Selection Of Your Comments
August 1, 2003
Hi Kevin and Joe, It was great to see you at the Parade in Halifax. I hope you enjoyed it.
I really liked your two recent pieces on the spiritual abuse by the catholic church and the attempt by the vatican to blackmail politicians. My partner Ron and I can certainly relate to these issues. These hateful attacks revive the pains we endured as gay youngsters growing up in a homophobic catholic environment.
The thing that actually is "a serious depravity", "intrinsically disordered", "objectively disordered", "gravely immoral", "a deviant behaviour”, and a real “violence” done to children, is to submit them, especially gay children, to the teaching of the catholic church on sexual morality.
We are planning to voice our disgust by writing to the local archbishop and to the CCCB. We were also wondering if there is any collective protest (petition, picketing...) being organized to respond to these public insults. Here is a question for your friends who are lawyers. Couldn’t some of these derogatory comments and accusations, made in a public document, constitute defamation? We doubt they would get away with similar declarations on ethnic issues, even by claiming it is their religious belief.
Good job on your website; it has been our main resource to keep informed of the new developments.
Lawyer Douglas Elliott responds: "When you make false statements about a large group, it is not defamation. The group must be small or well defined to except it from the normal rule that defamation is against an individual's reputation: Elliott v CBC. "
As for a "collective protest", we recommend that Catholics withold tithes and offerings to their church until the Vatican and the Canadian Catholic Bishops stop there hate campaign against same-sex marriage. We anticipate further responses to the Bishops of bigotry.
August 1, 2003
Hurrah for the pope because (you might be surprised) his stand on same sex marriage is like Galileo's story .... he was excommunicated because he discovered that the earth rotated around the sun ( and not vice versa).
The pope's stand needs to be welcomed because it represents one step further in separating religions (man made rules ... like the present pope) and spirituality.
Comments from the pope related to same sex marriages will encourage people to stop behaving like children (normal fear of the church) and step forward to the universal (not controlled by men) spiritual laws.
Let's all march forward and celebrate the opportunity to move forward.
August 3, 2003
"Otherwise the laws that govern our lives would be at the whim of politicians who pander for votes, and our Charter would be a meaningless piece of paper, empty words without any authority."
While, I agree with the aim of protecting minority rights and of same sex marriage, I take issue with the implication that all politicians in positions of power "pander" for votes. It is a slight to those people who take time out of their lives to represent the people through elected office. Given the country and provinces are ultimately run by these politicians and the politicians appoint the justices, if our political leaders really were nothing but panderers, judicial protection would only exist in theory but not in practice.
While some politicians may simply pander, many do not merely govern by public opinion poll but give serious thought to the public policies of this country. The courts have pushed the country and public opinion for the better to protect rights since the Charter but we must not forget that if the country and the government disagree strongly enough, then these protections will not stand. In Canada, the notwithstanding clause guarantees this while in the US, anti-terror and "creative" legal opinions work against the rights, including the rights of gays to serve in the military. It does, however, look like the public will come around in the US and thus eventually the government and judiciary will follow.
To say that politicians operate on a whim and pander to voters belies the challenges in getting into office and the thoughtfulness of many of our politicians. I must admit, I am working on a political campaign now and I do not think that decisions are taken on a whim; some governments make poor decisions and/or for the wrong reasons but the best defence is a public who will not accept such and a strong deliberative democracy.
So, while I think the Charter has pushed the country in the right direction, I worry about the loss of respect for elected politicians and the aiming of limited resources into convincing the courts instead of trying to change the attitudes of the public. The statement also belies the fact that the laws that govern us are made by politicians and even if they are found unconstitutional, some unfortunate individual had to spend years fighting it and undoubtedly many others were hurt by it.
Hopefully, by being involved in a political party, I can do something to support positive change before forced to by the courts and websites like yours, I hope, can also reach the public and increase support by changing attitudes among the public. One attitude I hope not to see, though, is that of politicians who simply want power and a need to have a court to protect people against their own representatives as a matter of course rather then in exceptional cases.
We did not slight all politicians - only those who pander for votes, which is why we qualified the statement by writing "politicians who pander". There remains, of course politicians who don't pander.
August 5, 2003
I am a gay male living in Toronto and support same sex marriages. When the government puts this to a vote in the fall.... god forbid, but if it doesn't pass, what happens to all of those that to date have already been married? Does anyone know the answer?
Great web site by the way. I plan on writing various letters as you recommend on your site to show my support!
See our response to the next letter.
August 5, 2003
I'm writing because I'm concerned with the latest poll that says Liberals are shifting there votes on us. I've been writing letters to all of Ontario's MP. I've called the MP representing my area. I've been reading a lot of the documents on this site. The Courts has voted in favour for us...but what happens if this fall the Same-Sex Marriage Bill doesn't pass the house of Commons? Do we have to go through all this again? I'm single...right now and I would like to think I CAN get married in the future.
From a legal point-of-view,
marriage is unstoppable. Thanks to the Canadian Charter, our
protection from discrimination is guaranteed. The only thing that could
stop same-sex marriage from spreading across this country is if federal
politicians decided to invoke the Charter's notwithstanding clause.
The current and future Prime Ministers have already said they will not
let this happen. But we still need to apply pressure on our politicians
to adhere to the principles of equality, and defend this country from
becoming a theocracy ruled by the Vatican and others who embrace bigotry.
Although we have won in the court of law, we still need to win in the
court of public opinion. Please
write to the Prime Minister, the Justice Minister and local Members
of Parliament to express your support for equal marriage.
August 6, 2003
Thank you for setting up this great web site and developing a newsletter that can be sent out to anyone that requests it. Your site has been a great help to my partner and I. We have planned to have our marriage in April 2004 but with the Federal Government allowing a free vote on same sex marriages we are afraid of the worst thing happening and what to marry in the next few months. I would love to send letters to anyone I can, by fax, snail mail, email, but I have a hard time gathering my thoughts and desires to put them on paper. If you could post a "example letter" online that we could copy from and add to that would be a GREAT help to us. Also, is it possible to make a deposit to any Financial Institution for the Equal Marriage Fund instead of using Paypal or mailing in the donation? Just wondering. Keep up the Great work! You have our support and others around us. Best Wishes,
Brad & Gord
August 6, 2003
After reading this story about the Catholic Church I would like to let you know what I did. I am a woman from the Netherlands, the FIRST country who allowed the same-sex marriages. I am very proud of my little Holland, that is so liberal. I married my American woman in June 2002. I am VERY active in making people aware of the discrimination here in America. I also feel very excluded here. I had to go through all these difficulties because my partner cannot sponsor me as her spouse. But anyway, the reason I am writing is that I am in the middle of the process to resign from the Catholic Church. I called the Bishop in the Netherlands and had a long discussion with his secretary. He finally said that the church doesn't really care about your lifestyle but just doesn't want to allow you to get married in the church. For me this means that I am not accepted for who I am....so I want out! They cannot count me as one of their Catholic numbers. It's easier to let it be and not do this, but you have to make a stand....even if it is only one soul.
Good work Canada! I'm happy that Canada is moving toward joining the Netherlands and Belgium in recognizing same-sex marriages.
Thank you for sharing a part of your story with us. We're sorry that you have felt unwelcome in your Catholic faith. We hope, in the future, you will find a welcoming spiritual place. And we wish you happiness with your spouse in America, where there is still much work to be done. We stand in solidarity with you.
August 7, 2003
I remember when I first came out in Portugal my ex- at the time current said that she had seen the pendalum swing just too many times in Europe. There are always periods of liberalism, and then there is a back swing in which atrocities happen. She saw it in the seventies with the change from a dictatorship rule. During Salazar, gays were being imprisoned with political prisoners, had their headsd shaved for easy identification, and battered by whoever on release. The pendalum swings back and forth. Each time that there is a push towards acceptance, and people believe that they have made strides, they end up caught in some major move backwards that they really were not expecting.
Thank you for sharing your story. It further reminds us that we must always be on guard to protect ourselves from those who hope to push us back.
August 8, 2003
God bless Kevin and Joe:
I am a Roman Catholic writing this letter in support of Gay marriage.
The Catholic Church says that gay marriage encourages “deviant behavior”, yet they remain silent on common law, which according to the Catholic Church, technically encourages fornication and /or adultery (which is technically a “deviant behavior) if one of them or both had been married, since in the Catholic church, there is no divorce [Mark 10:11, 12 ("And he said to them, 'Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another she commits adultery against him'")].
Whenever the church or heterosexuals quote the bible preaching about homosexuality, I quote the above on them, which usually silences them, for either they, or their sons or daughters are most likely guilty of it. They remain quiet on the subject of common law because they already accepted the fact that: They could do nothing about it – most of their Catholic members are guilty of it, and since it is a heterosexual activity, they do not shout it out as sinful and sweep it under the rug.
The Roman Catholic Church will try to take the good side of the heterosexuals who commit adultery or fornication induced by common law (which no one is against) so they can have an ally in pointing out the sins that they are not guilty of: The “gay sins” as they call it, yet forgetting their own. It is human nature to point out the “sins” of others that they know they are not guilty of, and hide their own. Besides, most of these guilty Catholics are church goers and have the potential to keep the Vatican rich with their Sunday offertory money. Money talks.
There was a question that was asked: Why same-sex marriage would bring about such vehemence is hard to understand. None of the various religious denominations is being required to marry anyone they do not wish to marry. The guarantee of freedom of religion in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is not being touched.
When the Roman Catholic Church decided not to sanctify gay marriage, (big surprise), a decision left up to them (and to all other Holy Institutions) by the government, recognizing and honoring the separation of Church and State, they realized that nobody cared about their “sanctification blessing rites”. This lack of attention bothered them so much because it showed another sign of their dwindling grip of power over society and government. Another existing proof that this Church had been, is, and always will be about attention and power.
They decided it was not enough “not to sanctify” it, they had to meddle with government affairs dishonoring the established separation of Church and State, and step over the “more important institution” of gay marriage recognition – which is the people of the Government of Canada, by requiring them to BAN it, as the newspaper headlined it in July of 2003.
The Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in a letter to the Jacques Berthelet, C.S.V., President, Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil and Cardinal M. Ambrozic, Archbishop of Toronto stated that: “redefinition of marriage by including same-sex partners would mean a devaluation of traditional marriage as the basis of the family and as an essential institution for the stability and equilibrium of society” ... “re-definition discriminates against marriage and the family and deprives them of social and legal recognition…”
The Church is very good in making ironic false pretenses of being a martyred victim of discrimination, when they themselves are the assailants of prejudice. They have become so desperate in their attempt to stop the institutionalization of union of two people who love each other but who just happen to be of the same sex, by using unbelievably relatively foul words as “deviant” “and intrinsically evil” when some of the marriages they call holy in the union of the man and woman end up in the tragedy of murder, child abuse and abduction, divorce by reason of infidelity, fornication and adultery (too many cases to be cited).
The Church will always use the name of God to cover up their preaching of hate and prejudice. Unfortunately, this is abuse of power and the victims are the faithful and the condemned. It is an example of “their way or the highway”.
God is everywhere and loves everyone. God is not only in Catholic Churches that the Vatican so desperately wants to brainwash people into thinking so that it can enjoy the indulgence and offertory money.
I used to wonder why Martin Luther left the Church.
Now I know why.
August 9, 2003
Since the Vatican started their witch-hunt against gay and lesbian people two weeks ago we have felt an uneasiness that we've never felt before. It is almost a feeling of dread, wondering what will happen next? Will they be burning gays and lesbians in small communities across Canada? Will we have public hangings of any man who fails to show a proper macho image? Will we see concentration camps once again, where undesirables will be tattooed with the pink triangle, so they can easily be separated from the superior and God-ordained heterosexuals. These comments may appear tongue-in-cheek, however we have watched the Vatican, Gerry Falwell and homophobic MPs stirring the masses into what has become a feeding frenzy against a community that dares steal the term marriage from them. It reminds us of a young woman fighting to maintain her virginity, but knowing in her heart that she is going to lose it.
Everyday that we turn on the TV, or open a newspaper, there's a new poll on whether Canadians support same-sex marriage. Would we ever conduct a poll on whether or not Canadians support blacks having the right to marry? Or a black and white couple being able to tie the knot. Or a 20 year old woman marrying an 80 year old man. Of course not, it's insulting and degrading. Why are these polls taken about us then? We believe that it's because the gay community is the only minority on the face of the earth where it's acceptable to insult and degrade without fear of repercussions. At a time when children are being taunted and bullied in school and the worst word that can be used against other kids is "Faggot," the Catholic Church is ordering their priests to read a written script to their congregants; which almost states that gay and lesbian people are less than human, and must not be allowed to share in the joy of marriage. They need to be forced far back in their closets, never again to see the light of day. These people who dare to speak in the name of Christ are responsible for stirring up hate and violence against others, who are also children of God. We have waited 35 years for the right to marry, we wonder how many divorces have taken place in those 35 years? The decision on whether or not we can, or should marry mustn't depend on the view of heterosexuals. It must depend on our choice, and ours alone.
August 9, 2003
I though you might enjoy this image I added to my website yesterday - Wedding of the year:
August 10, 2003
Religion and politics aside, it has long been the dream of many gay and lesbian Canadians to legally marry the person he or she loves. This dream can now be assured if the Government of Canada makes a wise decision.
I would remind Members of Parliament to listen carefully again to the words of Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, who when accepting her responsibilities as Governor General of this land, said:
The right of marriage for same-sex couples is our dream ... let Canadians be people who ensure that dreams do come true.
August 12, 2003
I am a middle aged, educated lesbian who would very much appreciate having the right to marry my beloved partner. I once had a heterosexual marriage, as did my partner. Today we are both divorced and want to marry each other. I listen to the news, I read the papers, and I am continuously baffled by those who object to same sex marriages. I have heard such supidities as "marriage is an institution sanctioned by the church", that same sex couples being married could "open the door to people marrying siblings, marrying thier pets"...What is everyone so afraid of? If same sex partners marry how in the world will this act of love and commitment threaten the homophobic world of politicians and fundamentalist hate-mongering preachers?
Incidently marriage was never an institution sanctioned by the church until recent years, history indicates that being married in a church is a recent event, marrying for love was also a recent concept (read Gioviani and Luscana). Marriage has traditionally been a legal contract sanctioned by the legal system, for which a marriage liscence is required! And what does marrying the same sex have to do with marrying siblings or family pets? Homophobia appears to be defined, in these cases, as a contagious disease of the ignorant.
Looking at the opposite side of the coin--should gay people protest the right of heterosexuals to marry? All we want is the right to live a civilized life, marry, pay taxes, die- the same things that heterosexual couples take for granted. It appears as though gay couples want the same rights as heterosexual couples- and why not?--we are all human, we are all God's creatures!
August 18, 2003
Re: The petition of Catholic Church goers “against gay marriage”
I witnessed first hand in the Holy Mass sermon for August 17, 2003 that the priest had yet again used the name of Jesus Christ and desperately stretched His words that Jesus was against condoms and same sex unions. He then used half the sermon time to encourage all to sign a petition against gay marriage – again using his clerical power of imposing guilt and fear.
So I want to let the Prime Minister know and the House of Commons and you, my friends that the signatures in the petitions, when they are presented, are not all signed according to their conscience but done because of fear and they saw that everyone was doing it, so they did it too– thence it was more of a “monkey see monkey do” – most I saw did not even read what they were signing. There was a person standing there just asking them to “sign”.
One old woman even told her daughter to “sign for her” seemingly not caring much about the issue – which shows how “genuine” her feelings were. Some of them, I observed, followed their conscience, read the hateful message and deliberately DID NOT sign.
We must be informed that most Catholics will sign anything when coerced enough by the priests in the pulpit especially when they use the words “mortal sin” or “for the sake of their salvation”. I should know. I heard it and lived through it. So the letter of petition that the Catholics will present to the House of Commons and to the Prime Minister eventually should be taken with a grain of salt.
August 19, 2003
The ONMJP fully support GBLT marriage...and wonders if the same homophobe MPs that speak out on our issue are trying to subvert yours as well.
Tim Meehan, acting
Thanks for your support. It is most likely that we share opponents of civil liberties.
August 27, 2003
I think that the gay and lesbian community in this country needs to form a couple of alliances with some [of] the other groups who are fighting for their own respective fundamental rights. Gun owners who are fighting the gun registry are largely a rural population who would benefit greatly from having some urban support. The people who are lobbying for the decriminalzation of canibis are almost always portrayed as the stereotypical "potheads", who basically don't matter in today's society. These folks would benefit a great deal from the support of non-tokers and the rural population. The gay and lesbian community would really come ahead by having a large group heterosexuals ie: all gun owners, and all the canibis activists stand united and say "these people deserve the same fundamental rights as anyone else...let them marry! Basically where I'm going with this is a UNION.
We are all just little pockets of resistance on our own, but together we would make up a much larger segment of the population. If all the gays, lesbians, and canibis consumers aquire an FAC and then refuse to register their weapon, imagine the support for abolishing the gun registry. If all the gun owners and the gays and lesbians stand to support decriminalization, then it doesn't just look like a bunch of potheads who are simply dismissed as being of no importance.
Three things must come to pass in this country:
Shawn & Michelle
August 28, 2003
How is it that marriage is considered to be an institute so sacred that homosexuals are not permitted to enter, when nearly 50% of all hetero marriages in Canada end in divorce?
Shouldn't the Christian heterosexuals take the institute of marriage a little more seriously before they go restricting others from it?
August 30, 2003
Hello Kevin and Joe, I just returned from a relaxing vacation up at our cottage where I read your book, Just Married-Gay Marriage and the Expansion of Human Rights. What an empowering account of your quest to marry!
The two of you are role models, not just for us in the gay community here in Toronto but for people seeking equality everywhere in the world. You both have demonstrated perseverance, goodwill and optimism through what must have been a very challenging period. You transcended above all of the obstacles and emerged as a triumphant, loving, married couple--congratulations!
My partner and I have been together for just over 11 years and I identify with how the two of you relate to one another. Some of your anecdotes in the book (i.e. hinging on Joe's sarcasm) made me laugh out loud only because my partner and I have encountered several of the same relationship 'situations'.
With all of the media hype over same sex marriage currently taking place, I felt it was only right to read your story and to know first hand from two men what this experience truly entails. I thank you for sharing your story with us and wish you both continued love, peace and happiness in your marriage.
With best regards,