Last edited: February 20, 2005

Same-Sex Marriage Is a Human Rights Issue

The Airdrie Echo, February 16, 2005
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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 work.

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 God?

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 family.

I was motivated to write this column on behalf of a devout Christian friend who is probably the most decent and square person I know.

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 children.

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.

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