Saturday 22 January 2005

Speaking of Republicans...

Yesterday morning, I was late for work. Overnight, a three-foot high and six-foot deep snowdrift blew my driveway shut. At some level, I consider this a bit of a blessing in disguise.

For, on the way into work, I had a chance to listen to The Current and guest host Bernard St. Laurent, and he had on a most intriguing guest. From the sound of his voice, I guess he was probably an older gentleman, not that it matters much. He seemed so passionate about what he was saying that I couldn't help but listen to what he was talking about, though, having turned the radio on in the middle of the interview, I have no idea what that topic was.

As the interview continued, I discovered he believed that legalizing same-sex marriage is the first step on the slippery slope of legalizing polygamy, incest, and the elimination of the age of consent. "Isn't it obvious to every Canadian", he asked, "that this is what's happening?" Bernard and this gentleman spoke for another couple of minutes, followed by another speaker on this topic. It was a younger woman, a lawyer of some kind if I recall correctly, who -- and I thought this was a superbly novel idea -- actually presented statistical evidence in support of her opposing viewpoint.

She also pointed out, quite correctly, that polygamy (S. 293), incest (S. 155) and child rape (S. 150-152) are already criminalized under the Criminal Code of Canada, with maximum sentences ranging from 5 to 14 years. Marriage isn't a crime; in fact, marriage is legal in every province, defined by that province's Marriage Act. In six provinces and one territory, the legal definition of marriage as "the union of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others" has been determined to be unconstitutional under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982).

Thank God. I was worried there for a second. I'm not having a whole lot of success finding even one wife at this point; finding two, or three, or six just seemed like too much work.

It turns out that the reason for all this chat on the topic is that Stephen Harper, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, is starting a great political offensive in support of the traditional definition of marriage. I wonder if he thinks all his female MPs -- including autoparts magnate Belinda Stronach, who looks just fine in a business suit, thank-you-very-much -- should actually be barefoot in the kitchen, in a long, flowing dress, instead of being International Trade critic in his Shadow Cabinet.

So, kudos to you, Stephen Harper; a Republican by any other name would smell as sweet.


  1. Can someone explain the difference between discriminating between color (ie: I won't marry you (perform the ceremony) two people because you are black) and discriminating between sexual orientation (ie: I won't marry you because you are homo-sexual?)- are they not both still discrimination?

  2. I would love to explain it to you; say, over coffee? ;-)

    We can set up a time, just as soon as someone explains to me what the difference is. Because I sure can't find one.

  3. Isn't it obvious?

    See, there, it's so simple. Evidence? Why bother. It's clear we're on a slippery slope, because my feet are falling out from under me.

    *sigh* Logic and politicians do not often walk hand in hand.

  4. Hey, doesn't that Adam guy look a lot like Jan Peter Balkenende?

  5. Do not often walk hand in hand? I think that logic should be married with politicians but alas no... politicians are involved with pologamy and incest so much they just keep replicating themselves..:P

  6. I, personally, don't think there is a difference between discrimination based on race vs. sexual orientation. It's all discrimination and bigotry. But some people do. Maybe one of them can post their explanation.

    If you think about it, It's only been ~150 years since Blacks were largely given the right to vote (Natives in Canada didn't get that right until 1960) and before that they were considered property, not people. So, it's possible for things to change.

    Let's just hope that civil wars aren't necessary this time. The advanced weapons technology would pretty much destroy the continent.

  7. I'm coming into this argument kind of late, so maybe no one will read this, but it's time to play devil's advocate.

    What is the difference between same-sex marriage and polygamy? Besides the obvious (there's two people involved in the former, and more than two in the latter), of course. I really don't see a difference from a moral standpoint. If two men or two women want to be married, the traditional liberal response is something to the effect of "Who are you do deny them an official recognition of their love and choice to spend their life together?"

    So why is the response any different if three people (of any gender) want to be married. If they all love each other, what's wrong with it? So then why aren't liberals of the nation clamoring to allow polygamy? It's because marriage is defined as two people.

    Hell, why can't a person marry their pet cats or dogs? All the traditional arguments for allowing same-sex marriage appy -- both parties love each other and they want to spend their lives together. Why can't they be married to officially recognize their love? (I'm separating the issue of bestiality here; my assumption is that any human-animal marriage would be a sexless one, because the consent of one of the parties cannot be obtained.).

    Anyway, my point here is essentially that at some point, if we start disagreeing with the definition of marriage, then you need to start questioning which parts of the definition need to go. In allowing same-sex marriage, we want to get rid of the "man and woman" part and change it to "two people". Well, why does it have to be two? Why does it have to be people? Can you give me reasons?

    Note that I'm not using a slippery slope argument -- I'm not saying that allowing same-sex marriage will eventually lead to inter-species marriage. I support same-sex marriage. I don't support animal marriage. I'm undecided on polygamy. But I have no basis for this discrepancy other than my own personal biases. Ask me to provide evidence about why human-animal marriage shouldn't be allowed, and I can't give you anything. It just shouldn't.

    And if you can't give any evidence for why it shouldn't be allowed either, maybe you shouldn't be so hard on the right-wing "traditionalists" who think that same-sex marriage shouldn't be allowed because "it just shouldn't".