Tag Archives: same-sex marriage

Out of the Mouths of Babes a Message is Lost

By Jason Menard

Can you believe they made those kids say fuck?

And there lies the line of demarcation between an extremely powerful message and going just a little too far.

If you haven’t seen it yet, please check out the YouTube video for FCKH8.com, an organization dedicated to fighting for equal access to marriage to both gay and straight couples. The ad encourages you to purchase a shirt, which would show your support for the cause. Through the purchase price, you are donating to the cause. Continue reading

Looking for Skeletons in Harper’s Closet

By Jason Menard

Could this be it? Could this be the moment we’ve all been waiting for? Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced that a free vote on same-sex unions will be held in the fall. But by opening that particular closet, will this be the time that a few right-wing skeletons come tumbling out?

Remember, this ain’t your father’s Conservative Party. The Conservative Party of Canada, as helmed by Mr. Harper, is the (some would say unholy) union of the Progressive Conservative and Alliance Party – the old Reform. And let’s just say the past has been peppered with some interesting comments.

For example:

  • Garry Breitkreutz, MP for Yorkton-Melville was quoted in a press release saying, “ In the 1950s, buggery was a criminal offence, now it’s a requirement to receive benefits from the federal government.”
  • Art Hanger, MP for Calgary Northeast uttered these bon mots, “Homosexuality, to anyone who has not been brainwashed by the last decade of effective propaganda by the gay lobby, is unnatural. It is a repudiation of nature. … Homosexuality is nihilistic. It protects nothing, it defends nothing, it continues nothing, and it sustains nothing.” Now, admittedly, that was back in 1995 – so maybe a decade has tempered his views. You think?
  • And how about Mr. Stockwell Day, who followed the natural train of thought when discussing why the protection from discrimination from religion, ethnic origin, and gender should not extend to same-sex couples… “What about the next step? Those who lobby for sex with children?”

Yes, is there any wonder why Mr. Harper’s running the government like an Orwellian Ministry of Truth? Now, to be fair, these quotes – and others like them – are compiled on the official Web site of Egale, a national organization which aims to advance equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-identified people and their families across Canada. But we these quotes out there, Harper, when considering his own political future, must be thinking, ‘With friends like these who need enemies?’

And that’s the problem with this debate. The Conservatives know it too, which is why some members of Harper’s own party have come out recently with concerns about not letting sleeping dogs lie – even if they choose to lie together despite having the same genitalia.

You’ve got to have the feeling that the more right-wing members of Harper’s Caucus (is that too homoerotic for them?) have been patiently sitting on their hands, allowing the Prime Minister to go his way knowing that their position as a minority government is precarious at best. But will the bait be too tempting for them not to slip up? Harper, like a frantic plate spinner, has been taking on all the responsibilities himself to ensure that nothing leaks from the back benches. He’s running ragged, desperately trying to ensure that not one plate falls, shattering the silence, by assuming the brunt of the public responsibility himself.

This will be the test. There are many out in Canada believing that old habits truly do die hard. And they’ve been waiting for any sign of the sheep’s clothing to slide off these presumed wolves. The gay marriage debate may just be the issue that does it.

One has to wonder if Harper even has an interest in fighting this battle, knowing that he’s probably going to lose. The NDP and Bloc are certain to vote against rescinding the existing legislation that permits same-sex marriage. And the majority of Liberals will probably do the same. But in an attempt to showcase his good points – the willingness to live up to his promises, he’s running the risk of showering his party with negativity.

In provinces such as Ontario and Quebec, where the Conservatives are desperately trying to show their compassionate Conservatism can mesh with the left-leaning tendencies of these provinces and their major, vote-rich, urban areas, Harper can’t come across as a discriminatory Redneck.

In the end, even if he loses, he can come out better than when he went in. If Harper’s willing to engage in a respectful debate, avoid name calling or downright offensive behaviour, and keep the chatter from the back benches to a dull whisper, he can come out of this debate as a better facilitator. Harper can stand up and say that he’s a willing representative of the will of the people, and that he was able to keep his promises.

But that’s only if those skeletons stay in the closet. And right now, the door’s wide open.

2006© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

A Matter of Love

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