I grew up expecting certain rights as a Canadian citizen, but when I came out at 23 in the early 1990’s, I lost a lot of my legal rights.
It was legal to fire me, deny me housing, not promote me and a lot of other things that ither minorities have legal protection against in the form of human rights complaints and non-discrimination laws.
But gays and lesbians were excluded for consideration, and that the obvious lack of protection and need for it, should have been a no-brainer amendment. But religious and discrimination had already lost so many battles against women, ethnicities, less than fully able bodies or mental ability, that the battle to suppress gays and lesbians wasn’t and isn’t ending easily.
Over time and court cases, rights were returned to me one by one from the most basic rights up to equality under the law and ability to engage in marriage.
It’s funny, through the 1990’s all while denying gays and lesbian the ability to common-law (2000) or married (2003/04) – welfare would recognize gay couples because a couple both collecting got less money than 2 single roommates.
The government of Canada, federally and provincially, had it both ways – not recognizing us as individuals or couples when it suited and recognizing us when it disadvantaged us.
So my personal experience has been to live in a secular democratic society where I was legally lesser than other citizens because of my sexuality. Which is why I say that human rights are a legal fiction, with no reality or force in society.
The rights we gays and lesbian have as citizens are dependent on the goodwill of the public and worse, politicians who do the right not the popular things.
With little awareness that the reason there’s anti-discrimination and minority protection is BECAUSE THE MAJORITY CAN’T BE TRUSTED TO BE FAIR.
If we collectively could, there would be no reason to spell out human rights, they would just exist inalienable without question.
If there’s not a more fragile basis for social inclusion, then I don’t know what is.
So having had to fight, court case by court case, person by person and then couple by couple, for each getting closer to the same rights as anyone else – having our employment and housing protected from discrimination, being able to serve in the military and finally, being able to access the same legal protection for our families as any other family.
The fact of the discrimination of gays and lesbians should be an automatic trigger to be includes as a prohibited ground of discrimination – because there is no reason to discriminate against anyone because of their membership in an identifiable group within a population.
It really is that simple.
I have a different perspective on rights and an analysis of individual vs couple vs group vs social rights than anyone who always had the full rights without question.
if you think about it, the people who are against gay marriage should actually be more against atheist marriage but they don’t try to say marriage is religious so atheists and agnostics can’t get married.
Because we do not question that heterosexuals off all creeds and beliefs are entitled to marry – so why should it be a question if anyone can marry the person that they love?
Modern Secular democracy has said, marriage is 2 people, exclusive of others.
With the Individual being the unit of social consequence – and that is the promise of secular democratic nations – then it is the individual who makes the decisions and choices for their lives.
Not families, not tribal or religious elders, not the King of the land and not anyone other than the person who has to make personal soveriegnty decisions.
To be able to do that, one must first be aware of and understand what their legal rights are.
People who are existing in closed religious communities or ghettoized immigrant subcultures are having decisions made for them as a matter of tradition, without any understanding that this is not the basis of Canada or America.
It should be appalling to anyone that in Canada and the US or any secular democratic nation, that there are people being raised with no awareness of their rights just for being citizens, and limited or no participation in the wider society.
Just closed religious communities – in the case of Bountiful, BC – closed means that only the church group populates the town and everyone you see is related and living the same way as you – no mixing, no diversity and no multiculturalism.
You have to understand it from THEIR experience, not assume that what’s normal for you is normal for everyone.
There is no difference between Bountiful and Jonestown.
Both communities are being operated by a man who has control over every aspect of the lives of the community from who gets to be married and get into heaven to who gets re-assigned or excommunicated.
Religious leaders have never responded well to threats against their control of their flocks – and that is the true danger of religion – people handing their personal sovereignty over to another who has very different interests at heart.
If religion can convince you that sex that makes you feel good, even when it’s just you, is bad – then there is nothing that you won’t beleive. It is really that simple.
Marriage being between 2 people in a secular society with multiculturalism, diversity and every citizen knowing their rights and being socially capable in the mainstream society – there’s enough people to go around for everyone to have a chance for pairing up, and no one is double or twentytuple dipping.
Work and play well with others and don’t take more than you need.
How can anyone object to that as words to live by?