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Canadian conservatives' pyrrhic victory?

Thu 26 Jan 2006 In: Comment

Canada has just elected a Conservative minority government, endangering the possible hidden agenda of stealth antigay social conservatives. Will any incoming Conservative minority government be able to ban same-sex marriage? Perhaps not. EGALE, Canada's LGBT rights lobby group, monitored the election campaigns and results, and compiled a list of an estimated thirty-four hardcore social conservative Tory stealth candidates. Of these, only ten were elected on Monday. It may be possible that the Liberal Opposition, New Democrats, Bloc Quebecois and mainstream Tories may be able to block measures against same-sex marital equality. Most Canadians were relieved when Paul Martin's outgoing Liberals finally settled the same-sex marriage issue through amendment to the Marriage Act, after a string of positive provincial Supreme Court verdicts, relationship law amendments and other preparations for full spousal equality. Two thirds of the electorate say they're satisfied with the outcome, and would not be happy if it were reopened. The Liberals were defeated on the basis of incumbency fatigue after thirteen years in office, as well as endemic corruption scandals, and the Conservatives were not elected on a broad mandate for social conservatism. There are three recommended LGBT volumes on the issues of same-sex marriage and relationship recognition that specifically focus on Canada. Kathleen Lahey, Joe Varnell and Kevin Bourassa focus on the personal reactions of participants in the earlier process of litigation for same-sex marriage, while Didi Herman dealt with the background of Canadian litigation for relationship recognition across the provinces and federal government beforehand. Lahey and others also contributed to an international volume on the issue. Canadian conservative Christians could only muster one volume in response. This may suggest the craven dependency of the Canadian Christian Right as a satellite movement, especially given that Focus on the Family Canada, one of the primary antigay protagonists, is an outpost of the predatory US Christian Right multinational, Focus on the Family, based in Colorado. The aforementioned volume recited the usual canards about twelfth century 'natural law' justifications for discriminatory marriage laws, made claims based on selective 'research' about the benefits of heterosexual marriage, attacked the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as an open-ended written constitution, and worried about the ongoing progress of Canadian LGBT adoption reforms. Unbelievably, McGill-Queen University Press, a mainstream academic imprint, was responsible for the above effort, much to the horror of middle of the road academics and students of the institutions involved. As the Tories don't have an absolute majority, it appears that conditional change will occur. The Tories may be able to embark on particular consensus social and econonic policies, but their minority government status may doom any further ambitions to attack abortion and LGBT rights. Recommended: Kathleen Lahey: Same Sex Marriage: The Personal and Political: Toronto: Insomniac Press: 2004. Joe Varnell and Kevin Bourassa: Just Married: Gay Marriage and the Expansion of Human Rights: Madison: University of Wisconsin Press: 2002. Didi Herman: Rights of Passage: Struggles for Lesbian and Gay Legal Equality: Toronto: University of Toronto Press: 1994. [Excellent backgrounder] Mads Andanaes and Robert Wintemute (ed) Legal Recognition of Same Sex Partnerships: Oxford: Hart: 2001. [Still the best international guide to lesbian/gay relationship reform] Not Recommended: Daniel Cere and Douglas Farrow: Divorcing Marriage: Unravelling the Dangers in Canada's New Social Experiment: McGill-Queens University Press: 2005. [And why does the University of Waikato have a library copy of this...???] Websites: EGALE, Canada's LGBT lobby group Canadian chain of LGBT newspapers Lifesite- Canadian antigay/antiabortion website Focus on the Family Canada- satellite of predatory US Christian Right multinational Canadian newspaper of note. Craig Young - 26th January 2006    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Thursday, 26th January 2006 - 12:00pm

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