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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

well, it's done, then...

Canada is now, with a vote of 158 to 133, officially the third country in the world to recognise same sex marriages.

The whole thing stinks.

Now, don't get me wrong. I actually believe the homosexual couples *should* have the same legal recognition heterosexual couples do. Civil marriage is a legal contract between two parties, and I see no reason why gay couples shouldn't have access to that contract. I think such legal recognition was necessary and long overdue.

No, that's not what bothers me.

Part of what bothers me is that what passed isn't the granting of equal rights to same sex partners. What passed is the redefinition of marriage in general. Whenever goverment or the law starts playing around with definitions of words, it sets alarm bells off in my head. Marriage means different things in different cultures. Such things are far more fluid than some are willing to accept. Changing a definition in law, however, destroys that fluidity. That concerns me. I am of the personal belief that, given a bit more time, the cultural definition of marriage in the general populace would have included same sex marriages. Until then, simply allowing for a civil contract equal to a marriage contract would have sufficed.

Another part of what bothers me is how it was done. It was forced through, with much manipulation and politikking, by a party that once swore that the definition of marriage was one man and one woman, and that they'd never change that. This same party has now forced its own members to vote against their constituants desires (the majority of Canadians were against the ruling, including people within the gay and lesbian community). Debate and dissention wasn't allowed, and anyone who was against the bill (including those who actually wanted same sex couples to have the same legal rights as opposite sex couples; they just didn't want the term "marriage" redefined) were called bigots and homophobes. I doubt the powers that be could care less about gays, heteros or anyone one other then themselves and their political power plays. I feel that the whole thing is just a game to them, and they're using the same sex issue as another marker to move on the board.

Then there's the religious angle. It's been promised that, should marrying a same sex couple go against a church's religious beliefs, or the religious beliefs of a marriage commisioner, they would not be forced to perform the ceremonies. Well, we know how true that promise turned out to be when several marriage commisioners were fired for refusing to perform same sex ceremonies because of their personal beliefs. It's only one step farther to try and force churches to perform same sex marriages. What concerns me greatly is that I've had people point blank tell that they believe churches *should* be forced to perform these ceremonies, and some groups have already called on the goverment to recind the tax-free status of churches if they refuse. Interestingly, only Christian churches, particularily Roman Catholics, have been targetted by these groups. First of all, not all Christian churches are against it. Second, other non-christian religions are equally, if not more, against recognition of same sex marriage, and will not perform the ceremonies.

Personally, I see civil marriages and religious marriages as two different things. I think that any couple should be able to have a legally recognised civil marriage, same sex or otherwise. I, however, feel that forcing religions to do the same is wrong.

Giving one group equal rights shouldn't come at the cost of infringing on the rights of another.

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