The Pope, James Dobson, Stephen Harper, Ralph Klein and George Bush and just about all those Americans in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, have all ticked me off on the same-sex marriage debate, but the proverbial straw belongs to the Pope.
That doesn't mean all those other conservatives are off the hook for their thinly covered bigotry or a lack of intestinal fortitude to speak out and do the what any just society should.
Today the ante in the debate on same-sex marriage was upped by the Pope who called for more opposition to laws approving gay marriage and rights for unwed couples.
The Pope went onto say "the family's natural structure is challenged. Families," he added, "must necessarily be that of a union between a man and a woman founded on marriage."
Kevin Potvin in an article published today in the Vancouver Republic pointed out: "The special religiously-blessed marriage, as opposed to the ordinary common-law marriage, was invented by the church during proceedings of the Council of Trent (a city 120km north west of Venice) in order to arm the church/state entity with the power to grab control of the comings and goings of its citizens and to equip the entity with a good tool for social control generally."
You can read more of Kevin's excellent article here. He provides good background using limited ink.
Some of us here in Canada have become a little ho-hum about the right to marry. It won't matter for most Canadians if the legislation fails in Parliament this February. Most of us have the right to marry and it won't change. The act to be debated will if it passes bring same-sex marriage rights to the 12% of Canadians that live in provinces or territories that have not faced court challenges to date. Rest assured, they will if the new law fails.
Complacency may have set-in the gay community, but not in our opponents, as is usually the case, if you are opposed to something, it is easier to get your ranks fired up. And they are fired up. To date they have sent tens of thousands of emails to Members of Parliament (M.P.'s) especially those from Ontario and Atlantic Canada.
The Catholic church has most influence in these areas. The CC is by far Canada's largest Church. Fortunately its effectiveness has been lost from what it used to be, yet so big are they, they can threaten the re-election of some Liberal government backbench M.P's.
That and the rise in some areas in Canada, largely still rural, right-wing conservative evangelicals christian groups like the American dominated Canadian version of Focus on the Family are adding political pressure on government and society.
Still small by American standards, these evangelical christian groups are able to exercise a great deal of political muscle in some M.P.'s ridings and have motivated its members to let all Canadian M.P.'s know how they feel. This is adding to the impression that more Canadians are opposed to same-sex marriage than is actually the case. An Environics poll released on July 1, 2004 in Canada show roughly 57% favour and 38% oppose same-sex marriage.
In fact a poll recently taken and reported on by Lifesite, a christian news service in Canada indicated Mainline Protestants - people identifying with the United, Anglican, Lutheran, and Presbyterian churches - are only slightly more likely to disapprove of same-sex "marriage" than the Canadian average at 45 % approval rate, with no appreciable difference between those who consider themselves active members and those who don't.
The most interesting stat in the poll is that 35% of evangelicals who go to church less than once a month support same-sex marriage vs those that attend regularly at 6%. I'm heartened that the figure is at 6%.
The time has come for Canadians that support a Just Society to let their M.P.'s know they support same-sex marriage. The action not taken could further undermine the nature and accepting society we have begun to build in Canada. A country that accepts differences, celebrates diversity and multi-culturalism, that supports the collective health, wellness and prosperity of all who make this home.
We can show the Pope and evangelical christians, that Canada is a beacon for the world, all are welcome here, all human rights will be respected, and we believe in every person's right to be who they are and to share in all Canada has to give.
Now go to Canadians for Equal Marriage and send your email to Parliament.