Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Thursday, Bloody Thursday

I have decided to break one of my cardinal rules and write about politics. Since in this case the political is personal (as is so often the case) and since if I don't my head may explode, I figure it's worth the risk of ranting.

In the last election the Tories campaigned successfully on the issue of depriving gays and lesbians of their equal rights, even though the Supreme Court has interpreted the ultra-clear wording of the Charter of Rights numerous times in favour of same-sex marriage, I believe, in every province and territory. Same-sex marriages have existed in this country for over a year and the sky has yet to fall, despite every attempt by the Religious Right to try and pull it down and blame it on us.

Nevertheless, the vote is pending.

Until today I might have said that the measure still had a chance to fail. The Liberals, though, have applied what is likely to be the fatal blow. Unwilling to risk toppling the government and send their new leader, Stephane Dion, to the polls after less than a week on the job, they're allowing a free vote on the issue, something the Tories say they're doing but are not, since Harper doesn't even let his members use the washroom without his permission.

This means that the 20% rural minority in this country will likely override the 80% urban majority. Again. Every MP north of Toronto has been bombarded by the Knights of Columbus and the Salvation Army and similar bastions of tolerance for months now. Consider that the next time you pass a Red Kettle, and instead of a handful of change drop in a lump of coal.

The vote is on Thursday night, so if you live in Alberta get ready for a party to rival any kegger Ralph Klein ever threw. If you're gay and live in Alberta, both of you better get to Vancouver right away. As for everyone else, I say, start preparing for the worst.

Canada may be the first ever country to allow same-sex marriage only to later rescind it. Oh well, that international reputation for tolerance and diversity we once had was becoming a nuisance anyway. At least Stephen Harper's overlords south of the border will be happy; this vote may be the first thing to go right for George W. Bush in months.

What remains to be seen is if existing same-sex marriages will be nullified, and what kind of slippery slope this represents. For the paranoid - like me - this could represent the first step towards the recriminalisation of homosexuality, and all its attendant horrors along the way. It almost certainly represents a push to remove sexual orientation protection from the Charter and Hate Crimes legislation, both of which met fierce opposition from the Tories in the first place.

Or it could merely lead to the hypocrisy of "civil unions"; since no heterosexual relationships will be referred to in this way, this means that, at best, gays and lesbians get to go back to being second class citizens. Just in time for the holidays. Thanks Parliament, and here I didn't get you anything.

Either way, it's a giant leap forward for the integration of church and state, since I have never heard one iota of homophobia that wasn't entirely religious in nature. I guess, though, since homophobia is the favoured ecumenical pastime, this vote does represent a giant leap forward for the only kind of diversity the Tories support.

And what a lovely silver lining it is too...
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