GAY MARRIAGE, EH?

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 16 2001 @ 4:56pm

I’ve long believed that just because our government won’t enforce gay people’s constitutional right to marriage, that doesn’t mean we should act as if we are second-class citizens. If Rosa Parks could resist being moved up the bus, and if civil rights activists could sit still at a segregated lunch counter, then gay men and women can simply get married in a church or civil ceremony and be damned. Be the change you want to see in the world, as Gandhi put it. In Canada, they’ve done just that. A church recently posted marriage banns for three weeks for some gay couples, and after no public objections, the couples were duly married in a religious ceremony. Usually, that means that the state must legally recognize the marriage. So far, the relevant public officials have said they won’t, but any refusal may lead to a court case and ultimately judicial review. Canada’s constitution has a pretty tough Human Rights provision, like the European Union’s, that may well invalidate the blatant discrimination against gay couples under the current law. So equal marriage rights may well come to Canada through an unconventional route. My favorite part of this story is that a church initiated the challenge. This is how it should be with a moral struggle. When homosexual equality comes to this country, I firmly believe it will be because the churches finally realize that it is a betrayal of their religious inheritance to perpetuate discrimination against gay people. It’s happening already. Look at the Reform Jews’ moral stand against the Boy Scouts. Several other denominations are moving fast in the same direction. Now how about the bann strategy being used here?