The London Free Press
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
By Rory Leishman
The resolve of Prime Minister Paul Martin and his Liberal cabinet to comply with the determination of the Supreme Court of Canada to impose same-sex marriage upon the laws and the Constitution has touched off the most crucial debate in our peacetime history: At stake is the very survival of marriage within Canada.
For a thoughtful and well-informed discussion of this issue, concerned Canadians would do well to ponder Divorcing Marriage: Unveiling the Dangers in Canadas New Social Experiment. This is a collection of essays edited by Daniel Cere, director of the Institute for the Study of Marriage, Law & Culture in Montreal, and Douglas Farrow, a professor of Christian thought at McGill University.
Some insist the issue is clear: Only homophobic bigots could object to the judicial imposition of a redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples. Farrows colleagues at McGill University, Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson, are well qualified to rebut this argument. In an introduction to their joint contribution to Divorcing Marriage, they observe: One of us is a man, the other a woman. One is a Jew, the other a gentile. And one is gay, the other straight. Neither of us opposes gay relationships or civil unions for gay people.(Nevertheless, with all due respect, we do oppose "gay" sexual practices and civil unions from religious and moral and health and social and rational grounds - RJ)
Nonetheless, Young and Nathanson agree that support for heterosexual bonding through marriage is essential to the well being of any society. They contend that despite ambiguity in some of the social science evidence, we do know by now that two parents are better for children than one and that families with both mothers and fathers are generally better for children than those with only mothers or only fathers. They add: That these facts are either ignored or trivialized by some advocates of gay marriage says something about concern for children in our time.
Like Young and Nathanson, Margaret Somerville, an ethicist in the faculties of law and medicine at McGill, also sees nothing wrong with homosexuality, yet insists: Marriage, as it stands, is the societal institution that represents, symbolizes, and protects the inherently reproductive human relationship for the sake of children born of such relationships. Society needs such an institution and marriage is unique in this regard; there is no other alternative.
As it is, marriage is already under intense pressure in Canada: 38 per cent of heterosexual marriages are expected to end in divorce. The birth rate has plummeted. In Quebec, no fewer than 58 per cent of the provinces few children are born out of wedlock. Given the typically high degree of promiscuity in homosexual relationships, the enactment of same sex marriage into law might conceivably precipitate the complete collapse of marriage as a monogamous union.
All the contributors to Divorcing Marriage agree that the adoption of same sex marriage could prove catastrophic. Farrow warns: The decision we must take is a decision about whether or not to abandon marriage, and to reinvent it on the lines dictated by sexual self-interest. These are lines on which the institution cannot possibly sustain itself.
Nonetheless, Cere contends there is no reason to give up the struggle to preserve marriage. He reports that despite rising rates of cohabitation and the devastating impact of rampant divorce, 88 per cent of youth still want marriage for life. Like the great majority of Canadians, these youths still regard life-long marriage as the ideal.
Regardless, the Supreme Court of Canada has made clear that if Parliament does not act, it will impose same-sex marriage as part of the Courts ongoing campaign to update the Constitution. Such arrogance offends Prof. F. L. Morton of the University of Calgary. He observes: The pretence that judges, drawn from the effete lawyering class (one-tenth of one per cent of Canadians), unelected and appointed for life, are an accurate measure of changing public opinion, verges on farce. The checkout line at Canadian Tire on Saturday morning would be more accurate.
Cere maintains that precise polling tells us that 67 per cent of Canadians want the existing definition of marriage maintained. But will Parliament stand up to the Court and preserve marriage in Canada? Thats doubtful. Instead of upholding the will of the people, most MPs will probably kowtow once again to the effete lawyering class.
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