Thursday, July 21, 2005

Gay Marriage Legalized

The focal point of all reforms should be human liberation, and the respect for human value and human rights. The free development of each individual is the basis for all social progress.
Xu Wenli, Chinese dissident

Why do we have to be such a backwards country when it comes to social issues?

Canada legalized gay marriage, yesterday (Wednesday) becoming the fourth nation to grant full legal rights to same-sex couples. Canada follows Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.

Meanwhile, our President Bush uses the issue to successfully create a divide in the country. This seems such a basic right that to deny it is truly a prejudice that reflects poorly on our society today. Don’t try and blame this on the bible because the “good” book approves of slavery too – unless a master beats him so that he loses an eye or teeth, in which case Exodus 21 states the slave must be freed.

Canada’s progress on social issues is further illustrating just how socially backwards we are in the United States. This bill passed despite strong opposition from Conservatives and religious leaders.

The new law grants same-sex couples legal rights equal to those in traditional unions between a man and a woman, something already legal in eight of Canada's 10 provinces and in two of its three territories.

It seems like common sense, but we know what an oxymoron that is.


Stephen (aka Q) said...

I think there are three relevant differences between our two countries.

The first is a demographic difference. We do have conservatives who adamantly oppose same sex marriage and take a similar stand on other social issues. But the population is not split 50-50, as the American population seems to be. Conservatives are clearly in the minority position.

The second issue is cultural. Canadians are much more private when it comes to religion and social mores. In other respects, we believe in big government — much more than you do in the USA. But when it comes to social issues, there is a real groundswell of support for the proposition that "the state should stay out of the bedrooms of the nation" (a famous aphorism of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau).

The third difference is a matter of character. Canadians don't have the stomach for replaying these battles over and over again, with the rifts they create in society. Abortion is a prime example. We have no law against abortion at any stage of pregnancy in Canada. When Canadians are polled, a majority would support a ban on late-term abortions, in principle. But as soon as a politician brings up the subject — it's political suicide. Canadians are quite unwilling to open up that divisive debate again.

There may be a post in here for my blog. Hmmmmmm.

The Misanthrope said...

Q, thanks for the insight. We (U.S.) have an unreasonable fear of government in this country. I would like to see government as a safety net and an enforcer over corporate greed that spreads insidiously unseen until too late.

Anonymous said...

Interesting points, Q. I'd add that in the US, we seem to live for these political battles, and really love them when they become mudslinging, steel-cage match affairs. I don't get it at all. Is there room in Canada for a family of 5?

Stephen (aka Q) said...

I understand that a lot of Americans considered coming to Canada after Dubya was reelected.

The character difference is both a plus and a minus. I'm glad Canadians don't relish a bloody brawl. But I admire people who are willing to fight for their convictions.

This is how we earn our reputation for being nice, but also whimpy. On balance, it's OK by me.