Assertion, unsupported by fact, is nugatory. Surmise and general abuse, in however elegant language, ought not to pass for truth. Junius

2006/11/13

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Gets Tactical

After polling MPs, The Toronto Star found a largish number of them --- 141, to be exact --- would vote against the reopening the same-sex marriage debate in Parliament. Not quite a majority (60 MPs failed to reply to the survey), but probably enough to cast the issue into the oblivion it so richly deserves. And so on and so forth.

Sometimes though, the most interesting parts of newspaper articles come in the 23rd para (or in this case, the 51st), somewhat distantly "below the fold." Here we get Janet Epp Buckingham's take on a "compromise" position on same-sex marriage, one that avoids having to use the dreaded notwithstanding clause:

But it might be possible, Epp Buckingham says, to revert to the "one man-one woman" definition of marriage so long as gay and lesbian partnerships are legally recognized with civil-union status or some other designation.

Eh? What's that? Janet Epp Buckingham, of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada endorsing "civil union" status for gay and lesbian citizens? Aren't gays and lesbians aren't part of some demonic conspiracy to corrupt children and banish shag carpet from the homes of the nation?

My head is spinning. But wait: maybe Epp Buckingham is doing a little spinning on her own. The fact is the EFC, which she represents, has consistantly opposed each and every piece of legislation advancing the rights of gays and lesbians for the past decade from addition of sexual orientation to the federal human rights code to the extension of spousal benefits to same sex couples.

And: aside from the fact that the civil union bus has long left the station and is now in the vicinity of Iqualuit, Epp Buckingham's remarks just after the marriage bill was introduced to Parliament in 2005 revealed the nuclear option for the religious right: she believed then that the best course of action was to introduce a Federal Marriage Amendment to the Charter of Rights to prevent gays and lesbians from marrying, thus avoiding all that nastiness and bad press with the notwithstanding clause and denying citizens civil rights. Similiar amendments in American state constitutions have been framed in such a way not only to prohibit marriage, but to prevent gay and lesbian couples from obtaining survivor and inheritance rights, benefits, and to force children from their parents.

Colour me skeptical, but I doubt that Epp Buckingham has had a Damascene conversion to the cause of gay rights. Claiming now to support "civil unions" has the smell of a tactical retreat --- like the current proposal from the evangelical right for Parliament to "study" same sex marriage. The true purpose is to provide camoflage for what the EFC and their fellow-travellers really want from a putative Conservative parliamentary majority. In our heated pre-election period, one suspects a message has been passed from the Conservative Party bunker: tone down the rhetoric. Be nice. Don't attack gays as much as you think they're Satan's spawn. We'll treat you well once we get the majority.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Niles said...

Yes. After they get a majority. And decide to overturn an existing Canadian law/civil right with no support from the judiciary that it is a bad law.

After they tell the same gender couples already married, well, ok, you're married, maybe, but anyone like you won't be after this...they'll just be unionized, which will be mostly the same thing, if we decide it is and pay a lot of lawyers for work they didn't need to do. Unless the government wants to be 'fair' and don't want to set up a special class of same gender couples, so they unmarry all same gender couples already married and unionize them too.

I'm sure that scenario will push a lot of people to vote for the stability and maturity of the Conservative party to run this country as a majority government. Gosh darn, it'll be great for our economy, our national identity, and our group sanity.

What were we thinking, being fair minded and rational? If it wasn't for the religious fundamentalists, we would be doomed, dooooomed to getting on to topics of lesser interest, like say...what to do with all the beachfront property opening up in Baffin Island and the illegal immigration of Florida sized roaches.

Wednesday, 15 November, 2006  

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