Homosexual people want the right to be able to register their relationships as a marriage. The issue of same-sex marriages has been prominent in the courtrooms and in the media. There have been hundreds of court dates around the world to try and settle the issue. Homosexuals have been in an uproar over the right to be married. The Angus Reid Group polled 1,500 Ontario residents in May of 1999, 59% of those with university degrees were in favour of homosexual marriages, compared to only 38% of those who had not completed high school. They call on the government to recognise the issue, based on the Charter of Rights, which states that no one should be discriminated against. The government, religious sects, heterosexuals and homosexuals all have different views on how this issue should be handled. Canada needs to come to an agreement and stop this discrimination.
In September of 2000 the Netherlands passed a law that gave same-sex couples the right to be married, with all the same benefits an opposite-sex couple receives. The Dutch were the first people to be allowed this. The Canadian government is at this time debating over the issue. Parliament is split. On September 16, 2002, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that same-sex marriages should not be recognised because the point of a marriage is to procreate and homosexuals cannot procreate together. This view was appealed and in British Columbia, on May 01 2003 the judge ruled that the current law on marriage needed to be changed. She gave the government until July to revise the laws. After the July 12 2004 there will be no law against these marriages. Same-sex couples plan to get married at the stroke of midnight that day, many having waited for over fifteen years.
Parliament was arguing the point before this ruling, and must look more closely at it now. Some government officials believe this problem should be put on the back burner, homelessness needing to be addressed first. Others believe all issues should be addressed equally. “That would be like saying we can’t give women the vote until we eliminate unemployment,” stated Scott Brison, a Tory. [ Fraser, Graham, National affairs writer, Toronto Star, Mar. 24, 2003. ] The government has four possible decisions at this point. The first one is to leave the definition of marriage as it is, making it so homosexuals cannot marry. The second would be to allow same-sex couples to be married according to the present marriage laws. The next two rulings deal with civil unions, which would allow same-sex couples to register for ‘marriage’ in a civil way, not involving religion. The first of this type of option is they would co-exist with marriage. The second would be there would be one registry for all couples with the federal government, and religious ceremonies would have nothing to do with it. [Maccallum, Heather, The Daily Gleaner, March 31 2003]
Some politicians believe marriage should be a religious thing, and same-sex marriages go against religion. The largest religious group in Canada is Christian, and they are taught homosexuality is a sin. The Bible has been the major reason for not allowing same-sex marriages. This is due to Biblical passages such as Leviticus 18:22 "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Leviticus also condemns many other things that modern Christians do, including eating shellfish, wearing fabrics made from two different fibres (e.g., wool/cotton blends), and planting two crops in a single field. [Christian Views on Homosexuality, Wikipedia, Mar 2003, http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_of_homosexuality]
Many churches try to get rid of any homosexual patrons, but there are still many gays who follow Christianity.
Despite Leviticus, there is evidence that the early Christian Church was not against homosexuality. The early Christians were mostly made up of the Romans. The Romans, like the Greeks, were open about sexuality. Male homosexuality was not uncommon during that time. A Kiev art museum contains an icon from St. Catherine's monastery on Mt. Sinai. It shows two robed Christian saints. Between them is a traditional Roman pronubus (best man) overseeing what in a standard Roman icon would be the wedding of a husband and wife. In the icon, Christ is the pronubus. The only unusual thing is the "husband and wife" are in fact two men. These men are St. Serge and St. Bacchus, two Roman soldiers who became Christian martyrs. These two men were described in the definitive 10th century Greek account of their lives. St. Serge was openly described as the "sweet companion and lover" of St. Bacchus. [Boswell, John, Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe, 1994 ] For most modern Christians the idea that homosexuality would be accepted in such a manner seems incredible.
Yale history professor John Boswell searched for twelve years in Catholic and Orthodox church archives and discovered a type of Christian homosexual "marriage" that existed as late as the 18th century. He found that in addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies there were ceremonies called, among other titles, the "Office of Same Sex Union" (10th and 11th century Greek) or the "Order for Uniting Two Men" (11th and 12th century). During these ceremonies a community gathered in a church, there was a blessing of the couple before the altar, their right hands were joined just as at heterosexual marriage, the priest was present, and there was a wedding banquet afterwards. All of these are shown in contemporary drawings of the same sex union of Byzantine Emperor Basil I (867-886) and his companion John. Such homosexual unions also took place in Ireland in the late 12th / early 13th century, as a chronicler Gerald of Wales recorded. While homosexuality was technically illegal from the late Roman times, it was only from about the 14th century that anti-homosexual feelings swept Western Europe. [Young,Robin Darling, Gay Marriage: Reimagining Church History, http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9411/articles/darling.html]
Many Christians feel uncomfortable at the thought that a priest would have to perform a marriage that’s against their religion. Christianity largely influences our laws and moral views, but with this religious history it gives us another reason to rethink why homosexuality is considered wrong.
Though religion influences a large part of our society, there are other parts not necessarily influenced by it that need to be looked at. There are heterosexuals who believe that by granting homosexuals marriage they are being given ‘special’ rights. By having ‘Pride Parades’ they are separating themselves from other people, and are hypocrites to ask to be like everyone else.
Some are worried over the idea that once granted marriage, same-sex couples would want to adopt a child. Many people believe a child raised in a homosexual household would not receive the needed “mother and father” situation. They believe a child will not develop properly, and would become a homosexual themselves. The other thought is that a child with same-sex parents would spend their years being ridiculed for it. Some are worried a child would end up scarred mentally. [Bailey, J. Michael. Sexual Orientation of Adult Sons of Gay Fathers. Developmental Psychology. 1995, Vol. 31, No. 1, 124-129]
There has been no evidence that any of the above would happen. Many children brought up in a same-sex household are perfectly normal. Jamie Lee Curtis was raised in a lesbian home, and is not a lesbian herself. However, due to the current issues against homosexuals, those who are homosexual or raised by homosexuals are reluctant to say so. Again, the Netherlands has been the first to allow adoption to same-sex couples. Though children are a logical next step after marriage, same-sex couples are going one step at a time.
Time will tell how are society will change, or if it will. We have to change to go along with the times. We are a country who prides itself on being open and not discriminating toward other cultures and ethnic groups. Canada should stop being discriminatory toward people who live different, healthy lifestyles. “We are not out to destroy religion, we just want the same rights,” said Wayne Toole, a gay man from Moncton. Same-sex couples only want what is given to the rest of the country. They want the pension and life insurance of a spouse when they die, they want the tax breaks and they want to be able to openly show their love for each other without living “in sin”. The government has been given an ultimatum, and should live up to expectations. The world is changing and Canada should be near the head of the line.