"Same-sex foes prove to be poor losers"

"For opponents of same-sex marriage, the battle has been lost. But the skirmishes continue.

The Senate will soon pass the bill that extends the right to marriage to same-sex couples. After royal assent, it will become the law of the land.

The religious right, the Catholic Church, Muslims and other faiths fought expansion of the definition of marriage beyond the union of a man a woman. They didn’t care that most courts in Canada had ruled excluding same-sex couples was discriminatory. They fought hard, but they lost.

Canada will be one of four countries in the world to recognize same-sex marriages, a status befitting a country that is widely seen as accepting and inclusive.

Church and social groups that opposed this giant step forward still claim it infringes on religious freedom. But legislators took pains to ensure religious freedom will be protected.

A week ago, Roman Catholic Bishop Ronald Fabbro of London Diocese stripped a Southwestern Ontario MP of his church privileges for comments in the House of Commons while voting in favour of the same-sex legislation. Joe Comartin, the NDP member for Windsor-Tecumseh, is active in his church. He has provided marriage counselling, acted as an altar server and liturgical reader, has administered the Eucharist and he’s been active in church fundraising.

But Comartin crossed the line, according to Fabbro, when he said the following: "One of my visions is that some day my church will allow those couples (in marriage preparation) to not only be heterosexual but also to be homosexual.

In a message he sent to 49 parishes last weekend, Fabbro said Comartin’s statement “may cause confusion and scandal in the minds of some Catholics.”

He suspended Comartin’s parish duties “until (he) has a change of mind with regard to the moral status of homosexual activity.”

Fabbro continued: “I would urge Mr. Comartin, other Catholic politicians and other Catholics who share his views to take the necessary steps to form their consciences correctly on these issues according to the teachings of our church.”

Comartin was not being denied communion, but he was a marked man. A spokesperson for Fabbro said he and Comartin had agreed not to discuss the matter publicly.

Undaunted, Comartin issued a press release in which he said his faith was important to him and Fabbro’s actions had deeply hurt him and his family.

“My recent comments expressed my sincere hope that some day the leadership of the Catholic Church would embrace a fuller sense of inclusion. . . I hope Bishop Fabbro will reconsider his actions.”

On Sunday, Comartin’s pew was vacant in his home church. When the letter from Fabbro was read, about two dozen members of the congregation walked out in protest, one man rather noisily.

Then on Wednesday, Canada’s top Roman Catholic cardinal supported Fabbro’s action during his testimony at a Senate hearing into the bill. Cardinal Marc Ouellet said he agrees Comartin needs to change his mind before he can teach on behalf of the church.

The Comartin episode follows an incident in Timmins in which a Catholic priest refused to give communion to NDP MP Charlie Angus for backing the same-sex legislation.

These two actions highlight the contradictions between a socially conservative church and a socially progressive political party.

And it doesn’t end there. In Prime Minister Paul Martin’s Montreal riding, a priest insisted a while back that Martin should be denied communion and said he was praying Martin loses the next election.

Other outspoken opponents of the inclusive approach to marriage have been Muslims. That’s noteworthy because their community has benefited from Canada’s willingness to accept newcomers – in the name of inclusion.

Khalil Ramal, the MPP for London-Fanshawe, remembers coming to Canada in 1989 from his native Lebanon and being struck by how welcoming and accepting Canadians were. He decided to stay.

Today, the Muslim population in the London region is reported to be about 30,000 and politically they are a growing force. It’s ironic and sad they don’t embrace the same kind of inclusion that was bestowed on them.

We’ll no doubt see more grumblings from others about what will soon become law.

Acceptance has always been difficult for those who do not accept."
by CHIP MARTIN, London Free press, Sat. July 16

I’m so sad for you.

I fear our country may not be long to follow. Logic and truth has no apparent merit in this battle. :banghead:

Alan

Hard to believe Canada used to have testicularity. Given the logic of the pro-homosexual agenda lawmakers in the Canadian legislature and judiciary, it would make sense that marriage be extended to same sex siblings, since the traditional incest taboo was based on damage to offspring of such unholy unions. But there’s no such reason to deny a brother from marrying his brother or a sister marrying her sister though. Why should these poor siblings be discriminated against? Of course, given the logic, it seems unfair to discriminate against polygamists too.

Well, hurrah for Bishop Fabbro and all churchmen who stick to their guns!

:yup:

“The religious right, the Catholic Church, Muslims and other faiths fought expansion of the definition of marriage beyond the union of a man a woman. They didn’t care that most courts in Canada had ruled excluding same-sex couples was discriminatory. They fought hard, but they lost.”

Canada is now ideally situated for NAMBLA to pursue a lawsuit against the exclusion of man-boy marriages as ‘discriminatory.’ Who could argue that excluding them from legal recognition is in fact discriminatory?

[quote=Rosalinda]On Sunday, Comartin’s pew was vacant in his home church.[size=2][/size]
[/quote]

This is the first time I have heard of people ‘having pews’ in a Catholic church. I believe in some orthodox Jewish synagogues, people have their own regular pews.

[quote=Rosalinda]Today, the Muslim population in the London region is reported to be about 30,000 and politically they are a growing force. It’s ironic and sad they don’t embrace the same kind of inclusion that was bestowed on them.
[/quote]

The same kind of inclusion? I am sure they can be called on to offer the same kind of inclusion bestowed on them. What the writer is calling for is a different kind of inclusion. Equivocation.

Another thing is that Bill C-38 also affects the traditional spiritual teachings of the First Nations Peoples of Canada. Nobody is writing any editorials about them. When do we offer them the same kind of inclusion they offered us? In their case, we did not even bother to equivocate. We just stole outright and forged treaties.

Ah, the tree; the fruit.

I am fervently praying that the Queen will show some backbone and refuse to sign this law into existence. I don’t know what Her Majesty’s position is on this issue, but I would hope she is a true follower of Christ who will not let the Canadian left, or anyone else, to push her into signing such an egregiously bad piece of legislation.

I am glad to see at least one Catholic Bishop take a stand up there. I fear it was only a matter of time before their “rejection of Humanae Vitae” came back to haunt them. I will include Canadian Catholics in my prayers in front of the Blessed Sacrament this week. :gopray:

letter to the editor, London Free Press, July 21


Members of faiths must observe tenets
Chip Martin is a veteran reporter for your paper who has a large following and influences opinion while selling papers.

There, I’ve stated the obvious.

Now, from the point of view of a church member who does not belong to the United Church or Anglican Church in Canada, I will state what is equally obvious to Martin: Membership in a faith-based institution such as a church, mosque or tabernacle other than the United Church and Anglican Church (or their fringe variants) requires adherence to the tenets and principles of that faith.

The fact that NDP member Joe Comartin is an active member of his church is irrelevant. He is acting against church doctrine, and in doing so is subject to discipline.

Bishop Ronald Fabbro is to be applauded. By approving of same-sex marriage, Comartin has placed himself in the position of either resigning his seat or quitting his church.

Martin’s comment that Khalil Ramal and the Lebanese community benefited from Canada’s inclusiveness while the Muslim community rejects same-sex marriage and is thus non-inclusive, well, that was a sad little cheap shot on his part.

Martin may want to rethink what inclusion really entails.

John B. Watts

a second letter in today’s Free Press

"MP can’t speak for Catholic Church

Chip Martin’s column, Intolerant same-sex foes prove to be poor losers (July
16), is one-sided.

Martin ignores the fact that MP Joe Comartin freely chooses to be a member of the Catholic Church. As such, he agrees to follow Catholic teaching.

The Catholic Church and the Muslim faith – also mentioned in the article –
are governed by rules like any other society or organization. If Comartin
has a question about or a problem with a rule of his religion, he cannot
speak in any official capacity on behalf of his religion regarding that issue. That does not mean he has to quit his religion, or that he cannot have questions about its teachings, but when speaking publicly he should accurately present what his church teaches.

For fairness’ sake, as well, Martin should write a column about Jack Layton being a “poor winner,” since he stripped the critic’s portfolio from a
member of the NDP caucus who voted against the same-sex marriage bill, which the NDP supported.

What’s good for the goose . . ."

John P. Comiskey

Here is another letter published earlier this week in the Free Press. As you can see the bishop’s actions have drawn a lot of response.

"Columnist sees only one side of story"

Regarding the column, Intolerant same-sex foes prove to be poor losers (July
16):

Chip Martin doesn’t seem to understand that there are consequences for actions. Joe Comuzzi knew that he would suffer for his stand on Bill C-38. Pat O’Brien knew as well. Bev Desjarlais of the NDP lost her post for her stand. There was no criticism by your columnist of any of the discipline received by these MPs.

It seems Martin is only interested in attacking the Catholic church for doing the same thing.

Joe Comartin publicly indicated that he profoundly disagrees with the church on a fundamental moral issue. It seems reasonable to no longer rely on him to teach on this issue on behalf of the church. I wonder what Comartin would do if his spokesperson publicly disagreed with his stated position, and opposed it at every turn. Would he keep him on or fire him?

Martin should remember that freedom of religion is about protecting religious speech and activity from government interference, and not about protecting government from religious influence. Perhaps as well, he should remember that most polls in Canada show that the public does not support this bill, and the ongoing opposition is not about “poor losers” but about a country divided and angry over a major policy initiative foisted on it by the current government."

Lawrence Jardine

Monday, July 18 letter to the editor of the Free Press. This one was nasty.

**Fabbro’s criticism should be consistent
**
"As a Catholic who supports the right of gays and lesbians to civil marriage and indeed the right to some type of sacred union within the Catholic Church as well, I empathize with fellow Catholic and Windsor MP Joe Comartin.

However, I respect the right of Bishop Ronald Fabbro to chastise and restrict the duties of Catholics such as Comartin and me who, in spite of following our consciences, arrive at different conclusions from that of the church.

This said, I would equally expect Fabbro to chastise all those Catholic MPs within his jurisdiction who supported the Iraq war (something the church spoke out against), who have voted against increased foreign aid, who neglect the importance of dealing with the environment, who vote against increased funds for the alleviation of poverty, etc.

Indeed, these are all issues that the church is passionate about – the promotion of peace and caring for the poor and our planet both being themes much more deeply rooted in Catholicism and Christianity than the issue of gay marriage.

Thus, if Fabbro is going to be consistent (and I have no reason to believe that he won’t), he will surely pore over the voting records of all Catholic MPs from Southwestern Ontario and individually chastise each one for any votes against the teachings of the church.

And what if he fails to do so? Could it then be said that the bishop’s decision to single out a single MP on a single issue smacks of partisanship?"

Kyle B. Jackson

This was my strongly worded response to the editor; it was not selected for publicatiion which is fine as long as Catholics are given fair opportunity to defend their bishop.

Letter to the Free Press, Saturday, June 16.

Chip Martin’s characterization of Bishop Fabbro actions as the grumbling of a poor loser was gratuitous insolence. Wayward Catholic MP Joe Comartin has not been formally excommunicated as his public and loquacious support of bill C-38 may well have merited. He has been justifiably corrected.

The Catholic Church is not and does not pretend to be a democracy. The teaching authority of the church starts from the top down. Catholics are called to act in obedience with the laws of God and the church even if it means some discomfort in the public square and ultimately costs them their jobs, if not their heads, as was the case of St. Thomas More in 1535. (An interesting parallel, as the sanctity of marriage was the issue then too.)

On the other hand, Paul Martin, in forcing his ministers to vote against their conscience, acted in violation of his own democratic principles.“Our rights must be eternal, not subject to political whim.” he boldly declared last February. A democracy is supposed to be from the bottom up; whereas the gay movement circumvented the democratic process through the courts on down in order to achieve its ends.

To his credit, the bishop has performed his duty to protect the faithful from false advertising. Mr. Comartin cannot offer his services to the church and during the performance of that service distort the immutability of moral law to suit his personal opinions.

If he wants to preach, let him stand on his own soap box. It is as simple as that.

**Bring civility to same-sex debate**
 HERMAN GOODDEN, London Free Press, 07-22

There’s a question Canadians need to ask themselves at this rather surreal juncture in our social and political history. What does it mean to truly be accepting of people whose philosophy of life is utterly at odds with our own?

  Modern life presents us with no shortage of things to passionately disagree about, so how are we going to coexist without unduly grating on each other's nerves?

  Very often in contemporary society, on all sides of the many

ideological fences that separate us, we seem to wish that those whose views we do not share would just shut up and go away. Is this the best we can do?

  It seems to me that it's imperative the various factions in our culture wars develop some genuine respect for their adversaries; that they truly learn to "agree" to disagree.

  There are two measures that I believe would help to civilize the tone of our great debates. One would be to minimize government coercion whenever a society gets it into its head to make radical and sweeping changes to the law...

Herman Goodden continues:

In much the same way legalized abortion was foisted on the country
without recourse to any sort of popular vote, the government has now altered
Canadian civil law so as to legalize the marriage of two people of the same
sex.

  While I've seen opinion polls that tilt the majority a bit to either side, my hunch is that as conten-tious issues go, same-sex marriage is about as evenly argued and is going to have all the intractability and enduring heat of abortion.

  Certainly the controversy is destined to rage at full throttle until

Canadians are allowed to have their say on the matter, one way or the other.
Psychologically, it’s easier for a dissenting citizen to submit to the
freely expressed will of the people than to the legalistic machinations of a
few rogue judges and opportunistic politicians.

  The Liberal-dominated Senate's approval this week of the same-sex

marriage bill runs against the historic understanding of marriage that has
been in place since the dawn of human civilization. In addition to violating
natural law, same-sex marriage also violates divine law as understood and
upheld by the more orthodox wings of all the world’s religions…

Herman Gooden ends with:

A lot, if not most, of this opposition is religiously based and this touches upon the other measure which I believe could civilize this debate.Believers and non-believers need to examine their prejudices regarding each other. What informs socially progressive Canadians’ attitudes toward their more traditional, religious cousins who simply cannot accept Ottawa’s latest marital innovation as an unalloyed good? Just reading the headline of Chip Martin’s column from last Saturday about Catholic MPs being reprimanded by their church for promoting same-sex marriage, Intolerant same-sex foes prove to be poor losers, is rather instructive in this regard.

The great, unspoken secular conceit behind arguments calling for all churches to butt out of state affairs is that the church is an incorrigibly coercive institution, whereas the state is utterly democratic, taking its cues from the freely expressed will of the people.

Well, as we’ve already noted, same-sex marriage is not the law of the land today because the people have deemed it so. And completely ignored in Martin’s column about tolerance and acceptance is the fact that, owing to the NDP affiliation of both chastised MPs, had either dared speak against same-sex marriage, their leader, Jack Layton, would have had them politically excommunicated. So which side is being intolerant here?

Whether same-sex marriage will still be legalized in Canada 30 years from now, I wouldn’t hazard a guess. But I’m sure we’ll still be arguing about it. And rightly so.

The same-sex marriage question probes our deepest understanding of what it is to be a man or a woman. It’s an argument worth having and as long as it’s going to go on forever, why don’t we do what we can to see that both sides get a fair hearing?

2005-07-23
In praise of those who pay the price


NICOLE LANGLOIS, For the London Free Press

Agree with them or not, those who took a hit to oppose the same-sex bill can hold their heads high.

However long we postpone it, we eventually lie down alone in that notoriously uncomfortable bed, the one we make ourselves. Whether or not we sleep in it depends, of course, on whether or not we respect ourselves. –
Joan Didion, On Self-Respect (1961)

STRATFORD - With this week’s passage of Bill C-38 in the Senate, we in Canada are another step closer to having a society that recognizes the right of same-sex couples to marry. It’s simply an issue of rights, Paul Martin has said – and he’s staked his political future on the hope that Canadians agree with him.

Nicole continues…

By its very nature, our political system gives decision-making power to a small group of individuals who may or may not be personally affected by the laws they help put into place. In the case of Bill C-38, with so few of our MPs being openly gay or lesbian, some of our officials might have wished the issue would just go away.

But as Social Development Minister Ken Dryden said in the Toronto Star just before the June 28 vote in the House, indecision and avoidance are luxuries that politicians don’t have.

“When you are a regular citizen, you have the right not to have a public opinion. You have the right to remain quiet, even to have no private opinion at all . . . As a member of Parliament, I lose that right.”

Like it or not, there was no escaping the personal significance of this vote for every member of our elected government.

Every time a member of Parliament votes in the House of Commons, he or she faces a trio of competing concerns: conscience, constituency demands, and hopes for re-election. Here in Canada, where our party system is more controlling and punitive than in most other democracies, our MPs also face the demands of their party and the fear of disciplinary measures if they don’t toe the party line.

Nicole continues…

(Senators are, of course, free from the worry of re-election or party discipline: Once a senator, always a senator.)

Leading up to the June 28 vote in the House, conscience and constituents seemed to take the upper hand in the minds of some MPs. While I didn’t agree with the position they took, I could only admire the character they showed in taking a stand.

London-Fanshawe MP Pat O’Brien resigned from the Liberal party to vote as an Independent.

“I’ve taken the only course of action I can take and still feel good about myself,” O’Brien said at a news conference when he left the party early in June.

Joe Comuzzi, a Liberal cabinet minister, resigned from his post in order to avoid having to vote in favour of the same-sex marriage bill.

“I’m just concerned about the commitment I made,” said Comuzzi, who was minister for northern Ontario economic development. “I intend to fulfil that obligation to the people that elected me.”

Nicole finishes…

Though a number of Liberal cabinet ministers – including London North Centre MP Joe Fontana – had previously sided against the legal recognition of gay marriage, Comuzzi was the only member of cabinet to resign rather than vote with the party, as cabinet was required to do by Prime Minister Paul Martin.

As this legislation takes effect – and especially as voter reaction to it registers in next spring’s polls – it will be instructive to see how our politicians hold up.

Will they display character, what American essayist Joan Didion called self-respect?

Those with self-respect, wrote Didion, "have the courage of their mistakes. They know the price of things. If they choose to commit adultery, they do not then go running, in an access of bad conscience, to receive absolution from the wronged parties; nor do they complain unduly of the unfairness, the undeserved embarrassment, of being named co-respondent.

“In brief, people with self-respect exhibit a certain toughness, a kind of moral nerve.”

We may be living in a kinder, gentler, more tolerant and compassionate Canada. But courage, nerve, character – self-respect – will always be assets. That will be true of those whom we choose as friends and life partners, and those whom we choose to represent our interests in matters of national importance.

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