Friday, June 09, 2006

Moral Cowardice

If Rahim Jaffer sat in the House of Commons in support of a party which sought to pass a bill saying that Arabs are not allowed to marry, he would have a duty to explain to Arabs why he was doing such a thing. If Diane Finley, or Carol Skelton, or Diane Ablonczy, or any female MP were standing in the House of Commons in support of a government which sought to roll back women's rights, they would have a duty to explain to the women of Canada why they were doing such a thing. If the Liberal government had, god-forbid, gone crazy and decided to pass a law saying that black people are no longer allowed to marry white people, Jean Augustine would have had a duty to either defect from that government, or stand and explain to all black people in Canada why she was supporting that government. Or if that same government had passed a law saying that Jews aren't allowed to marry, Irwin Cotler would have a duty to explain to Canada's Jews why he continued to support that government. And on and on. Surely this is just common sense.

Why is it, then, that John Baird, a gay man, should get off with a free pass on this? Why shouldn't he face the gay community and explain to them why he's supporting a party whose official policy towards gay people is that they ought to be relegated to second-class status? No self-respecting Jew would stand in support of a party which sought to make Jews second-class citizens, nor would any self-respecting Arab, woman, black person, Muslim, etc. stand in support of a party which sought to roll back their rights. Why should it be any different for gay people?

As it stands, Bill Graham, Pierre Pettigrew and Dominic Agostino, three (allegedly in the case of the first two) closeted politicians can be excused outing themselves because they are /were not supporting parties which sought to roll back the clock on gay rights. They have nothing to explain; they don't have to justify their actions.

I know gay Conservatives (the fact that they exist never ceases to baffle me) like to slander Scott Brison for jumping ship, sometimes calling him "ambitious" (apparently a bad thing now) or a coward for not "staying and fighting." But the point is, why should he have to fight in one party when another party was willing to accept him with open arms? That's not cowardice - it's self-respect. Is a battered wife a coward if she leaves her husband instead of staying and trying to make it work? Baird is a moral coward for refusing to justify his support of Stephen Harper and his hostile stance towards gay people. You want to talk about ambition? How does betraying yourself and everyone like you to your own ambition work for you? You want to talk cowardice? How about being so afraid of your own party's base to stand up for your rights and the rights of everyone like you?

10 Comments:

At 6/09/2006 7:32 p.m., Anonymous GayandRight said...

blah blah blah.

You still haven't explained why Graham and Pettigrew never came out even though revealing their sexuality would help the cause greatly by giving it yet another human face.

And I don't think Rahim Jaffer, originally from Uganda, is Arab. Not all brown-skinned people are of the same ethnic group, shockingly enough.

This entire blog strikes me as boringly one-issue.

 
At 6/09/2006 7:40 p.m., Anonymous John said...

You are still a very young man. As you mature I hope you will expand your understanding to include the wishes of others. Gays wanted marriage and only marriage. Gays were intolerant of the wishes of others in the society they share. So were the courts. Others want to retain the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. There was a compromise position.

 
At 6/09/2006 9:40 p.m., Blogger montreal simon said...

"Gays were intolerant of the wishes of others in the society in the society."

Huh? John I'm afraid you got that one ass backwards. Gays and the courts say it's a simple question of equality. They're right. You're wrong. You people are the intolerant ones. And your idea of a "compromise" sounds to me like surrender. So that ain't going to happen either. Face it people, the battle is almost over. You lost and we won. Now get over it.
As for you Gay and Right (choke)
I'm not surprised to see you defending another closet queen. But you still haven't answered Ryan's question. How can a gay man work for a government that is seeking to strip gays of their equality rights, without even registering his protest? Who does he think he is? Uncle John? I realize from reading your blog that self loathing takes a horrible toll on closeted gay men.Talk about blah blah blah. But turning your back on your own brothers and sisters when the wingnut hordes in your own Party are attacking us is just about unforgivable.Would it be asking too much to hope that Uncle John could at least summon up enough courage to come out of the closet? Serve as some kind of role model for gay kids.Even a ReformCon model is better than no model at all. As for you gay and Right I can only pray (as one gay brother to another) that you finally step out of the closet and into the light. Realize that your ReformCon Party is full of religious bigots who hate you as much as they hate my little ass. And get out while you still can!

 
At 6/10/2006 1:05 a.m., Anonymous deadgoat said...

John: I live in Alberta and I work in the engineering profession. I tolerate, and I tolerate and I tolerate some more. When my boss went to a "family-values" rally at the legislature and one brave soul dared to show up holding a sign announcing to the hundreds that were there that was gay, he was so upset that his children had to see this vulgar display from this pervert, he was shaking and almost crying when he told me about it. I tolerated that. When one of my other bosses talks about pedophiles and gays together in the same sentence, I tolerate that too. I tolerate it because I have to keep my job until my contract is done, and after that I am seriously considering moving from this province or getting out of this industry all together, for which I would have to sacrifice everything I have worked so hard for. Blue Grit may be 21, but any gay man or lesbian by that age understands what it is to tolerate this overwhelmingly straight world. If only you could live in my shoes for 1 day, you would understand. It would only take one day. It would not take 21 years.

 
At 6/10/2006 1:30 a.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

You still haven't explained why Graham and Pettigrew never came out even though revealing their sexuality would help the cause greatly by giving it yet another human face.

There are nothing but allegations saying that either Graham or Pettigrew are gay/bisexual - particularly nasty allegations in Mr. Graham's case, in fact. Actually, I remember someone from YOUR party giving him a hard time about those allegations in the House of Commons. I speak of course of the Hon. Member for Renfrew--Nippising--Pembrooke...

And I don't think Rahim Jaffer, originally from Uganda, is Arab.

From Uganda, of Pakistani origin.

This entire blog strikes me as boringly one-issue.

And yet you keep dubiously gracing this place with your presence.

There was a compromise position.

There was not and never will be a compromise between justice and injustice.

deadgoat: Great comment. Thumbs up.

 
At 6/10/2006 4:05 a.m., Anonymous Loony in LotusLand said...

In 1981 our politicians (except the Quebec guys) plunked down the Charter of Rights on top of our centuries old system of common law. Now the common law stated that unless there was a specific law or regulation against something it was by definition legal. There were no positive laws. The new Charter had the effect of invalidating any negative law, even if was hundreds of years old, that a court may deem to be in violation of one of these new rights. Until 1981 Parliament was supreme and could change any law by a simple majority vote.

Which laws and regulations are subject to the Charter? Some are, some are not, and others are partially included. It depends on the courts that day. In Canada the court ruled that having a drivers license was not a right but a privilege. This allowed Police to operate alcohol road checks where as the US courts ruled that stopping a citizen without probable cause is unconstitutional. A Canadian citizen entering Canada is subject to search and seizure of any or all property without legal cause. It is up to the individual to then prove in court that the property is legally his.

The lower courts in Canada ( the Supreme Court has yet to rule on this issue) have ruled that marriage is indeed a right and should not be subject to discrimination. Now most laws including marriage have some form of discrimination or qualifiers attached. The old law discriminated by age (over 13 with parental consent), opposite sex, number of persons, mental competence, physical health, family relationship ( now genetic, as Woody Allen did marry his step daughter). All of these forms of discrimination are included in the Charter.

Sexual orientation was specifically left out the Charter because the politicians understood that in the future a court would have to rule in favor of same sex marriage. In the middle of the 1990's the Supreme Court "read sexual orientation" into the Charter in a separate case because in the opinion of that court it must have been an oversight. So instead of striking down that law and sending it back to Parliament for a revision , or proceeding via the amending formula to enshrine that right the court just "read it in".

Paul Martin stated repeatedly that we cannot cherry pick rights, which ones are to be applied and which ones shall be denied. Blue Grit do you believe there should be any discrimination or qualifiers on the right to get married?

* Note Customs, common sense, unintended consequences, traditions, practical outcomes, taboos, and moral outrage may not be included in your opinion of these future Charter legal cases.

 
At 6/10/2006 3:34 p.m., Anonymous GayandRight said...

Ryan:

1) Pakistanis are not Arab. Once again, not all brown-skinned people are of the same background.

2) Those aren't "allegations" to anyone in the Toronto gay community. Pretty common knowledge actually. Sad that the Member of Parliament representing the riding with the largest gay population in the country doesn't see it appropriate to come out of the closet, eh?


Montreal Simon:

As I mentioned in another thread, homosexuality is not a cult. Other gay people are not my "brothers and sisters" - the whole idea of brotherhood of any kind, with any group, kinda gives me the creeps actually.

Gay people are as varied in their views as heteros. I'm a right-leaning libertarian and will vote for the party that won't push Nanny State bullshit policies on me. At the moment, the only party that would fall under that category is the CPC. The daycare debate, in which Liberals were asking taxpayers to fund state-subsidized kiddie warehouses - and suggesting that those who opposed this idea were "un-Canadian" - crystallized my (and many others') support for the Conservatives.

 
At 6/10/2006 10:17 p.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

1) Pakistanis are not Arab. Once again, not all brown-skinned people are of the same background.

The difference is about as big as the difference between a Brit and an Irishman. (I've got both in me.)

The point remains that if the government passed a law banning marriage between "brown-skinned" people, Rahim Jaffer would have a hell of a time explaining that; this red herring about his race is really just a way for you to avoid answering that point.

2) Those aren't "allegations" to anyone in the Toronto gay community. Pretty common knowledge actually. Sad that the Member of Parliament representing the riding with the largest gay population in the country doesn't see it appropriate to come out of the closet, eh?

Yet they seem to vote for him in droves. Again, Graham has nothing to answer for. He's the current leader of a party which has made Canada one of the only countries in the world where gays are truly equal. That's more important to me than whether or not he actually is bisexual himself.

I'm a right-leaning libertarian and will vote for the party that won't push Nanny State bullshit policies on me.

You'd betray your own rights for a tax cut. Sad.

Really, no matter how much you try to suck up to those loons, they're never going to accept you. Ever. You want to talk about "useful idiots?" You've supporting a party whose official policy is that you should be a second-class citizen.

 
At 6/16/2006 10:49 p.m., Anonymous GayandRight said...

The difference is about as big as the difference between a Brit and an Irishman.

Yes okay, but I'm beginning to notice a pattern of shallow thought in your comments. "All brown-skinned people are Arab". "All Conservatives are icky and hate gays". You might want to develop a little nuance. Meanwhile your friend in Montreal called John Baird a "closet queen" - very nice.

You can defend Bill Graham all you want, but he has an opportunity to advance the cause of his people (since you gay liberals are so big into this "brotherhood" cult) by coming out of the closet and bringing a familiar human face to it. He isn't, though. He's a coward.

 
At 6/18/2006 1:00 p.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

I think it's time you develop some nuance to your thought. Like, for example, understanding the position I'm taking, that Mr. Graham and Mr. Baird are in different positions; one currently leads a party which supports gay rights, one is a minister in a party which seeks to take away gay rights. One of them has a duty to explain himself, the other does not.

 

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