There's Still a Fault in Your Logic, Mr. Harper

In yesterday's post, I pointed out that no one who is opposed to the Civil Marriage Act has dealt with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. My wife pointed out that the leader of the Conservative Party, Stephen Harper, attempted to do just that in his speech a couple of days ago. Instead of framing his argument in terms of equality, he approached the Charter via fundamental rights:

Fundamental human rights are not a magician's hat from which new rabbits can constantly be pulled... Same-sex marriage is not a human right.

Harper continued by pointing out that a UN commission ruled that same-sex marriage was not a fundamental right in 2002 (see yesterday's link). That still leaves the anti-same-sex-union bid in an awkward and inconsistent position because it still does not address the issue of equality before the law. Why are heterosexuals allowed to choose, while homosexuals are not? Consenting adults comprise both groups. If marriage is not a fundamental right for homosexuals then it's not a fundamental right for heterosexuals either and the government should get out of the marriage business altogether. Why is one type of relationship between consenting adults deemed worthy of a marriage license but another isn't? Are gays lesser citizens? Are their relationships lesser too? Once again, we're back at the equality issue and separate but equal is not equal.

The only thing heterosexual marriage has going for it, then, is tradition grounded in "natural law." Lots of things now deemed wrong were supported by tradition based on "natural law": barring women from the public sphere, segregation, miscegenation laws. As State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan, who ruled that banning same-sex marriages in New York state is unconstitutional wrote in her decision:

[Courts] rejected the rights of adults to choose their marital partners based on outmoded prejudices that are now recognized as illegitimate grounds for government action.

We're back at equality again. I really wish that Stephen Harper and his ilk would simply come out and say what they're thinking while they argue against the Civil Marriage Act: "We don't like gay people. They're different and that scares us." I mean, I would laugh at him and call him a "bigot" but I'd thank him for his honesty and I'd be happy that everyone would finally be able to see that his position, no matter what he dresses it in, is based on hate and fear.


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