Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Good On US

Last night, Canada took a giant step toward legalizing Gay marriages. It passed through the House of Commons by a 158 to 133 vote. Now all that is required for it to become law is a perfunctory nod from both the senate and the governor general. We will be only the third country, after The Netherlands and Belgium to legalize Gay marriages, and that makes me pretty darn proud.

I do understand the reluctance of many to embrace this change. Marriage, after all, has a certain history and certain connotations. But we simply can't continue to shackle equal opportunity and equal treatment by hiding behind tradition. In Canada, Gay marriage has already been de facto legalized in most provinces by Supreme Court decisions. Discrimination against minorities simply does not legally conform to our Charter of Rights.

The world changes — sometimes even for the better. Most modern, developed nations are becoming more inclusive towards all sorts of minority groups, and I don't think many bother to argue that it is a bad thing. Just this past week, for example, in the case that inspired the film, Mississippi Burning, an 80-year-old Arkansas Klansman, Edgar Ray Killen, was sentenced to sixty years in prison for the infamous murders of of the three civil rights activists way back in 1964.

Just as many still do, I once had my doubts about Gay marriage. I wondered why it was so important in an era when hetero marriages are failing by the bucketload and when all sorts of couples are opting to live in common law relationships? My daughter, however, gave me the answer by pointing out the fact there is no relationship that is equivalent to marriage. Living together is not the same. Therefore, everyone should have the right to enter into such a union.

Of course, she was right, for I have heard this very theme preached in evangelical churches. I have heard them preach that only marriage provides true commitment, that it actually gives people a greater freedom to be themselves in a way that no other relationship does. I say, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If you make that argument for hetero couples, then it must apply to Gay couples as well. You can't make the argument selectively. You either believe it or you don't.

It's a difficult leap for many, but it's the right thing to do. Of course, this will not affect hetero couples in any way. They'll get married as they always have done and be just as happy and not feel at all besmirched by the fact that a Gay couple across town may be also be reciting their vows. Let's put away our fears and embrace this progressive development in a spirit of generosity and inclusivity.



Lora said...

Bravo for Canada, our wiser northern friend. I'm afraid it will be a long time before we have any hope of seeing that here.

Dale said...

Right on, AC. It was a basic human rights issue from day one. I'm thrilled!

-epm said...

It may take the US another generation, but in forty years we will look back on these days when politicians could spew sexist bigotry with impunity with national embarrassment. Either that or we'll be a oligarchy shrouded in theocracy and will have officially become a cultural wasteland of social Neanderthals. It really depends on how efficiently today's adult bigots pass on their venom to their children.

Americans are really hung up on labels. Most Americans say they oppose gay marriage, but when we refer to gay marriage as "civil unions," the majority of Americans don't have a problem.

Hate is taught.... but so is love. I've tried to teach my kids love. So far it seems to have worked.

swamp4me said...

Go Canada!
I have never understood the belief that marriage has to be between a man and a woman...I mean, why?? Marriage is a commitment between two people who love one another and wish to join their lives. I think that is a good thing.

Heather said...

Yeah, good on us.

Keith, RN said...

Another reason to love Canada! The rights that hetero couples have enjoyed for so long should not be exclusively held. I am so proud of our Canadian neighbors!

Gina said...

I agree with you.

I hope that we can get some politicians in office over here who are not beholden to the evangelical right and get our heads on straight.

Freedom and equality for all!

Anonymous said...

No offense to anyone intended.
And I don't necessarily disagrre with you (quite the opposite)
But I'm worried the blogosphere breeds this sort of me-too-ism..
All comments are positive.

Do you think it's possible that anyone with an opposite point of view reads you anymore?

Liberals read liberals and conservatives read conservatives.

Christi said...

If it means anything, I totally agree with you. However, I read some conservative blogs, too. I don't always agree, and sometimes comment as such. However, I enjoy reading along with others that feel the way I do. It makes me feel like I'm not alone in my beliefs.

I sure do wish the US would get a clue. Go Canada! Yet another reason I want to move there!

Karla said...

Marriage is a religious term in itself, so why is it even in the Charter of Rights to begin with?

Tsk Tsk...mixing politics with religion.

It would have saved a ton of issues if they just called all couples joining together Unions and left Marriage for the religious documents.

The issues has always been the church, not the people. So sad that this is the case eh?.

Anvilcloud said...

I suppose that the observations of Anonymous are true; we do tend to read blogs of like-minded people. But we do that with everything: newspapers, tv, even our real-life friends; we look for those with similar views. Since I don't write on and on about newsy or political things, I hope that others might stay with me and forgive me my lapses, but probably not.

I do follow a few blogs that don't share my point of view and that do leave me shaking my head on occasion. Normally, I don't bother to comment and stir things up when they are waxing controversial, hard as it is to refrain from sharing my immeasurable wit and wisdom at times.