What's Wrong with Healthcare?

Thinking inside and outside of the healthcare box. After 41 years of family practice, what's happened to Canada's healthcare system?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Gay Marriage

Since today is the day our federal parliamentarians vote on the definition of marriage, I may as well add my two bits to the discussion, and since I am posting after the vote has taken place, the entry is only for purposes of discussion. I, quite frankly, have never understood exactly how a group that supposedly takes “pride” in their sexual orientation, would want to “marry” into an institution that already would appear to be going down hill. With the introduction of gay marriage, the definition of marriage would necessarily have to be changed to the “union of two persons” which gives no specificity or “special ness” to their sexual orientation. What happened to the “pride” part?
As we have progressed over the years, the more advanced societies and science itself, have continued to make an effort to define things precisely so as to better analyze and study for the purposes of advancement. In biology we look at the kingdom, phyla, family, genus, species, and so on so as to identify and learn more. This is done, as I understand it, based on its characteristics and function. In society, we have institutions, organizations and the like, each one bringing something special to the table; each one having certain characteristics. The more precise those characteristics and the definition, the more able a civilization can study societal benefits and contributions.
As an individual, I am not against gay marriage or polygamy (as long as the latter abide by, and protect the rights of the individuals within that union). As a scientific member of our society, I feel that it will make it more difficult to analyze and assess positives and negatives of this initiative, in what is already an emotionally hot issue. As a heterosexual, who is partly defined by my involvement in this institution (I am married to a woman), I feel my identity and the identity of the institution have been somewhat obscured. If the claim of genetic influence is appropriate in determining sexual orientation (and I believe it likely is), then why can this not be reflected in a unique institutional name, one that the participants can be proud of and is defining? If all the rights and privileges of these various groups are equal, how is the charter of rights and freedoms being denied?
Out of interest one day, I telephoned the Canadian Legion to see if I could join. I was told that I could have a social membership but would not be allowed to vote and would not be a “full” member. Quite frankly, this annoyed me. Obviously, since the number of people who have been in the military has been declining, the social aspects of the Legion have been on a downslide. As a remedy for this, they introduced a “social” membership; but in an effort to appease the members that are identified by their service in the military, they have allowed those, that have not defined themselves in a similar way, to join, but not vote. My feeling was that you either meet the criteria or you don’t. Allowing “social” members has, in a very small way, taken away from the identity of the other members; and it was done for financial and political reasons.
I think when an organization loses its defining characteristics, it eventually fades and will cease to exist. This seems to be the case in countries that have had “same sex marriage” for the last number of years. Marriage rates have been going down. In North America divorce rates have been going up. This will have the net effect of fewer people belonging to the institution of marriage. I also think marriage helps to a small degree (but certainly not the only factor) in both having children (necessary to sustain a society), and providing a stable environment for raising children. Do we really want it to slowly fade and die? And this is not to say that gay couples unions are not stable; I simply think they should call the union something else and promote it with pride, rather that attaching to some other union name and broadening the definition.
The next big question and “hot” topic surrounding this issue is “Should the church bless same sex unions”? Recently a minister friend asked me this question. He never asked me if the state should allow civil unions with all the rights and privileges of “marriage” because I think he would know the answer would be “absolutely”. I think he also knew that I felt same sex unions should not be called “Marriage” but likely for different reasons than his. The question was simply a religious one; “Should a Christian religion BLESS a state recognized same sex union”?
The first statement that I wish to make is that there is general consensus and recognition that there should be freedom of religion, and that there should be separation of church and state. Put another way, there is no obligation on the part of any religion to condone, yet alone bless the actions of government, or a government to enforce the beliefs of any one nation.
The second point to be made is that there are many kinds of love. Some people love their work, some people love their pets, and some people love nature and the great outdoors. To my knowledge, the bible recognizes these various loves but also puts a different emphasis and characteristics to these different states of love. It mentions the love of a brother for a brother, a child for a parent, and a parent for a child; it mentions the love we should have for God, and the love that a man should have for his wife, and a woman should have for her husband. My understanding is that he “blesses” all these types of love within their context.
The third point that needs to be made is that Christ loves and blesses the sinner but not the sin.
The fourth and final point is that the love between a man and a woman in the “Marriage” sense, and/or, a “Civil Union” sense between same sex couples, is undeniably meant to be a sexual union. There is consensus that if a sexual event does not take place within a union, the marriage is deemed not to have been “consummated” and therefore can be annulled (regarded as not to have taken place).
With the above points in mind, I find the question of blessing same sex unions a relatively simple one, and the question simply becomes “Does Christ consider sexual activity between people of the same sex a sin, or an activity worthy of being “blessed”, since the activity within the relationship defines both the type of love and the relationship.
And now I await my condemnation as a homophobe.


Blogger Lanny said...

I won't condemn you but I will state that perhaps some form of misdirected justification is being used to support your beliefs. But we've had this conversation before... at length.... LOL.

I do believe that a civil union would be a good compromise on both sides by protecting the rights of homosexuals while still protecting the rights of religion to stand by their beliefs.

8/12/06 6:46 AM  
Blogger Al said...

I am not only suggesting a civil union with equal rights, but a unique catagory with equal rights in which gays can take pride and point to with pride.
Although we have discussed this before, you have not addressed the specific issues I raise and how this issue hinges on the charter, and equal rights.
I believe gays suffer from an inferiority complex (likely from past attitudes towards them and persecution) and rather than it being a matter of pride, they simply want "inclusion".

8/12/06 11:17 AM  
Blogger Al said...

Besides Lanny, I have read your blog and you seem to take pride in rational thought processes. What is with "some form of misdirected justification is used". That doesn't seem like a rational comment to me---more like a "drive by Shooting"?

8/12/06 12:19 PM  
Blogger michie said...

About the only point I agree with you on, is that they need to have equal rights and call the union something they can be proud of and aspire to. If they want to call it marriage, then so be it.

The 'legal' definition of marriage and the 'religious' definition of marriage are two different things. The legal definition could be changed to not specify the gender of the person. The religious definition, from what I've heard, I would not want to aspirt to as it is completely sexist and waaaaay outdated anyways! In fact the bible is way off on a few issues, and I don't want to get into that. Church and state should be separate, and if they want to be included in the legal term of marriage, they should be. If churches don't want to marry them, that's a whole other issue altogether, so perhaps I agree with you to some extent there. If church and state really are separate, they should be separate, although there are still equal rights that need to be considered within the scope of religious practices.

That's just my opinion, from what I currently know of the issue.

12/12/06 11:57 AM  
Blogger Al said...

Thank you for your comments. If you notice, none of my reasons against calling gay unions "marriage" have anything to do with religion. You say that if they want to call it marriage, they should be able to: my position is that I was there first, and took it on with the understanding that it was part of my "identifier" as a person within a Canadian society. As a person of science, Michie, you should understand the importance of specifically identifying something in order to assess it properly. We need to take a more scientific approach to emotional issues and minimize the emotion.

12/12/06 3:58 PM  
Blogger michie said...

I believe you mentioned Christ and sinning, etc. I thought that was speaking about marriage in a religious context...

13/12/06 1:03 PM  
Blogger Al said...

Sorry, separate question. I tried to make it clear with "the next big question" which probably should have been a separate blog entry and more a discussion for organized churches such as the United Church.

14/12/06 7:14 AM  

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