Same-Sex Marriage Is a Human Rights Issue
Airdrie Echo, February 16, 2005
114 - 1st Avenue NE, Airdrie, AB T4B 2B9
Phone: (403) 948-7280
Fax: (403) 912-2341
By Marian Meade
The highly charged same-sex marriage debate has dominated
the news for some time. Individuals on both sides have been quick to malign
those with whom they disagree. Dr. James Dobson, from Focus on the Family, as
well as Calgary’s Catholic Bishop Henry
have done much to support families and marriage and are to be lauded for their
Both have been taught to believe that homosexuals are
deviant and would somehow break down the sacred covenant of marriage for all
if they were welcomed to participate in it. Because of their firmly entrenched
beliefs, they are fighting tooth and nail to keep homosexuals out of an
institution which is the bedrock of society.
I do feel for both of them and all others who share this
belief, because they are doing what they believe is right. Their intentions
are good, as were the intentions of those who objected, on God’s behalf, to
interracial marriages fewer than 40 years ago.
However, although I empathize with them, I am morally
obligated to speak in favour of homosexual couples receiving the same
privileges as straight couples.
We fear what we do not know and it appears that those who
fear homosexuals know very few of them. In a recent letter to his
parishioners, Bishop Henry made the chilling statement that homosexuality,
adultery, prostitution and pornography undermine the foundations of the family
and therefore the common good.
It was this statement that led me to agree with the late
Martin Luther King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, that this is a human rights
issue. Although it makes sense to oppose prostitution, pornography and
adultery, opposing homosexuality means somehow opposing homosexuals.
I take offence to Bishop Henry’s statement, because the
homosexuals in my life are real people, not one-dimensional, sex-crazed
caricatures. It is this sort of talk that promotes active and passive
discrimination against gays.
According to Mark Tewksbury, a Canadian Olympic gold
medallist who happens to be gay, discrimination is alive and well.
Bishop Henry is talking about our brothers, sisters,
teachers, bosses, nieces, nephews, children. Are they children of a lesser
The bishop says that in fighting same-sex marriage, we
must recognize the humanity of homosexuals.
But how is this done, if they are told to deny their
sexuality and that they are unworthy of entering the state of marriage? In
this way, they are essentially being rejected from being part of the human
I was motivated to write this column on behalf of a
devout Christian friend who is probably the most decent and square person I
If family values means loving, caring, sharing,
compassion, honesty and fidelity, then she gets top marks. She has been a
tremendous support to me during my 19-year marriage and is devoted to my
She also happens to be gay. She would love to honour her
relationship by getting married. Her lament is that when people hear the word
gay, they immediately think of sexual activity and stop there.
Homosexuals and their families do exist and will continue
to do so whether they are welcomed or not. We have the choice to oppress them
or to invite them to be equal members of society.