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"To me, it is an issue of fundamental human rights. The role of national leaders is to say that you are full members of society."
Sheila Copps, January 15, 2021




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Advocacy News

January 16, 2003

Liberals dance around gay marriage
Doin' the Vatican Rag?

Do whatever steps you want if
You have cleared them with the Pontiff.

(The Vatican Rag, Tom Lehrer, 1965)

As Canada's prime minister, Jean Chretien, ends his time in office, he leaves behind a political party with a damaged human rights record. Progress for LGBT rights under his watch came largely as a result of court orders (and lengthy, costly battles), rather than Liberal initiative and leadership. How can it be that the leader of the Conservative party, is more liberal than the Liberals? The next prime minister is widely expected to be someone deemed even more conservative than our current prime minister. Paul Martin (Lib.) has a group of supporters that Liberal insiders refer to as the God Squad.

This will no doubt please the Vatican. The institution, with a history of crimes against humanity and ongoing abuse, still tells politicians that human rights should be displaced by Vatican dictates (home of Absolute Truth™). Today, the Pope told politicians that they must oppose gay marriage. In a document called "Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life". The document tells our Catholic politicians that they "cannot compromise" in the name of tolerance.

It calls on Canadian politicians to ignore our Charter rights, and impose a church-state in our lives. Specifically targeting same-sex marriage, the document called for laws defining marriage "between a man and a woman ... In no way can other forms of cohabitation be placed on the same level as marriage, nor can they receive legal recognition as such."

The marching orders for politicians, specifically approved by the Pope, were drafted by Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the office formerly known as the Inquisition. Ratzinger became infamous when he wrote the shameful Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons (considered by some to be hate literature).

In Canada, the Catholic Bishops are working on behalf of the Vatican in an effort to restrict the expansion of human rights. They are recruiting married couples to speak out against recognition of homosexual relationships during the parliamentary hearings. They have worked against our rights in court, worried that people will perceive the Vatican as a collection of "nutbars" if the world no longer echoes the Papal view of truth. The Canadian Bishops even lashed out at Canada's governor general, faster than you can say O Henry, when that office responded to our wedding invitation.

Where does Paul Martin stand? After our court victory, media from across the country asked that question. Finally, in August, the Toronto Star reported that he supported the government's appeal of our case.

"I think that what we've now got to do is wait for the higher court and take guidance from them," he said.

Yesterday, a potential rival to Martin, promised to inject gay marriage as an issue in the Liberal leadership race. Sheila Copps promised to use "the pulpit of elected office to push forward full equality for all our citizens" including recognition of gay marriages.

"To me, it is an issue of fundamental human rights. The role of national leaders is to say that you are full members of society."

We welcome Copps' contribution. She has the courage to lead from a disadvantaged position (nothing to lose, some would say), in contrast to the empowered Paul Martin, who seems prepared, like his predessor Chretien, to collaborate in the violation of human rights, as long as the courts will allow, with Rome's blessing. Sheila Copps' call for equality, although headline news in the media, sounds very small and lonely in the caucus called Liberal.

Please write to Paul Martin in support of equal marriage.

Link to our media coverage of related issues.