As we all patiently wait for Prime Minister-designate Stephen Harper to lose the suffix, my thoughts turn inevitably to the contentious same-sex marriage issue. I think everyone would like this to be settled once and for all, but I don't think it is ever going to happen. Both sides feel much too strongly about it. Any initative from Parliament is unlikely to resolve the disparity.
Social Conservatives were led to believe that Stephen Harper would rescind Bill C-38, but Deputy Conservative Leader Peter MacKay said recently on CTV's Question Period, that "It's not going to be brought back as a legislative initiative to strike down same-sex marriage. It would be brought back to decide whether Parliament wanted to go down that road."
More agitation. More marches. More anger. If openly-gay Liberal M.P. Scott Brison is appointed interim party leader, we can look forward to him advocating for his own "rights" as well as those of the LGBT community. (Sounds like a deli sandwich, doesn't it?)
Here are my thoughts - We first have to distinguish between issues of rights and social issues. I have yet to hear anyone present a solid case to me that this is a "rights" issue. I hear a lot of rhetoric, but nothing substantive. Let's address this first.
If gay "marriage" can be proven to be a right, then we need to deal with it accordingly and ensure that all benefits and entitlements are granted equally. If it is not a right, then we are looking at a social issue, and I personally feel that this should be resolved by a referendum.
Finally, even if we end up proving that gay marriage is a right in Canada, people of various faiths and religious beliefs will still never give up the fight.
Therefore, I think the Canadian government should get out of the marriage business altogether. Let's just have "civil unions" for everyone, performed at an accredited municipal location, and devoid of any religious context. Then, anyone wishing a more traditional and religious ceremony could have that arranged afterwards at the church of their choice. It would be a two-step process, but it would take the word "marriage" out of the hands of the government, and give it back to the individual and God.
I welcome any thoughts and comments on this. My feelings will not be hurt if you disagree!