Same-Sex Marriage in Canada – A Lesson in Statist History

March 1st, 2006 at 9:10am (Books, Canada, Freedom, Same-sex marriage, Western Civ)

In the excellent book Divorcing Marriage: Unveiling the Dangers in Canada’s New Social Experiment (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2004) edited by Daniel Cere and Douglas Farrow, Canadians are given an opportunity to evaluate the issue of same-sex marriage from an objective and scholarly perspective. Eleven scholars come together in this one volume to offer their analysis from their respective areas of specialization.

Over the course of time I may try to summarise and evaluate the various essays in this book with the hope of disseminating the information they provide as well as offering some thoughts of my own.

Of particular interest to me today is the essay written by one of the editors, Daniel Cere, entitled “War of the Ring.” Cere provides a historical survey of Canadian politics related to same-sex marriage, going back only a few years to 1999 when the federal parliament reaffirmed the traditional definition of marriage. How far we have come in only a few years! Cere catalogues the main events that took place showing how we got to where we are today. I must tell you, it has been a frightening ride, especially for one like myself who is horrified by statism and government interventionism. I enjoy my democratic freedom as a Canadian, and to read the events that gave legal status to same-sex marriage in Canada is nothing but scary. Canadian rights and opinions have been left in the lurch in favour of the opinions of elitist politicians and judges who act as though they are a law unto themselves. Cere also offers a philosophical analysis of this change in marriage, poking at the presuppositions that lie behind this burning desire to push same-sex legislation through – at the cost of freedom.

Daniel Cere writes as one who knows the issues involved, and so he should, as he is the director of the Institute for the Study of Marriage, Law and Culture in Montreal.

Historical AnalysisAs I said, in 1999 parliament reaffirmed the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman in a vote of 216 to 55. In 2001 however, the British Columbia Supreme Court was faced with the first same-sex marriage case to be adjudicated on in Canada. They rejected the case claiming that a change to the Canadian Constitution was needed before they could rule in the favour of the complainants. Of course, this challenge to change came in 2002 when the Ontario Supreme Court challenged the traditional definition in Halpern vs. Canada. After Halpern both the Quebec and B.C. Superior Courts followed suit. In the Ontario ruling, although not a specific redefinition of remarriage was offered, the court did rule that the existing definition was discriminatory.The Halpern ruling “suggested three possible remedies: (a) redefine marriage as a union of two persons, or (b) establish a domestic partnership regime that would offer legal recognition for same-sex couples, or (c) abolish marriage as a category in law and set up some kind of neutral registry system” (Divorcing Marriage, 10).Here comes the scary statist part that began to upset me. Halpern gave the government a two-year period to “consider legislative options” (Ibid). If the government didn’t act in enough time the courts would implement their own change. For those who think that the courts aren’t dangerous and don’t run the country, think again.

Responding to the Halpern request, the federal government set up a committee that travelled across Canada interviewing Canadians to determine their views on this issue (note: to determine Canadian values). Sounds democratic enough, right? It would have been if the courts had left the committee alone and let them report their findings. The committee started their east to west tour of Canada in January and by June 10, 2003 the Ontario Court of Appeal stepped up and “declared that it would not bother to wait for the government, or for Canadians, to consider new legislative responses” (Ibid). Horrifying! Do we live in a free country where the common people actually have a say? Or do we live in a court ruled totalitarian regime where the average citizen has no meaning or opinion? I really felt, when reading this segment of the essay that my opinion as a Canadian didn’t matter. And according to the courts, it doesn’t. So often Paul Martin claimed that he was standing up for Canadian values. How could he? His party, with their appointed judges wouldn’t let Canadians express their values!

By June 12, 2003 the committee that was touring across Canada was called in and by June 17, 2003 “the federal cabinet announced that it would draft legislation changing the definition of marriage” (DM, 11). What happened to democracy? What happened to listening to the people? As can be seen from this ruling and parliamentary decision, Canada is not truly democratic. Socialism reigns supreme in Canada, and top-down decisions are the norm. The same-sex marriage issue is not the only one where Canadian values really aren’t considered. This government bullying can be seen in a variety of issues, such as gun control, the NEP in Alberta, the Wheat Board, and much more.

Close Relationships

The change from the traditional definition of marriage is based upon the idea promulgated by the socialist elite in government and in the courts (not to mention the state-funded media!) that marriage that is only heterosexual is discriminatory. Instead, a definition based upon “close relationships” was offered and accepted. This means that the traditional view that within the definition of marriage is the ability to procreate and nurture is done away with in favour of a definition based upon “emotional, psychological, or sexual satisfaction” (DM, 12). As Cere defines close, or “pure,” relationships:

“Pure relationships, unlike marriages, are the ever-changing product of private negotiation. In so far as marriage itself is drawn into this new culture of intimacy, it is placed on a level playing field with all other ‘long-term’ sexual partnerships. Severed from its historic roots in sex difference, permanence, and children, it becomes nothing other or more than a form of intimacy between consenting adults” (Ibid).

As Cere rightly observes, this makes “marriage” malleable, open to change, easy to contract and easy to dissolve.

I have said that the actions of the court and the Liberal parliament were anti-democratic in that they forced legislation through without considering the values of regular Canadian citizens. But there is another, greater sense in which freedom is being robbed from Canadians, as Cere explains.

By changing the definition of marriage to make room for homosexuals, heterosexual marriage by default will become meaningless. Cere offers a quote by Ladelle McWhorter, a gay and lesbian theorist, who makes some scary statements about the ramifications that same-sex marriage will have on opposite-sex marriage. She says, “our presence will change those institutions…enough to undermine their preferred version of heterosexuality and, in turn, they themselves will not be the same” [McWhorter, Bodies and Pleasures: Foucault and the Politics of Sexual Normalization (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999), 125 cited in DM, 14]. Cere backs this follows this quote with another like it from the Ontario Court of Appeal, that argued that the meaning of marriage must meet “the needs, capacities and circumstances of same-sex couples, not…the needs, capacities and circumstances of opposite-sex couples.” Talk about an anti-freedom, anti-democratic policy! For the sake of a minority who statistically don’t get married, an institution is drastically changed and denigrated so that those who do use it are left with practically nothing. This is disgusting.

Marxism and Marriage Redefinition

Another aspect of Cere’s essay that struck me was the connection that he drew between the redefinition of marriage and Marxism. For a while now I have been asking myself whether or not the scourge of Marxism has left the west. I was great impacted with the realisation that Marxism is not gone. It may not be in our faces as it once was, but Marxism seethes under the surface of society (especially Canadian society) causing as much structural damage as it always has.

Cere draws a link from the “close-relationship paradigm” to Marx’s comrade-in-arms, Friederich Engels, who, with other Soviet Marxists, brought this paradigm into Russia. The example that Cere provides is found in Soviet feminist Aleksandra Kollantai.

She was, as Cere says, “an enthusiastic proponent of this vision of marriage” (DM, 16). She advocated that a new marriage culture must be enacted based only upon “mutual love.” Kollantai was the Commissar of Social Welfare in Russia and had the authority to put this new version of watered-down marriage into practice. This was done in the 1920s and by the 1930s Russian society was in serious trouble. Cere notes that family was destabilized, divorce rates were rising, “temporary cohabitation” was common, birth rates were in decline and children fell through the cracks of broken marriages often ending up on the streets. By 1936 the Soviets began reversing their policies on marriage recognising the effect it was having on the country. Unfortunately, Canadian elitists don’t learn from history.


Even before same-sex marriage was on the books in Canada, we had policies in place that were slowly eroding society on family-lines. With abortion, no-fault divorce and now same-sex marriage, the results of this erosion of marriage are akin to those of Russia in the twenties and thirties. It is even worse in Quebec where a postmodern, pluralistic mindset has a stronger grip on the people there throwing them into a tailspin. The statistics that Cere provides are quite scary and should be an eye-opener indeed. In Canada the marriage rate went from 7.1 in 1987 to 5.1 in 1998. The divorce rate is at 40% and the average age of marrying is 32 for women and 34 for men, where it had been much younger in the sixties. Cohabitation has “more than doubled” Cere says since 1981 and single-parent families have risen 50% since then.

As Cere sums up the findings, “Canadians, in other words, are increasingly having difficulty in forming and maintaining families. They are also bringing fewer children into the world” (DM, 18). I guess if it weren’t for the open-door policy that the Liberals set up in terms of immigration, Canada would be one huge ghost town.

In spite of the demonisation that has been brought upon those of us who advocate retaining the traditional definition of marriage, the majority of Canadians are statistically in favour of the traditional view; 67% in fact. As Cere insightfully notes, Canadian views are not based on prejudice, rather they are based on a recognition that as marriage goes, so goes the country. In fact, most of those in favour of keeping the traditional definition are also in favour of giving benefits to homosexual couples. As noted in other chapters of Divorcing Marriage, the institution of marriage is not about rights; therefore homosexuals should not have the privilege of marriage.

There is much more to Cere’s essay that I won’t go into here. I think I’ve written enough as it is! I won’t get into the studies on polygamy that Cere mentions as well as studies on polyamory. Nor will I get into the presuppositions that are driving the push for same-sex marriage; you’ll have to read the rest of Cere for that. I also won’t go into detail as to why gay activist and politician Svend Robinson had declined to “marry” his partner even after same-sex marriage was made legal. Not dissimilar from the rest of the gay population that statistically don’t want to get married, they just want to have the definition changed for the sake of it. Cere does a good job explaining why marriage necessitates commitment, which is something that homosexuals, who are historically promiscuous, don’t want.

By summarizing Cere’s essay I merely wanted to get the facts about the leftist agenda for state control over Canadians. I also wanted to give a historical example of this using same-sex marriage. Most of all I want my readers to pick up Divorcing Marriage and read Cere and the other authors for themselves. It will hopefully be a wake-up call to Canadians and a catalyst for conservative change in this country.



1 Comment

  1. coernach said,

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