By Jason Menard
It’s at times like these when I’m embarrassed to call myself a heterosexual.
Here we are again, debating the validity of gay marriage with our political representatives debating how they will vote. Once again, we are being overwhelmed by a swarm of political rhetoric and religious posturing. And we have our elected representatives deluged with e-mails on the topic.
But somewhere in all of this, common sense and humanity have been thrown out the window.
We live in an allegedly tolerant society. In fact, the framework of Canada has been developed on the basis of a cultural mosaic philosophy – wherein we accept all comers and encourage them to embrace their ethnicity, history, and individuality. This, if anything, is our Canadian identity and is one of the largest things that set us apart from our neighbours to the south and their Melting Pot mentality.
Thus, if we are willing, and in fact encouraged to be tolerant to other races, religions, and creeds, why does the same courtesy not extend to the concept of sexuality?
Truly ask yourself what’s the worst thing that can come about from gay marriage? Where does the tear in our country’s moral fabric come from when you allow two people of any gender to express their love and devotion to each other before their friends, family – and should they choose – their God of choice?
And should a gay couple decide to embrace a child into their lives, I say more power to them! More than a male and female role model, children truly need to grow up in an environment of loving and caring. We’ve seen enough “ideal” heterosexual couples screw up their kids through neglect, violence, and anger to prove that simply being “straight” is not the best criterion for parenthood.
We have a responsibility as a progressive-thinking society to allow everyone, regardless of race, gender, religion, and sexuality to enjoy the same benefits. Anything less is discrimination. It wasn’t so long ago that our neighbours south of the border had laws on the books banning interracial marriages for many of the same reasons that gay marriages have become an issue.
Dominion over marriage laws does not fall under any religion’s umbrella. The concept of marriage predates Christianity and, in our society, for a marriage to be legal it must be registered with the appropriate government department. Until otherwise those offices are supposed to be secular in nature.
So, that being considered, where is the secular reason for opposing homosexual marriages? And if two people of any gender want to enter into a legal arrangement to share their life to them, then I say more power to them. What makes us human is the ability to love.
If we choose to deny others the right to express that love – and by extension their very humanity — what does that say about us?
Simply being heterosexual does not provide a person with a position of moral superiority. In fact, history has proven to us that none of us entitled to stand as a moral judge of others based on race, sexuality, gender, religion, or political leaning.
As well, using the disapproval of another’s lifestyle is certainly a treacherous footing from which to stand on. There are no hard and fast moral rules to which we all, within this great Canadian cultural mosaic, ascribe. As such, one person’s delight is another’s disgust – and it can work both ways.
I have several gay friends and family members and I grew up in an environment of tolerance. As a parent, one of the things I’m most proud of is that my children are growing up in that same sort of environment where sexuality, race, and religious affiliation hold no weight on the value of the person. We stress that it’s the person’s character that’s important.
But what message are my wife and I sending to our son when we tell him not to tell others that some of the people that he cares most deeply about are gay? How do we explain that some of our friends aren’t “out” to the greater community because there are people that would look at them and react to them differently? What do I say to him when he comes home and tells us about how the kids at school are using derogatory terms to describe gay people or picking on kids who they accuse of being homosexual?
How do I tell him that we still live in a society where many remain closeted out of fear and in reaction to others’ ignorance? How do I tell him that being gay is not wrong when our country’s leaders are still debating whether homosexuals are allowed to enjoy the same rights and freedoms as heterosexuals?
Gay unions won’t diminish the concept of marriage. But this continued discrimination of homosexuals certainly shakes our concept of humanity to its core.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease and if people are in favour of supporting basic human rights, they should let their MP know. My own MP has stated that he will be voting with his conscience – but what our elected officials know is that they were not elected to represent their own wills, but rather the wills of their constituents. And if our country is truly so divided, then the decision should not rest with only our elected MPs – we need to have a national plebiscite to truly hear the voice of the people.
That way, we can truly hear from all Canadians – not just those who shout the loudest.
2005 © Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved