Egale Canada condemned today the suggestion by the leader of the federal PC Party that the government should abolish civil marriage.
"We find it difficult to believe that the government would seriously consider this option," said Laurie Arron, Director of Advocacy for Egale. "Allowing same-sex couples to marry doesn't take anything away from heterosexuals, while abolishing civil marriage takes that away from everyone."
"If civil marriage were abolished, couples that want the rights and responsibilities now provided by marriage would have to register their partnerships with the government. Then, if they want to marry, they would have to have a religious ceremony. And what about couples who have a civil marriage now?"
"It used to be that if you wanted to get married, you had to have a religious ceremony. But now people who don't want a religious ceremony have the option of a civil marriage." Between 1950 and 1970, the provinces introduced civil marriage to accommodate couples who did not want a religious ceremony.
"Equality should mean bringing everyone up, not pulling everybody down," added Arron. "In 1958, officials in Montgomery, Alabama, were ordered to end racial segregation in the city parks. Instead of letting black people use the parks, they closed the parks to everyone. Abolishing civil marriage would do the same thing - take a public good away from everyone rather than give it to an unpopular minority."
"If the government was to follow the PC Party's new proposal, it would be terrible," said Gilles Marchildon, Executive Director of Egale. "Instead of sending a message that same-sex relationships are equally worthy and equally valued, it would send the opposite message-that our relationships would taint the institution of marriage to such an extent that it is better to abolish the institution altogether than to allow us access."
"Denying everyone the ability to marry in a civil ceremony," Marchildon continued, "would create public outrage amongst heterosexuals no longer able to marry, many of whom would doubtless blame the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities for the loss of their rights."
For more information:
Laurie Arron, Director of Advocacy: 613-230-1043
Gilles Marchildon, Executive Director: 613-864-1133
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