Klein Notwithstanding

Now that gay and lesbian marriages have been legalized by the Canadian state (a charter of rights issue, and therefore under federal jurisdiction) Alberta's premier Ralph Klein wants to make it as difficult as he can for gays and lesbians -- and heterosexuals, for that matter -- to act on that right in Alberta. Klein said yesterday that the province might withdraw from sanctioning marriages and just recognize civil unions. This would mean that one could not marry outside of a church in Alberta: ''We simply wouldn't be involved in the solemnization of marriage,'' Klein said.

"There are no legal weapons. There's nothing left in the arsenal," Klein lamented, on hearing the outcome of the parliamentary vote yesterday. And this is precisely the point: now that the religious right's position has been revealed for what it is -- unconstitutional homophobia -- those who espouse this view have no formal recourse to the state apparatus to defend it. So now the right -- where it holds power, as in Alberta -- is trying to change the law so as to render the decision impracticable. Of course, this is something the Liberals, and the queer marriage lobby, should have anticipated (and they probably did) when they wrote the Bill so as to leave religious institutions outside its scope. It is because no religious institution has to abide by the government's comprehensive definition of marriage that this tactic of Klein's could succeed in rendering that charter-based definition merely formal, at least in Alberta. This shows two things: (1) that the Alberta government is, in effect, trying to solidify its theocracy -- through an attempt to undermine the separation of church and state; and (2) that if the purpose of Bill C-38 was to effect social transformation, then its parameters should have included civil society, forcing religious institutions to recognize the legitimacy of queer marriage.

Meanwhile, Stephen Harper is suggesting that the vote was illegitimate because the passing of the bill required the endorsement of the separatist Bloq Quebecois. I most certainly will need another cup of coffee before I can begin to deal with that bit of logic.

Until then, take a look at my friend Victor Serge's astute comments on the passing of Bill C-38 -- link to his blog, And your little dog too, on the sidebar.

And for more crap from Klein, see the CBC's story:


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