In Winnipeg on March 29, Prime Minister Stephen Harper took time to sing a couple of songs with Maria Aragon, the 10-year-old made famous for her YouTube rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” The PM and Aragon sang the Gaga number and John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
It seemed fitting that Xtra call the Prime Minister’s Office to ask if Harper believes that people are born gay, or if he thinks sexual orientation is a choice. Harper’s media spokespeople didn’t respond.
That’s not too surprising. After all, Harper did famously court the evangelical right to earn his first minority government in 2006. Journalist and author Marci McDonald wrote a great piece on Harper’s rise to power and his alliances with social conservatives later that year. It’s called Stephen Harper and the Rise of the Theo-Cons: The Rising Clout of Canada’s Religious Tight. It ran originally in The Walrus, and Xtra republished it later.
It should be noted, though, that Harper must have some tolerance for gay people. His Government House Leader, John Baird, is not only his top stand-in when the PM is out of the House of Commons, but also sometimes escorts Laureen Harper when she needs a date for social events. Baird was outed on CBC radio in Toronto early last year by Pamela Taylor, who was then running in the Toronto-Centre provincial by-election.
Senator Nancy Ruth, who is a lesbian, has assured this reporter that Harper is not homophobic, that he simply considers sexuality to be a “private matter.”