Please consider the following seven questions.
Do gays have their own “culture”?
Does a gay Canadian have the same rights as an Asian-Canadian, as a black Canadian, white Canadian, Jewish, Hindu or Christian Canadian?
Is Canada a multicultural society in which we encourage and celebrate Greek food, an Irish high holy drinking day, Caribbean music and even American television, instead of 100% assimilation into a singular homogenous culture?
Is it true that Canada does not currently forbid relationships between two people regardless of whether that couple is gay or straight?
In the eyes of the state, should any loving couple have the right to formalize their relationship?
In the eyes of God, shouldn’t it be up to those who adhere to religion, to recognize a state-sanctioned formal relationship as anything ‘more’?
As Canadians, should we foster the philosophy of equal rights?
If you answered yes to the previous seven questions, your name might be Stephen Harper. Yes, Stephen Harper has said that while he would maintain the “traditional” definition of marriage, he would also extend equal rights to homosexual couples. So is the formalization of a same-sex relationship a “marriage”, you ask?
The “tradition” in any context is defined and therefore I will cite Merriam Webster’s dictionary. Tradition is defined as “cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions”. Whether or not you are for or against same-sex ‘marriage’, you must agree that marriage is a tradition (as I’ve just defined). Yes, “traditional marriage” is a tradition between a man and a woman in the heterosexual culture. Do gays have their own culture? Yes, of course they do. Do gays hold the very same “tradition” that heterosexuals do concerning marriage? No, by the definition of “tradition” of course they do not. Are they entitled to the development of their own traditions and their own culture? Yes. Gay pride and gay culture is celebrated and recognized under the rainbow flag. As with the flag, gays should be entitled to the genesis of their own traditions and culture and yes, the formalization of a gay relationship with equal rights of heterosexual marriages could very well become part of that.
I recognize myself as a constituent of many cultures. I am part of the Canadian culture, the blogging culture, the Christian culture and the academic culture to name a few. Each culture possesses its own “traditions”. We should celebrate and enable gay culture by encouraging the formation of a new tradition to formally recognize same-sex relationships (at least in the eyes of the secular state). Why should gays limit themselves to another culture’s non-applicable tradition when they can have their own? We live in a multicultural society which embraces the traditions and practices of numerous peoples. As a member of the Protestant culture and as one that has attended Catholic mass, I have not asked for communion as this would violate the Roman Catholic tradition. As Christians, however, we recognize other Christian cultures even though we do not participate in their exclusive practices. I believe that most of the rational opposition to same-sex ‘marriage’ is that it would amend and thus violate a tradition held closely and fundamentally by members of the heterosexual culture. Gays should however be entitled to equal rights of relationship formalization and the creation of their own traditions associated with it. Gays could call it “garriage” and get “garried”. (Please work with me here, I’m not mocking)
While equality in the jurisdiction of the state is achieved, gay culture is enabled, gay tradition is initiated and heterosexual culture is maintained.
While gays would not necessarily throw rice at their “garriage” celebration (to symbolize fertility), other traditions would be started. Traditions are important to any culture as a culture’s traditions define its people, their history and their future. The necessity of “giving the bride away”, for example, has fallen away with our now antiquated patriarchal society, yet many heterosexual women maintain (in fact, they choose to maintain) this tradition because it solely has meaning as tradition.
Churches must be able to maintain their own respective culture and define their own traditions, whether old or new. The government’s role is not to abrogate traditions held by any culture whether that culture is based in religion or sexuality. Also, many same-sex relationships are now currently formalized in Christian churches.
I believe that Stephen Harper is doing something positive here, let’s give him a listen and see if it turns out that way.
I would very much appreciate any comments that you have in the comments section below.