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Listening to anti-marriage nonsense

Credit: Capital Xtra files

Chester. How I love him.

It’s the small things… his thick pelt, his nestling against my chest contentedly when we snuggle in bed, his head crocked to one side as if he is listening attentively to every word I say.

Chester is such a masculine name. It conjures up images in my libido of denim-clad men with hot pistols by their hips, the tilt of their cowboy boots thrusting groins forward as they patrol wooden sidewalks with their trigger-happy fingers twitching at their studly, indigo sides.

It’s all so exciting, so fulfilling. I never guessed romance of this sort could exist. And where will all the heavy petting we engage in lead to? Marriage?

To paraphrase the master of ceremonies in Cabaret: “If only you could see him through my eyes, you wouldn’t realize at all. He’s a cat.”

This is the scenario many of the opponents to the same-sex marriage issue suggest is the future. Legalize marriage between gays and between lesbians and, next, the courts will be inundated with requests to legalize marriages to pets, which would quickly be followed by unions between grandparents and grandchildren. The one thing they are ever so sure of is that all this will be the undoing of the family and society.

Over the summer, as I listened to the debates on the radio and read letters to the editor in the papers, the more specious countervailing positions reminded me of comedian Gracie Allen whom I listened to as a child. Gracie, you see, had perfected the use of non-sequiturs in her repartee with George Burns.

I began to sympathize with befuddled George, having that same confused and confounded look on my face as he did. I just couldn’t follow the logic in the arguments the anti-marriage disputants put forward.

One thing was sure – Gracie’s intent was to be funny. And she could certainly be more insightful than the fundamentalists we are hearing from these days.

At least it was amusing to see them try to skate around the issue of homophobia.

No, they were quick to underline, they are not anti-gay. Conveniently forgetting that their names are all too familiar as consistent and constant signatories to the public discourse on the evils of homosexual intercourse. They pleaded that the word “marriage” is sacred and has been eternally defined as being between a man and a woman.

They suggested that if marriage were called by any other name – civil union, partnership – it would be acceptable. But dollars to doughnuts, if it were designated by any term, they would still fill newspaper columns and the airwaves with criticism of the terminology.

Most ironic was the sudden unification of Canadian Christendom, led by the Vatican, which had, only a short while ago in countless countries through the world, wrapped itself in a code of protective silence on the issue of sexual and physical abuse by religious leaders.

Now, of course, there will be no silence. Instead, there will be railing from the pulpits and threatening politicians and the faithful with eternal damnation should Canada choose human rights over spurious dogma. But then the church has a long history of denouncing new ideas and persecuting those who propose them, for example, the contention that the sun is the centre of the universe.

What odd bedfellows the religiously oriented of all faiths make now that they are professedly “unified” in this cause. Previously, diverging interpretations of sacred word have kept them apart.

But now, they are all singing from the same hymnbook even though one, the Muslim faith, in some other countries, practices a type of marriage that should draw equal censure from Judaic-Christian adherents. But oh, I suppose that is the right of those countries where polygamy is acceptable. Meanwhile, the Pope has decreed that politicians here must adhere to rules issued from Rome.

But what is definitely not funny, what is actually worrisome, is where all this carefully worded vehemence could lead: to deeper hatred for gays and lesbians.

Canada is a tolerant country, but how deep does it go? Is it really a cover for our well-known politeness, our wish to avoid confrontation? Could it result in a turning back of the advances our community has justifiably made?

Shouldn’t human rights, which work to protect and include every individual in society, regardless of sex, race, religion or sexual orientation, take precedence over texts which were written over 2,000 years ago?

Despite what the religious right professes, the holy texts, in which they so fervently believe, have been continuously reinterpreted through the centuries, more often than not by founders and leaders of the different faiths.

Should Canadians not be accorded the same right to redefine and broaden long-held customs, and to practice them in a way that truly reflects the social diversity of our country?