CBC Cross Country Checkup
June 22, 2022
"What is your reaction to Ottawa's decision to recognize same-sex marriage?"


icon 

 


 










 

 

May 7, 2022

Memo to Canadian judges:
Leave institution of marriage alone

Susan Martinuk

The Vancouver Province
Wed 07 May 2022
Page: A16
Section: Editorial
Byline: Susan Martinuk
Column: Susan Martinuk
Source: The Province

Can three unelected judges irrevocably transform our culture? Maybe. Probably.

Last week, the B.C. Court of Appeal gave in to current cultural whims to rule that marriage laws are discriminatory to same-sex couples and must be changed.

In doing so, it displayed remarkable arrogance towards the social history of every culture on the planet. Even more so, the ruling perpetuates ignorance about what marriage is -- the move to broaden the definition of marriage is about how society views marriage, not how society views homosexuals or homosexuality.

Canada's current law recognizes marriage as "the lawful union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others." Every culture and major religion has historically recognized it as that. Yet these judges want to alter this social norm (that's right, "norm") by proposing that marriage be "the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others."

Proponents say the change protects marriage from evolving still further to include polygamy or any other conceivable "family" arrangement that some may want. But no one can make this claim with any certainty. Fifty, or even 20, years ago, we'd never have imagined altering the legal definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. Who's to say marriage laws, once current limits are gone, won't change to embrace other social arrangements?

An Ontario lesbian couple is currently petitioning for the legal recognition of one lesbian partner as a third legal parent for her two-year-old. In the U.S. a single mother who ended a four-year affair with a married man wants the court to transform the adulterous union into the social equivalent of marriage. She wants financial support for herself and her child from another relationship.

This is the inevitable result of tinkering with laws that have historically governed the social institution of marriage. Any family arrangement will become acceptable. How children will adjust to these changes is anyone's guess. There is no significant amount of sociological or historical evidence to suggest that same-sex marriages will be stable unions that are beneficial to kids and society.

Marriage is not an arbitrary or even legal construct. It's a pre-existing societal, cultural and religious institution that reflects more than one's desire for sexual intimacy or sexual preference.

It is a voluntary social institution and thus involves a choice. If you choose to participate in this tradition, then you must follow the governing rules. Therefore it is, quite rightly, discriminatory.

Should the majority have to change the rules to accommodate same-sex couples who, according to the 2001 Census, comprise just 0.5 percent of Canadian couples?

There can be no compromise. Homosexuals have legal recognition of their relationships -- they already receive almost all the economic and legal benefits of common-law couples. But marriage is, and always has been, heterosexual in nature and sexual preferences can't trump societal norms.

The courts should leave marriage alone.

[Return to Op-Ed Page]