Cotler caves to Tories: govt employees can discriminate against gay couples after all

[url=“”]CBC News:

Right. Just like how Catholic civic officials don’t have to handle divorces or give marriage licences to divorced couples; or Wahhabi ones don’t have to give women drivers’ licences.

Clergy are one matter, and I was completely in favour of letting clergy decide which marriages they will solemnize. After all, when you’re hired as a clergyman, it’s to follow the dictates of your church, however petty and ludicrous I might happen to find them.

But government employees are hired to serve the populace, not some subset thereof, and marriage commissioners should not get to choose which legal marriages they will deign to license. If you’re not in a position to serve all those people who the law says can legally marry, you shouldn’t be a marriage commissioner in the first place!! Putzes.

Oh, and Irwin? I’d also like to know what was the point of doing that little Supreme Court reference thing that took such a long time, when you’re not even going to wait for the ink to dry before bringing in amendments, let alone ones so… how to put this politely?.. constitutionally questionable as this.

Of course, it’s Canada’s business, not mine, what rules they make and how they enforce them.

But this decision seems… ludicrous on its face. A civil service employee has a job to do, and that job includes excuting his duties under the law as regards solemnizing marriages. If he finds certain marriages too offensive to perform, he has a perfect remedy: find another job. But as long as he’s taking a paycheck from the government, and being asked to do something perfectly legal, he should shut up and do it.

To sanction this sort of nonsense is… well… nonsense.

Right. Just like how Catholic civic officials don’t have to handle divorces or give marriage licences to divorced couples; or Wahhabi ones don’t have to give women drivers’ licences.


When I heard this on the radio yesterday, I thought it had to be a joke. Since when do we afford people the option to exercise their religious beliefs on OTHER people’s lifes?

Canada has gone insane over this gay marriage debate, and in particular Alberta. Where I live, they said that people are calling their local politicos to complain about gay marriage. Ralph Klein has said, while he doesn’t believe there is much we can do if the law is passed, he urges people to fight the decision before it is made. One province official (no cite, heard it in passing on the radio) said a protest of the new policy may include the refusal to grant marriage licenses at all in Alberta.

Get a grip folks. How in the world does the fact that Steve and Joe down the street want to get married affect your life in any way?

I just don’t get it.

  • Rebekkah

To add to my roommate’s complaint, I just have to say this:

I came to political consciousness in the age of the worst, most brutal government cutbacks at the federal level. I watched first Mulroney, then the Chrétien-Martin tagteam gut all the necessary programs in favour of their goddamn religion of Chicago School economics.

They chopped Medicare until sick people are lying in corridors, and people turned away from emergency rooms! They cancelled AIDS programs. They reduced transfer payments until the provinces sliced their welfare programs to the bone. The number of homeless in Toronto tripled in the 90s while the percentage doubled in Montreal.

They let the banks merge and screw over the public, while the one-two punch of the GST and reductions in income tax shifted the tax burden to the poor. And Bank of Canada president John Crow’s obsession with inflation brought about a death of the Canadian economy that left us with a legacy of massive unemployment.

The one thing that allowed me to keep my sanity during the Age of Nightmare that the Mulroney/Chrétien/Martin years constitute – during which I was almost homeless once, and on welfare for about two years, and during which I accumulated $14,000 in student loans while a friend in Germany got to go to school for free – is the realization that most politicians in most parties are evil – rotten to their cores, prepared to burn their own grandmothers at the stake to boost their percentages by one or two points.

And now they’re willing to take stands?

A couple of papers are rporting that some cabinet ministers may quit rather than be forced to vote for same-sex marriage. The Liberal party, of course, will be allowing a free vote, because they know that some of their party will turn against them otherwise. These people, many of them the same drones who rubber-stamped all of Chrétien’s bad policies, are suddenly people of principle.

And now this latest cave-in, because Cotler, Martin, et al are frightened that the bureaucracy – which played Nazgul to Mulroney’s-and-Chrétien’s Sauron and implemented all the evil policies those two brought in – might revolt if, Goddess forbid, two guys might want to get married and register their china patterns at the Bay.

I am sick – it wrenches my stomach – that my right to equality suddenly arouses “Christian moral sentiment” when 20 years of cruelty towards the poor and the sick do not. I am disgusted that it could be considered “principled” to make me a second-class citizen, but not to take a stand on a real moral issue – making sure that the sick have medical care, and the hungry have food and a roof over their heads.

Does Canada allow preists and ministers to legally marry people like they do in the U.S.? If they do is there a person at the local government that can marry them?

Yep, religious officials are allowed to perform marriages, and are specifically exempt from having to perform any marriage they don’t want to.

What’s up for debate here is whether secular government marriage commissioners should have the right to refuse government services to people, based on their personal religious beliefs.

I had such high hopes that Paul Martin and the rest of the government would manage to not screw this up completely. Silly me, I guess.

Yeah, it did seem too good to be true. le sigh

Damn it. And my friends wonder why I’m so politically cynical.

These guys sound pretty good, actually, as far as politicians go:

Government cutbacks
Reduced transfer payments
Reductions in income tax
Fighting inflation

What’s not to like? :wink:

Jeez, you got to go on welfare? I was told, when I was unemployed, had burned my savings to the ground, and was out of money and trying to live in Bob Rae’s Ontario, that I was a white male, and as such, I should use my “White Male Old Boy” network instead of the general welfare net that I always thought was available to all Ontarians. (Stupid me, I should have learned that an NDP government doesn’t allow such things to us whitefolks.) Guess I didn’t qualify, y’know, being an English-speaking white male born in Ontario and all. Not speaking Quebec French didn’t help either, probably, though I proved to the government that I am perfectly fluent in Parisian.

Am I bitter? You bet. But let’s deal with the OP.

For once, matt, you and I are on the same side. Clergy should be allowed to decide which marriages they will allow, and which they will not. When I was a student, I had a job as a janitor at a beautiful old Toronto protestant church. The minister there refused to perform a number of marriages–mostly because the participants weren’t regular congregants at that church. His refusal had nothing at all to do with gay marriage; it was simply because if the couple had had nothing to do with that church–except for enjoying the architecture and the stained-glass windows that they saw as they drove by on Yonge Street–then that church wanted nothing to do with them.

Now, are you going to tell the minister that he can reject man-woman marriages because they like the windows, but must solemnize gay marriages for any reason? This just doesn’t sound right to me.

For the record, I don’t give a hoot about gay marriage. I don’t feel that it diminishes my own marriage in any way, nor do I find (among the gay couples I know, anyway) that there is any hint of anything but a loving union. Gays getting married? Whoopee. Tell me something earth-shaking.

Did he give them the option of becoming members or offer to perform their marriage conditionally on them attending regularly and contributing with time or money? Or did he actually say that “the church wanted nothing to do with them”? That doesn’t really sound like the kind of building that was built to the glory of a guy who hung out with whores and lepers.

Nope, nobody is, especially not the OP. But we are going to tell government agents that they have to follow the law when performing their jobs. It’s that whole SOCAS thing we got goin’ on.

He did, actually. One or two couples did take him up on it, and became regular congregants. (And I believe they really did get married there.) But apparently, most just wanted to get married in an old building with pretty windows.

It’s important to understand that it wasn’t just the minister who decided on who could get married there–it was the Session (a ruling body of Elders). Most times, the Session would back the minister in his decision to marry a couple or not, but a few times, the Session ruled against the Minister. Gays, here is some advice: don’t just lobby the Ministers, lobby the Session also.

Fine, and I have no problem with City Hall officials having to perform gay marriages. (Nor do I have a problem with ministers, priests, imams, and rabbis performing gay marriages if they have been asked and if they feel the couple truly loves one another.) But what worries me is when a minister (and so on) is forced to, by law to perform a gay marriage. Especially when he or she can refuse to marry a couple for other reasons. That’s not a good situation, IMHO.

Hey, if Rev. Smith at Applewood United Church will marry you in his church with all pomp and pagentry, why should it make any difference if Rev. Brown at Berry Cove Presbyterian won’t?

Yeah, that would be a bad thing if it were constitutionally possible, or even contemplated by anyone involved in legalizing same-sex marriage.

The point is, that is a complete non-sequitur in this thread. We haven’t been discussing that at all. I’m not trying to chap your ass [sub]and I bet it’s a very nice ass, wouldn’t want to ruin it[/sub], but when you post something like this in the thread, it looks like you’re trying to start an argument.

No one (around here, anyway) wants to force the Catholic Church, Orthodox Rabbis, Southern Baptists, or any other church whose official position it is to condemn same-sex unions, to perform those unions against their will. That position is ridiculous and unethical. When you try to associate such a position with people who are fighting for marriage rights for same-sex couples, you are building a strawman, whether you intend to or not.

It’s a no-brainer that a religious official, whose very livelihood is living out the convictions of their conscience, should be forced to do things that go against what they believe has been revealed by a Supreme Being.
But it’s also a no-brainer that if you are in a secular position, you obey secular laws. Render onto Caesar that which is his.

I don’t mean to be a bitch, and it’s entirely possible that I am being over-protective of the image of the SSM movement. As a lesbian in a long-term, monogamous relationship, I certainly have a dog in this fight. I am taking your comments in good faith, but IMVHO it’s important to stress to the “Straights” what the movement is about, and what it’s not about is infrigeing on Father O’Malley’s right to tell Adam and Steve that they are not welcome to have their sinful homersexual union celebrated at St.-Peter-In-Chains Cathedral.

sigh “That no religious official…”

Note to self: when not even previewing helps eliminate errors, it’s time to stop posting. Go to bed already.

Leaving aside your other rather massive examples of hyperbole, if the Canadian economy DIED, why’s it still around?

I mean, the unemployment rate in the late 80’s really wasn’t unusually high by historical standards. The unemployment rate was as high in the years before Mulroney took office than it was in any year since. Look it up. Poverty rates remained essentially static, and were higher the year before Mulroney took over than in any full year of his administration. Cite. Poverty in the last 20-25 years is a fraction of what the country has historically expereinced. It simply defies fact to claim that Canada has become some sort of social wasteland; it’s just not true, and I’m not exactly sure how the government veering towards bankruptcy would make things better. Not that everything’s perfect, but going broke certainly would not have helped matters.

Anyway, hijack over. There’s nothing more to be said on gay marriage that hasn’t been said a thousand times. Those opposed to it will eventually die off. I don’t see any way to convince the hardcore jerks.

Thanks for clearing that up. I must say that I am somewhat relieved that this is the point-of-view of yourself and of the SSM.

And I apologize if I sounded if I was trying to start an argument on this issue. That wasn’t my intent, but rereading my comments, I can see where they might have seemed argumentative. Again, sorry about that.

Hey, it works for me! Thanks also for making me smile. :slight_smile: