Thursday, November 15, 2012
Thought for the Day, #55
During the recent election in the United States, several states had marriage equality for same-sex couples on the ballot (it was passed in Maine, Maryland, and Washington State).
Here's what an editorial comment, originally published in The Ottawa Citizen, and subsequently appearing in The Vancouver Sun, had to say on the subject:
...If [marriage equality] is a right, then it's a right, and not subject to approval or removal by popular vote. That's why constitutions protect basic freedoms and equal treatment under the law. It's a protection against the tyranny of the majority [p. C3].
Amen to that.
In Canada, marriage equality has been in place nationally since the mid-2000s. Before that, several provinces had approved marriage equality without taking it to a vote (including BC, the province I live in), but the federal Liberal government at the time had the foresight to make it a right across the country. The world didn't come to an end as a result.
Which is precisely what the federal government in the U.S. must do. Individual states must not have the power to grant or withhold marriage equality for same-sex couples by popular vote, based on voters's personal or religious beliefs. It is not their place to do that.
If it's a human right to get married, and gay people are human beings (last time I checked, they are), then marriage is a human right, regardless of sexual orientation, and not subject to the whim of those who don't approve at the ballot box for whatever reason.