Civil marriage act a hard sell.The speed with which Canadian Courts and the Liberal Government (Is there any difference?) race to advance the homosexual agenda The homosexual agenda (or the gay agenda) is a term used by some social conservatives in the United States to describe the goal of increasing LGBT acceptance and equality through public policies, media exposure, and cultural change. on all fronts makes column-writing hazardous; by the time you read this, the Paul Martin/Beverly McLachlin tag-team may have body-slammed all resistance to same-sex marriage Noun 1. same-sex marriage - two people of the same sex who live together as a family; "the legal status of same-sex marriages has been hotly debated"
couple, twosome, duet, duo - a pair who associate with one another; "the engaged couple"; "an inseparable and the Civil Marriages Act (Bill C-38) may be the law of the land.
But, at the moment, it looks unlikely.
As I write [February 12], Justice Minister Irwin Cotler Irwin Cotler, PC , MP , OC , BA , BCL , LL.D , Ph.D (born May 8, 1940) was Canada's Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada from 2003 until the Liberal government of Paul Martin lost power following the 2006 federal election. is sounding off non-stop about "... the march to Equality", without mentioning that this is a forced march. His boss, Prime Minister Martin, is doing everything possible--everything except to tell the truth--to reassure Canadians that they have nothing to fear from Bill C-38, that it is a "value-added" (Cotler's term) adornment of marriage. Yet despite a solemn pronouncement (called an "advisory opinion") from the Supreme Court of Canada The Supreme Court of Canada (French: Cour suprême du Canada) is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeal in the Canadian justice system. , despite the chorus of trained-seal barking from the Liberal front benches, despite the unanimous and politically-correct opinion of--count them!--130 law professors, the Canadian public just isn't buying.
The most comprehensive nationwide poll yet done (National Post, February 2, 2005) shows that two-thirds of Canadians still support a traditional definition of marriage, while one-third support "gay" marriage.
In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , despite the avalanche of Liberal rhetoric, despite the best attempts by the CBC (1) (Cell Broadcast Center) See cell broadcast.
(2) (Cipher Block Chaining) In cryptography, a mode of operation that combines the ciphertext of one block with the plaintext of the next block. , the Globe and Mail and other keepers of the national conscience, to brand opponents as homophobic bigots, the great social experiment, the one by which Canada will take its place as the third country in the world where Bob can "marry" Ray and settle in connubial con·nu·bi·al
Relating to marriage or the married state; conjugal.
[Latin cn bliss, has not yet gained traction with a skeptical electorate.
It is enough to make a Liberal weep.
Do the great unwashed not understand that we have a Charter? Were they not listening when the Supremes spoke? Who are these Neanderthals who won't get with the program? And why do they talk of a referendum? A referendum would tell us only what people think; we are not governed by what people think, but by what Judges tell us they ought to think. Otherwise, you could end up with government by majority opinion--and, tell me, where would we be then?
So, here's the strategy: reassure people, over and over, that they have nothing to fear, all religious opinion will be protected. Justice Minister Coder again:
"Freedom of religion is protected and people who are not religious officials are also protected with respect to their religious beliefs."
The only trouble is--it's not true.
Already governments in four provinces have ordered civil marriage commissioners to conduct same-sex weddings or face dismissal.
Already, a lesbian couple has taken the Knights of Columbus Knights of Columbus, American Roman Catholic society for men, founded (1882) at New Haven, Conn. (where its headquarters are still located), by Father Michael J. McGivney. before a B. C. Human Rights Tribunal arguing that failure to rent their premises for the lesbian wedding reception constitutes unlawful discrimination. Anyone familiar with the so-called "jurisprudence" emanating from Canadian Human Rights Commissions (see Owens, Brockie, et al.) will not be in much suspense wondering how this decision will go. *
In fact, in its marriage advisory opinion, the Supreme Court took pains to point out that religious rights are a matter of provincial jurisdiction; in other words, under the Charter umbrella, religious rights are at the mercy of the (misnamed mis·name
tr.v. mis·named, mis·nam·ing, mis·names
To call by a wrong name.
having an inappropriate or misleading name: ) provincial Human Rights Commissions.
In any case, what is the assurance of a Canadian politician really worth? A recent Ontario court decision held, in effect, that anyone who relies on a politician's promise is a gullible idiot. For that matter what is a Canadian judge's opinion worth?
Five years ago, the Parliament of Canada The Parliament of Canada is Canada's legislative branch, seated at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. According to Section 17 of the Constitution Act, 1867, Parliament consists of three components: the Sovereign, the Senate, and the House of Commons. voted overwhelmingly that marriage meant exclusively the union of a man and a woman. So what? That didn't deter the Supreme Court from (to put it mildly) "hinting" the opposite; heck, it didn't even deter most parliamentarians who voted that way from talking out of the other side of their mouth now.
That is why the Civil Marriage Act is proving to be a hard sell. Canadians may not be very informed about the intricacies of Charter interpretation; they may not hold politicians to a very high standard of probity PROBITY. Justice, honesty. A man of probity is one who loves justice and honesty, and who dislikes the contrary. Wolff, Dr. de la Nat. Sec. 772. , or even consistency. But when a politician's nose is growing even as he speaks, they just might notice.
* For more details, see Judicial Activism Noun 1. judicial activism - an interpretation of the U.S. constitution holding that the spirit of the times and the needs of the nation can legitimately influence judicial decisions (particularly decisions of the Supreme Court)
broad interpretation , 2004, pp. 165 (nine contributors, incl. Dr. Hunter) Edited by Alphonse de Valk. Available from Life Ethics Information Centre, 104 Bond St. Toronto, Ontario M5B 1X9, $19.95 plus $2.50 mailing cost. To order, call Catholic Insight: 416-204-9601.
Ian Hunter is Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Law at Western University in London, Ontario.