs. Heather and Judy Hayes-Claridge