Thursday, February 17, 2005

Gay Marriage - Second Reading

Just when you thought things couldn't get more interesting, they have. First, on Monday night, Belinda Stronach comes out with a strong defence of gay marriage on Rick Mercer's Monday Report. (Sidebar: This show is one of the reasons I love this country, and the CBC for showing it. Jon Stewart would kill to get top level politicians and celebrities to do the things that people will do for Rick.)

Then we have a kerfuffle involving that pinhead Jason Kenney arguing that gays and lesbians can marry, as long as they marry straight people. Well Jason, that will certainly improve the state of marriage, and lower the divorce rates. Tens of thousands of unhappy couples, eventually divorcing, many of which with children that will have to suffer through that transition. If I were Stephen Harper, I would be vetting my members' statements as well.

And now we have the debate moving into the House of Commons. Paul Martin, for once, gave a decent speech in support of same-sex marriage, the text of which is here. It actually uses the words "gay" (6 times) and "lesbian" (4 terms), words which he has always shied away from in the past. It's taken him a long time to come up with a strong statement in favour of gay marriage, but this is a good one. He (and his speechwriters) should be proud of it.

On the other hand, in today's Globe and Mail you can find Stephen Harper pointing out the legacy of the Liberals' misdeeds towards human rights, including a refusal to accept Jewish immigrants in the 1930s, interning Japanese Canadians in World War Two, and invoking the War Measures Act during the October Crisis. Clearly, he is trying to show that the Liberals are not the defenders of human rights that they want to be perceived as. Way to play into Martin's hands. Cite several examples of abuses of human rights from the past that seemed acceptable at the time but are embarrasments now, to justify supressing gay rights now, which will similarly seem unacceptable in the future. He might also want to read the history books to see how his own Conservative party supported the same immigration and internment policies.

I really do hope that more Liberal backbenchers come around on this issue. I'm still cautiously optimistic. I also hope that Stephen Harper allows his own mouth to run away with him on this point, so that it comes to back to bite him when a clever researcher can point out the many instances of his hypocricy.

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