In a press release dated December 15, the group appears to be speaking to (shoring up) the Christian demographic important to Harper's election hopes, stated "it continues to support Conservative leader Stephen HarperÂs promise to allow a free vote on the issue of marriage in spite of his declaration that he will not use the notwithstanding clause of the Charter of Rights to overturn any future decision of the Supreme Court on the matter."
This of course is not news to many voters. It is not news to many of Harper's Conservative Christian supporters. The news part is really who the release is aimed at. It is meant to help reduce the fallout over Harper's stated refusal to use the "notwithstanding clause" to prevent same sex marriage if the courts strike down a new law that prevents same-sex marriage.
"Mr. Harper has pledged to hold a truly free vote on the issue of marriage if he is elected Prime Minister, a promise that was endorsed by the overwhelming number of delegates, including a majority of those from Quebec, at the Conservative Party convention earlier this year," said Joseph Ben-Ami, executive director of the ICV. "He did not promise to use the notwithstanding clause to overturn any future Supreme Court ruling on the issue and we are not asking him to do so."
The group is worried its supporters may abandon the Conservative party. Remarks like this one made by Jim Hughes of Campaign Life have then worried, "what an appalling situation. Harper has said he won't use the very vehicle (Notwithstanding Clause") that was placed in the constitution to deal with situations like this."- LifeSiteNews. com
Campaign Life and the ICV and other Conservative Christian groups are excited about this election after US Evangelical political hardliner Ralph Reed gave them a big morale booster, "queer banging" speech at a Toronto conference that ended December 1, 2005 after three days on to organize successful grassroots campaigns that support their agenda of social conservative values.
Readers may recall that many in the the social conservative set were pretty ticked off when Harper proposed a compromise to Bill C-38 offering same-sex couples everything except the title "marriage". Even this was too much for them.
The ticked off folks made sure they were well represented at the Conservative party convention held in March. In fact they were very visible including having a $300,000 motorhome parked in the Convention parkade to act as an office and base of operatioSubsequentlyantly the convention voted 74% in favour of "traditional marriage" and came within a whisker of passing a motion that would have banneseverelyverly restricted access to abortion.
Harper has to play to these people, yet he needs millions of average Canadians to vote for him as well. Thus Harper is saying what he thinks he has to in order to reduce the fears of those Canadians. In somewhat surprising statements this week Harper has told us he won't use the nuke button on same-sex marriage and those already married can remain that way, he wrote the Washington Times (not to be confused with the Washington Post) stating a Conservative government will not change abortion rights and he won't support the Bush War in Iraq.
Now you know Harper has too elections going on, one in Church where he is leaving the battle to his political operatives at the ICV and the other where he asks us all to believe something we all know he doesn't even believe himself.
I can just see it now, Harper running up on stage at Conservative pep rallies to the tune of John Lennon's Imagine...
"Imagine there's no heaven,
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people
living for today..."
For more information on same-sex, equal or gay marriage, gay rights, evangelical and Christian opposition, Conservatives, Stephen Harper, Bishop Henry, James Dobson, Ralph Reed, Supreme Court of Canada, Civil Marriage Bill (C38) use the Technorati Search Box in the side bar and and at Politics in BC.
tags: Gay, Canada, Human Rights, Christian Right, Conservative Party of Canada, Stephen Harper