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The Land Of Equal Rights
That would be...Canada! Here's what Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin had to say about giving gays the same rights as straight people -- something America, ruled by the primitives, has become too backward to do:

I rise today in support of Bill C-38, the Civil Marriage Act. I rise in support of a Canada in which liberties are safeguarded, rights are protected and the people of this land are treated as equals under the law.

...First, some have claimed that, once this bill becomes law, religious freedoms will be less than fully protected. This is demonstrably untrue. As it pertains to marriage, the government’s legislation affirms the Charter guarantee: that religious officials are free to perform such ceremonies in accordance with the beliefs of their faith.

In this, we are guided by the ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada, which makes clear that in no church, no synagogue, no mosque, no temple – in no religious house will those who disagree with same-sex unions be compelled to perform them. Period. That is why this legislation is about civil marriage, not religious marriage.

Moreover -- and this is crucially important – the Supreme Court has declared unanimously, and I quote: “The guarantee of religious freedom in section 2(a) of the Charter is broad enough to protect religious officials from being compelled by the state to perform civil or religious same-sex marriages that are contrary to their religious beliefs.”

The facts are plain: Religious leaders who preside over marriage ceremonies must and will be guided by what they believe. If they do not wish to celebrate marriages for same-sex couples, that is their right. The Supreme Court says so. And the Charter says so.

One final observation on this aspect of the issue: Religious leaders have strong views both for and against this legislation. They should express them. Certainly, many of us in this House, myself included, have a strong faith, and we value that faith and its influence on the decisions we make. But all of us have been elected to serve here as Parliamentarians. And as public legislators, we are responsible for serving all Canadians and protecting the rights of all Canadians.

We will be influenced by our faith but we also have an obligation to take the widest perspective -- to recognize that one of the great strengths of Canada is its respect for the rights of each and every individual, to understand that we must not shrink from the need to reaffirm the rights and responsibilities of Canadians in an evolving society.

The second argument ventured by opponents of the bill is that government ought to hold a national referendum on this issue. I reject this – not out of a disregard for the view of the people, but because it offends the very purpose of the Charter.

The Charter was enshrined to ensure that the rights of minorities are not subjected, are never subjected, to the will of the majority. The rights of Canadians who belong to a minority group must always be protected by virtue of their status as citizens, regardless of their numbers. These rights must never be left vulnerable to the impulses of the majority.

We embrace freedom and equality in theory, Mr. Speaker. We must also embrace them in fact.

Third, some have counseled the government to extend to gays and lesbians the right to “civil union.” This would give same-sex couples many of the rights of a wedded couple, but their relationships would not legally be considered marriage. In other words, they would be equal, but not quite as equal as the rest of Canadians.

Mr. Speaker, the courts have clearly and consistently ruled that this option would offend the equality provisions of the Charter. For instance, the British Columbia Court of Appeal stated that, and I quote: “Marriage is the only road to true equality for same-sex couples. Any other form of recognition of same-sex relationships ...falls short of true equality.”'s been so long since I've heard a North American leader who sounds like a statesman. Wise and fair, too. Too bad Martin wasn't running against the two boobs we had.

Posted by aalkon at February 18, 2005 8:40 AM


This should be required reading for all the boobs in office or in charge of political wrangling.

Posted by: Deirdre B. at February 18, 2005 3:31 AM

Hi Amy -

All this is interestingly stone-age. (smile)

Did you know that a marriage celebrated in France only as a "religious" marriage has no value in the eyes of French law ? A couple must go before the "Officier Civil" (Mayor, or Deputy Mayor) at the local "Mairie" (City Hall). That civil officer marries them. If they want a religious marriage, they then adjourn to the church, temple, whatever, and undergo the relevant ceremony. Undergoing the religious ceremony without the preceding civil ceremony (and yes, that civil ceremony must precede and not follow ...) means nothing here: no marriage has taken place.


Posted by: L'Amerloque at February 18, 2005 10:57 AM

Y'know, if gay marriage advocates were rhetorically honest about this, it would be over by now.

Gays have precisely equal rights to straights in marriage. They too are permitted (and often encouraged) to take an unrelated, adult, competent member of the opposite sex as a spouse.

The advocates can't risk saying that they want to make a fundamental change in the nature of civilization. The convenience of pretending that this is a small tweak --one aligned with the squishiest, gooiest core of our loving hearts-- is too great. But when the greater number of voters hear the "same rights as everyone else" wording, troubling little bells start ringing in the back of their heads... EVEN IF THEY MIGHT NATURALLY BE INCLINED TO SUPPORT GAY UNIONS.

So this is turning out to be kinda fun to watch.

Posted by: Cridland at February 18, 2005 11:02 AM

That's exactly as it should be here, L'Amerloque, in a country that professes to practice the principles of laïcité -- secularism.

I'm not concerned with what propagandists on either side say should be, but what truly should be: equal rights for all people, independent of anybody else's religious fantasies.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 18, 2005 11:11 AM

"A fundamental change in the nature of civilization?" Crid, you are so weird. Was it really that long ago when a girlfriend prodded your butthole a little bit with her finger while you were fucking her? And was it really so scary?

Never mind gay marriage. The larger policy question is whether there is anything we can do to promote the development of that "squishiest, gooiest core" of psychosexual angst known as the American heterosexual male ego, of which you are such a textbook case. It is kinda fun to watch though!

Posted by: Lena at February 18, 2005 11:20 AM

You know, we Canadians *are* rather fond of you "highly educated blue-state" types. If you can get used to our accents and our fondness for ice-hockey, we'd love to have you...

Posted by: Andrew at February 18, 2005 11:20 AM

Hi Andrew -

Ummmm, waytaminit ... just what are you Canadians going to replace ice hockey with, for the foreseeable future ? (smile)

L'Amerloque (et vive les états bleus !)

Posted by: L'Amerloque at February 18, 2005 11:31 AM

Best of all, if we keep up the good work in the global warming department, Ontario should have the climate of San Diego before long.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 18, 2005 11:32 AM

Oui, oui, L'Amerloque...(vive les états bleus!)

And regarding a replacement...

la natation synchronisée?

(synchronized swimming)?!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 18, 2005 11:45 AM

"They too are permitted (and often encouraged) to take an unrelated, adult, competent member of the opposite sex as a spouse."

I can't tell sometimes if you are insideous or just insipid.

Posted by: eric at February 18, 2005 4:41 PM

> are so weird.

> ...insideous or just insipid.

"If you can't answer a man's arguments,
all is not lost; you can still call
him vile names." - Elbert Hubbard

Meanwhile, back on planet Logic, the clear-headed rule...

Posted by: Cridland at February 18, 2005 5:43 PM

Well, obviously the clear-headed rulers on planet Logic can't tell a noun from an adjective. "Weird, insideous, and insipid" are not names. "Idiot" is a name. Maybe your desktop Quote of the Day will have something more on target tomorrow.

Posted by: Lena at February 18, 2005 10:35 PM

Whaddya know, today's is no less appropriate!

"When it starts to sting, you know you're near the honey."

Posted by: Cridland at February 19, 2005 9:12 AM

I used to wonder how just a generation ago Americans could think it was OK to have coloreds and whites only lines, restaurants and water fountains. I concluded that back then they still have some evolving to do and we are better off today. This gay marriage "debate" made me realise how it happened, how some people could think something that was blatantly unfair and illogical was OK. I guess it takes more than a generation to evolve. Sadly, some of these under-evolved hominids even ran for President (with one winning) of a country that has the ability to wipe out the rest of the planet. Dear God!

Posted by: cindy at February 22, 2005 12:03 PM

Where would I look for Maiden ceremonies for the upcomming year? Leslie

Posted by: Leslie at September 10, 2005 7:25 PM

"Maiden ceremonies"? Huh?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 10, 2005 10:48 PM

Just googled it:

Found it on some (gag!) astrology site:

Maiden Ceremony-private or group

Group Maiden Ceremony for young women who have begun their Moon Time during the past year. Performed yearly at Ostara, Spring Equinox.

Um, if you read a few entries here, you might notice I have a brain, which I engage, which is why I don't believe in irrational crap like astrology and "moon time" and all that stuff. Chances are, you have a brain and reason. Why not use them!?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 10, 2005 10:51 PM

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