Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Amazon Proposition

I have been watching the ongoing saga of the Proposition 8 in California. The surprise was not necessarily that the Proposition 8 was defeated but rather the fall-out bullying by the electoral minority largely has been.

During Canada’s own ‘gay marriage’ debate I proposed that the government of the day and the opposition was going about this issue all wrong. What the government should have proposed was a reform of marriage laws whereby civil partnerships were the rule of law in the land and leave ‘marriage’ strictly in the realm of religious institutions.

Quite frankly, in this way we don’t get bogged down in moral murkiness of the state attempting to define a one size fits all solution which compromises both secular and religious institutions. Eventually, the day will come in Canada when we will see religious institutions which define marriage according to tenants of their faith sued in secular civil courts for discrimination. It hasn’t happened yet, but given enough time, and it will be. I have no idea how the Supreme Court of Canada will rule but I am not optimistic that freedom of religion and conscience will trump equality rights. Besides, with civil partnership agreements as the norm; it also allows anyone to form any kind of ‘partnership’ with anyone else.

I understand completely the desire of Lesbians and Gays to have their partnerships recognized by the state. Besides, property, inheritance, divorce, custody and health benefits/rights which are extended and entrenched by state recognized ‘marriages’, there is also the question of taxes. But let’s take it a step further, why shouldn’t consenting adults be allowed to make any manner of arrangements for their living conditions? For example, what about the case of two elderly people, whether related or not, with limited resources, who decide that forming a civil partnership agreement would raise their standard of living? I do not believe the state should be making laws which would hinder their ability to ensure a private comfortable standard of living by merging resources. Go ahead, take your best shot but I really cannot think of one compelling case whereby the state should stand in their way.

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