12-09-2006, 09:02 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Beautiful remarks from the Canadian Parliament marriage debate
On December 5, a gay Member of Parliament addressed the House during the debate on whether to re-open the same-sex marriage debate, with a view to reverting to the previous definition of man/woman only.
I have posted the entire speech on my website
but thought I would include a couple of quite eloquent excerpts here.
This was a brief excerpt. Click on the link above to read the entire speech.
Mr. Bill Siksay (MP, Burnaby-Douglas, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has put the following motion before the House:
That this House call on the government to introduce legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage without affecting civil unions and while respecting existing same-sex marriages.
I am honoured to speak for the New Democratic Party in this debate.
[Mr. Siksay told 3 remarkable stories of marriages ...]
For me, these promises, these stories are what this debate is all about. It is about gay and lesbian couples making promises to each other, promises on the one hand that are not unusual because they are the same as couples have made to each other in marriage for years and years...
They are promises that provide a firm foundation for life-affirming relationships. They provide a firm foundation for families. These promises make our communities stronger by expanding the circle of intimate, justice seeking, loving relationships. These promises give security, security to couples, security to the children of these partnerships, security to our families and our communities. These promises lead to serious legal obligations and responsibilities that are willingly and enthusiastically engaged.
Building relationships, founding families, expanding intimacy in the pursuit of justice and love, providing security, assuming responsibility: all these are foundations of a strong society, all values that contribute to a strong society, all defining aspects of the institution of marriage in our society.
Twelve thousand five hundred couples, 25,000 individuals, have made the same kind of commitment in Canada since marriage became possible for gay and lesbian couples. These marriages were performed by clergypersons and by secular marriage commissioners, all of whom were licensed to solemnize marriages by their provincial governments and given the civil authority to legally marry couples as defined now by the federal Civil Marriage Act.
These couples who chose to be married are not people who want to change the institution of marriage, but instead are people who only seek to be included in this institution, because they believe in the values that it represents and that it supports. They are people who have been raised in families and communities that hold marriage in high regard.
Thousands more in Canada have stood with these couples as members of wedding parties, best men and maids of honour, as members of congregations, as family members and as witnesses. In doing so, we have pledged our support for these couples. We have witnessed their love and commitment and pledged to honour and respect those relationships. We have agreed to be part of their families.
Marriage is stronger in Canada for these thousands of commitments by gay and lesbian couples and by their witnesses. Often we have left these marriage ceremonies inspired with new respect for this institution. In so many ways, gay and lesbian couples are true marriage evangelicals in Canada. They are the people fervently advocating for this institution, an institution that has faced many challenges in recent decades. I believe that gay and lesbian couples who marry have breathed new life into this venerable institution.
As gay and lesbian Canadians, we recognized, whether or not we sought to be married ourselves, that it was not acceptable to be told that we could not walk through the front door of a key institution of our society. We also recognized that a lesser recognition of our relationships, such as civil union, cheapened our citizenship and made us less than full citizens. Entering a key institution of our society by a side or back door or creating a separate institution to recognize our relationships is not equality and not full citizenship.
...The witness of gay and lesbian married couples, the family, friends and co-workers who support them, and the Civil Marriage Act make that celebration possible. That is why New Democrats in the House will be voting against the Conservative government motion.
evangelicalhumanist: Greek "eu"=good and "angelos"=messenger. Spreading the good news of Humanism.