Sunday, November 15, 2009

Same-Sex Marriage Was Much Ado About Nothing

During the 2005/2006 election campaign, same-sex marriage became the hot button issue for the Religious Right and ultimately the new Conservative party; as they tapped into the vast resources of the Religious Right.

American James Dobson, former head of 'Focus on Family' and one of the founding members of the Council for National Policy, added to Harper's success. CNP had already approved him for membership in 1999, and in 2000 threw their support behind George W. Bush. These guys don't fool around.

"OTTAWA – January 27, 2005 - On the heels of a US right-wing fundamentalist campaign devised to drive a wedge between Canadians, Canadians for Equal Marriage (CEM) are calling on Stephen Harper to publicly disassociate himself from the American effort.

The campaign, spearheaded by James Dobson, a well-known American evangelical leader with close ties to George W. Bush, is being broadcast on more than 130 Canadian radio stations. It urges Canadians to oppose same-sex marriage.“We already know where Mr. Harper stands on this issue, preferring ‘selective rights’ to enshrining this very fundamental right for all Canadians. Curiously, Mr. Dobson’s ads echo the same sentiments. "

Of course we know that he couldn't have changed his position on the issue, or it would have been political suicide. Look what happened just this past summer when it was learned that tourism minister Diane Ablonczy 'accidentally' gave $ 400,000.00 to the gay Pride Parade in Toronto.

The Religious Right went nuts and Ablonczy was demoted. Backbencher Brad Trost saved the day when "Speaking to from his riding office in Saskatoon today, the 36-year-old Conservative said, "The pro-life and the pro-family community should know and understand that the tourism funding money that went to the gay pride parade in Toronto was not government policy, was not supported by - I think it's safe to say by a large majority - of the MPs. This was a very isolated decision."

We know that Stephen Harper wouldn't campaign on this issue again, though visiting some of the Religious Right websites, it's still an important issue for them. Abortion is the number one.

Whether he is still promising them he will overturn same-sex marriage, if they can get him a majority is unclear, but the Canadian people by and large don't see it as a problem. We kind of like it. It did not mean the end of the Canadian family as the RR predicted. It just provided equal footing, not only with rights but responsibilities.

As Michael Ignatieff stated in 2000: "Same-sex couples should be entitled to the same rights of marriage, adoption, and parenthood as other sex-couples and they should be held to exactly the same standards of responsibility and accountability." (Massey Lectures)

Or as one comedian put it, after claiming that he supported gay marriage; "why shouldn't they be as miserable as the rest of us?"

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