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Equality - In our faiths - Jesusland takes aim at Canada

February 9, 2005

Jesusland takes aim at Canada
American-style attack on freedom won't work here

By Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell

Anyone who thinks that the debate on same-sex marriage is a local one has not been paying attention. The Vatican is the world's leading source of bigotry and hate-mongering towards gays and lesbians and its campaign against equal marriage is waged by local bishops on behalf of the Pope and his Inquisition's chief villain Cardinal Ratzinger.

So it should come as no surprise that Canada's tremendous success at ending discrimination against homosexuals has attracted the attention of groups outside of the country, especially as same-sex marriage is now a reality in most of Canada, with the rest to follow soon. Gay marriage symbolizes the full equality and righteousness of queers, with no "if", "and", or "but". It's driving the opponents of freedom nuts.

The Montreal Gazette reported yesterday that the U.S. headquarters of the Knights of Columbus paid $80,782 to print 2 million postcards to promote discrimination in Canada, through Canadian Catholic parishes enlisted to fight marriage equality. Likewise, the extremist Focus on the Family led by U.S. fundamentalist James Dobson, paid for radio programming on 130 radio stations across Canada. According to the same news report, "it supplies hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in services" helping the Canadian branch attempt, ineffectually, to undermine the progress of same-sex marriage in this country.

"No God I know would willingly segregate an entire segment of the population based solely on sexual orientation ... It's become acceptable to play this game with gays because it isn't fashionable to marginalize any other demographic group... We were supposed to look to our places of worship as havens, to our clergy as guides. Maybe that's still true -- as long as you're not gay. Religion has instead morphed into a weapon. Opponents of same-sex marriage use their self-assigned God-given right to justify discriminating against those who do not meet a rigid definition of who is truly worthy. Their argument has precious little to do with marriage and everything to do with the fact that it represents the last acceptable forum within which some members of our supposedly tolerant society can discriminate.
"Why drag God into same-sex furor", London Free Press, Feb. 9, 2005

As a result, Canada's Justice Minister has said he's looking into the situation. "We don't want the public opinion to get mortgaged to the highest bidder," Irwin Cotler told the Gazzette.

Cotler would do better to explore the tax status of these "Christian" organizations. It's time these organizations are removed from the public trough.

Foreign groups are pouring money into Canada to fight gay marriage because they know that this country's standard of equality and freedom is having an impact on the lower bar set by countries like the United States. That's why the Concerned Women For America has called us "domestic terrorists".

As a process analyst once said, "If your standards are low, up yours!"

But while attacks have come from the U.S., so has support. U.S. citizens have donated to assist us in our work, and we have received awards from California's State Assembly, Equality California, and the U.S. human rights group Canadians involved in same-sex marriage battle honored in Equality Forum's 40th Anniversary of gay and lesbian civil rights movement.Equality Forum. This year, we have been included in a salute to "40 heroes who have made a defining contribution to GLBT civil rights" in the United States over the last 40 years. Our radio public service announcements are played on Air America's 48 radio stations across the U.S. Our web site statistics show that a large percentage of our audience comes from the U.S., and our traffic spikes upwards during important U.S. events, like the San Francisco marriages, or victories like Massachusetts.

We are all in this together, and Canada is playing a leading role in influencing change beyond our borders. That's why former Prime Minister Chretien will be in Philadelphia in Thanks to Marianne Seggerman for sending this in.April to accept Equality Forum's International Role Model Award for his part in ending marriage discrimination.

So no wonder Jesusland is throwing the Bible at us. No problem. We have a great recycling program. We are confident that Canadians will reject American fundamentalism, just as the majority of Canadians reject the policies of George Bush and the U.S. wannabe Stephen Harper. In fact, the more offensive their strategy becomes, the easier it will be to defend our "true north, strong and free" and the better example we will be for the world community and the universal expansion of human rights.

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