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betsy

Rights and Freedom

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SSM doesn't take away any of the majority's rights, it just gives rights to a minority. It's doesn't hurt you at all.

Of course it hurts!

It does not have to hurt physically for one to know that his rights had been trampled.

It is a religious belief to a lot of us...and/or an institution to most of us.

Why don't the gay coin their own word in place of the word "marriage"?

I don't think there is any objection from us that they should enjoy legal rights and protection. What we just want is to preserve the true meaning of the word "marriage".

Why do they insist on wrecking what is considered sacred to most of us?

I used to feel for gays...but now, it is clouded by a very deep resentment for I feel that they callously disregarded the religious meaning, callously trampling on my rights to religious beliefs....just to prove a point. And this government unceremoniously did the same, in the name of Martin's so-called "human rights".

2) Official bilingualism wasn't based on the idea of minority rights. It was based on the concept of two founding cultures: French and English.

Taxpayers are funding for both. Why can't both enjoy the same rights?

If you're concerned about Christian rights, then you should be fighting for minority rights.

We are fighting for EVERYONE'S rights! Some points may have touched on religion....but it is still all about rights and freedom. Rights and freedom that are being toyed with.

Right now some of you may be opposed to some particular case-by-case scenarios laid out. But my point is that once you open a can, anything can come marching out.

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Business owners have been responsible for ensuring the safety of their workers for a long time. Hospitality has been the only industry that has been permitted to have dangerous levels of toxic gases released into the workplace continously.

So maybe employees should wear gas masks as part of their uniform. :)

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Okay, it may not be minority imposition on the majority....but my point is, property rights had been tampered with.

It may yet be taken to the Supreme Court as a challenge, and it may even be struck down....but don't you see what the poor property owner had to go through to protect his rights? 

The needless expenses of battling a powerful government, who has appointed court judges that give biased or questionable ruling anyway.

No doubt it is not easy and may be expensive to protect individual rights. But what other system would you suggest? In many other systems there isn't recourse to protect such rights. Just the possibility that a law may be struck down as unconstitutional is sometimes enough to prevent lawmakers from passing that law to begin with.Based upon the judgements from the SCC, I would say the judges are not biased and have shown great propensity to protect individual rights.

Even if no restaurants exercise the option to be non-smoking, as a private owner of a private property....that is and it should remain an option.  It is up to the private owner to decide which market he is trying to target since this is a business after all.

It is bad enough for these private owners to compete with big corporations who can afford easily to satisfy the whims of a fickle government.  A lot of these are small businesses.  The government had them going through various loops (a separate smoking room, proper ventilation, etc..)...to which they all tried to comply....and after going through all the expenses of renovations and compliance to regulations, the government finally decided to scrap the whole thing and just imposed the non-smoking law!

That's true that we have gone through iterations of regulations regarding smoking.

Such is the nature of government. One government may have a policy and a new one may come in with a vastly different policy, or even the same government may change policy. For better or worse such is the price of doing business in our society.

As for the existing employees, they can exercise their freedom of choice.

When they took on the job, they knew what was involved.  Now if they considered themselves finally informed as to the dangers of second-hand smoke...the option is still there.  Stay and inhale...or find another job.

The extension of your argument is that the government should mandate NO safety legislation or working conditions in any workplace. The worker if fully informed of the saftey risks would choose if they wanted to accept the job or find another.

While I agree with you for the most part that employment conditions shoudl be a private contract between employer and employee, I would say that many would disagree.

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Why don't the gay coin their own word in place of the word "marriage"?

I don't think there is any objection from us that they should enjoy legal rights and protection.  What we just want is to preserve the true meaning of the word "marriage".

Why do they insist on wrecking what is considered sacred to most of us?

Since when did ANY religion have exclusive copywright on the word "marriage". Many religions have defined marriage different ways including Mormans and Muslims in which bigamy was also considered "marriage".

Personally I would have preferred that the government stay out of the definition of marriage and it should have been left to individuals or religious groups to define for themselves.

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Dear Renegade,

The extension of your argument is that the government should mandate NO safety legislation or working conditions in any workplace. The worker if fully informed of the saftey risks would choose if they wanted to accept the job or find another.

While I agree with you for the most part that employment conditions shoudl be a private contract between employer and employee, I would say that many would disagree.

I agree, for the most part. There are standardized safety regulations that go beyond this contract, (Occupational Health and Safety) as well as Employment regulations that cover most everything. A decision by employers and employees to breach these rules should not be considered 'their own business', though, and usually any employer found breaking the rules is heavily fined.

This is one of the reasons I am against unions, for most of what they were once there to protect (worker's rights to safe and profitable employment) are now covered by law.

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Since when did ANY religion have exclusive copywright on the word "marriage". Many religions have defined marriage different ways including Mormans and Muslims in which bigamy was also considered "marriage".

Yes, the word "marriage is not exclusive to one particular religion....however, practically MOST religions, if not all, define marriage as a union between a man and woman. Even though some religions practice bigamy, or polygamy...I've yet to find a bigamous or polygamous religion that recognizes SSM or partly SSM.

That was why there was an uproar among different religious groups opposing the ruling.

SSM is one classic example of a minority imposing its will...callously....upon the majority.

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I agree, it may be wiser that the government recognize no mariage other that civil unions (definition to be negotiated later) then the churches can define marriage on their own. I really think it is a waste of time and money over the definition of a word, its like red wanting to be called blue cause blue has more letters.

The issue of property rights has many implications on your life, from expropriation, search and seizure to protecting what belongs to you.

What I find the most interesting is the divide in logic in many of the lefties, while they stauchly defend "the charter" and "rights" I think they don't really understand, but they are very adamant about trampling on rights of others when it suits their purpose. The over achieving smoking bans, banning dog breeds, seat belt laws, smoke detector laws and especially some charter issues that limit free speech.

I think we have reactionary left governenments and courts which are frequently willing to trample on minority points of view, so long as they are not "advanced" thinking lefties.

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No doubt it is not easy and may be expensive to protect individual rights. But what other system would you suggest?

That there will be no more political party-appointed judges.

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Guest eureka

T-bag!

Unfortunately, they are not protected in law. Witness the Harris government in Ontario that quite deliberately reduced protections and there have been several workplace deaths as a consequence of the reduced legal protections.

Unions are essential and in need of strengthening.

As I have posted a couple of times, Orwell once wrote that "Fascism is the counterattack of Capitalism on the Unions." We may not have degenerated into Fascism yet, but the counterattack of Capitalism has been very successful in the past thirty years.

It has been so successful that its main support comes from those who benefit from a strong union movement.

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Guest eureka

T-bag!

Unfortunately, they are not protected in law. Witness the Harris government in Ontario that quite deliberately reduced protections and there have been several workplace deaths as a consequence of the reduced legal protections.

Unions are essential and in need of strengthening.

As I have posted a couple of times, Orwell once wrote that "Fascism is the counterattack of Capitalism on the Unions." We may not have degenerated into Fascism yet, but the counterattack of Capitalism has been very successful in the past thirty years.

It has been so successful that its main support comes from those who benefit from a strong union movement.

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Yes, the word "marriage is not exclusive to one particular religion....however, practically MOST religions, if not all, define marriage as a union between a man and woman.  Even though some religions practice bigamy, or polygamy...I've yet to find a bigamous or polygamous religion that recognizes SSM or partly SSM.

That was why there was an uproar among different religious groups opposing the ruling.

SSM is one classic example of a minority imposing its will...callously....upon the majority.

Homosexuality has existed in virtually all cultures since recorded history. We live in a SECULAR society. No religion can prempt any word in the legal sense. Do we let any religious group define what "GOD" or "priest" is if used in a legal context? Thankfully the government stays away from use of these words in legislation.

Unfortunately it didn't have the good sense to do so for "marriage".

BTW, you don't seem unduly offended that the word "marriage" was extended to conjugal partners who cohabitate for more than one year, despite the fact that most religions forbid this activity.

But in the end, you are simply offended by the use of the word and not the entitlement of the priviledges. The best advice I can give you is that you live in a secular society tolarant of all people, so get over the use of the word for your own sake.

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No doubt it is not easy and may be expensive to protect individual rights. But what other system would you suggest?

That there will be no more political party-appointed judges.

I'm fine with a non-partisan process which appoints the judicary. However if you look at the judgements you will see that the appointed judges have not shown any trend to follow party lines.

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Homosexuality has existed in virtually all cultures since recorded history. We live in a SECULAR society. No religion can prempt any word in the legal sense.  Do we let any religious group define what "GOD" or "priest" is if used in a legal context? Thankfully the government stays away from use of these words in legislation.

Unfortunately it didn't have the good sense to do so for "marriage".

Renegade,

You are way wrong on this point. Our history is one of being a Christian nation and it is only recently that we have become unwilling to recognize that fact in order to fully appease minority interests.

Here is the preamble from the beloved Charter of Rights and Freedoms:

SCHEDULE B

CONSTITUTION ACT, 1982

PART I

CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:

Take my word for it, the Supreme God being referred to here is the Christian one.

I'm not saying we should be an intolerant society, guided only by Christian values, but I think the point being made by Betsy is that we ought not completely toss Christian values aside just to please minority groups.

FTA

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How is it a christian value to contemptuously deny basic rights to other people? I don't think the New Testament said anything about homosexuality, but it says a lot about respecting others.

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Basic right is the Liberal spin on the issue. Ask Martin if he favours gay marriage, and he will waffle and talk about rights. You ensure rights by guaranteeing civil unions and Martin falls apart on the issue.

Too bad though. The Liberals don't have the *right* to line their friends pockets ala Sponsorship and Income Trust. That is the issue that will decide this election.

How is it a christian value to contemptuously deny basic rights to other people? I don't think the New Testament said anything about homosexuality, but it says a lot about respecting others.

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How is being allowed to marry the person you love not a basic right? If you don't care for that term, how does this somehow diminish heterosexual marriage? Doesn't divorce and marrying for citizenship diminish it more than homosexuals wanting in? It seems to me the institution of marriage is strengthened because it shows that people really want it. If people opposed to SSM were really serious about the institution of marriage (and not just bigoted against gay people), they would be campaigning to strike down recent (as of the '60s) liberal divorce laws.

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How is it a christian value to contemptuously deny basic rights to other people? I don't think the New Testament said anything about homosexuality, but it says a lot about respecting others.

Well, it was never my intent to get into a discussion about what the Bible does or doesn't say...I'm definitely not one who can speak with authority on the topic.

I was merely pointing out that Renegade was wrong to say that the Canadian government "stays away" from using God in its legislation.

The reality is that the very Charter that many minorities use to bolster their claims for "rights" specifically sets out that "Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God..."

If these principles are what our country is founded upon, they ought to play a significant role in directing where our country is going. We should tolerate and even embrace Budhism, Sikhism, Muslims etc., but our country is founded on different principles than those religions, so it is okay for us, once in a while, to choose to stick to our founding principles, even if it means to limit the freedoms / rights of one of these minority groups.

I for one opposed redefining marriage, but am not really interested in re-visiting the debate. That being said, Canada could have very easily, in a very respectful and tolerant manner, said...no thank you, we choose to keep marriage defined as-is, recognizing the principles on which our country, and our Charter, were founded. In this context, to use the notwithstanding clause would be to stand on tradition, ceremony and custom and would not need to be seen as intolerant or Nazi-like.

The notwithstanding clause is not a reform-conservative weapon that was put in the Constitution to authorize crimes against humanity...it was a tool that would specifically allow a government to maintain its traditions and foundations even if to do so would be unfair to some minority groups.

This is exactly how Quebec has used the notwithstanding clause...to protect their vision of a "distinct society". Does this make them intolerant Nazi's? No. To borrow from Gilles Duceppe, it makes them different...no better, no worse, just different.

And all that being said, to allow same-sex unions with all of the incidents and privileges of marriage (without the same name) is hardly to "contemptuously deny basic rights".

Marriage is not a human right. It's simply not. It is a legal incident of society, a privilege that is defined by the government. Life Liberty and Security of the Person, are human rights...they shouldn't be confused.

FTA

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Well said FTA. I have a question. Is it a given that Harper would have to use the Nothwithstanding Clause if he tries to re-instate the traditional definition of marriage?

I completely agree with you about not wanting to revisit the issue though.

Marriage is not a human right.  It's simply not.  It is a legal incident of society, a privilege that is defined by the government.  Life Liberty and Security of the Person, are human rights...they shouldn't be confused.

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Marriage may not be a right as defined under the UN Declaration, but it is a privilege enjoyed by all members of society except gay people. What is the point of allowing same-sex unions with all of the incidents and privileges of marriage without calling it marriage? That's just a wishy-washy concession to appease people who just need to get over the fact that gay people live among us. It's disrespectful to say that homosexual marriage would tarnish or diminish heterosexual marriage. Forcing gay people to accept a term that only exists to placate this outright bigotry is forcing them to accept a second-class status. That goes against their basic human rights.

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Well said FTA. I have a question. Is it a given that Harper would have to use the Nothwithstanding Clause if he tries to re-instate the traditional definition of marriage?

I completely agree with you about not wanting to revisit the issue though.

I'm glad you asked...

The legal reality is that Harper absolutely does not need to use the notwithstanding clause to change the definition of marriage back to it's original state...at least to begin with.

As we all know, the SCC refused to decide the fourth question in the Constitutional Reference that the Liberal government put to it. For the sake of brevity, what the SCC said was that the proposed new definition of marriage would pass Charter scrutiny, but they refused to say whether keeping the old definition along with allowing same-sex civil unions would pass Charter scrutiny.

Had the SCC decided this fourth question against keeping the old definition, then the notwithstanding clause would be the only available route for a government to enact such legislation.

Since no pronouncement has been made by the SCC, Harper can put it to a true free vote, and if Parliament votes to put the definition back the way it was, he can then either do a reference of his own, worded in such a way as to force the SCC to give an answer, OR he could wait for people to make court applications from first instance, up to Courts of Appeal, up to the SCC.

The next question, of course, is "but is there any way that the SCC would uphold the traditional definition along side a parallel civil union process"? Surprisingly, this answer is not a simple as one might think. In fact, if it was simple, in my view the SCC would have just answered question #4 on the Liberal government reference.

Assuming that the SCC finds the traditional definition to be a breach of s. 15 (inequality before the law based on sexual orientation) they will then have to apply s. 1 to determine if such a limit (on a gay person's individual rights) can be "demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society".

Considering that democracies such as the U.S. and Britain have "civil unions" but not out-right same-sex marriage, and that Canada is currently one of about 3 or 4 places in the world with such re-defined marriage, this question is a toss-up.

I am reminded of cases that I have dealt with where individuals of certain religious persuasions have tried to avoid having photos taken for drivers' licences...the argument simply being that they are forced to choose between driving and their religion, and no one else has to so that is a s. 15 breach being inequality before the law.

Many courts have answered this issue by stating that driving is a privilege, not a right, and therefore, photo requirements are a reasonable limit on the freedoms of the individuals who don't believe in having photos taken, and therefore not unconstitutional.

Since marriage is not a right, but a privilege, there is potentially sound legal reasoning that could allow the SCC to say that the traditional definition of marriage along with same-sex "civil unions" passes Charter scrutiny.

If this happened, then the law would stand as constitutional. If the SCC ruled the other way and struck the traditional marriage definition down, then I suspect at that point, Harper would simply leave it at that.

As such, his unequivocal promise that he will never use the notwithstanding clause on the issue of SSM makes perfect sense, and is absolutely legally viable.

Whether it is advisable or necessary is another thing altogether...as both of us (and I suspect many other Canadians who favoured the original definition) consider this to be a ship long-since sailed.

FTA

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Homosexuality has existed in virtually all cultures since recorded history. We live in a SECULAR society. No religion can prempt any word in the legal sense.  Do we let any religious group define what "GOD" or "priest" is if used in a legal context? Thankfully the government stays away from use of these words in legislation.

Unfortunately it didn't have the good sense to do so for "marriage".

Renegade,

You are way wrong on this point. Our history is one of being a Christian nation and it is only recently that we have become unwilling to recognize that fact in order to fully appease minority interests.

Here is the preamble from the beloved Charter of Rights and Freedoms:

SCHEDULE B

CONSTITUTION ACT, 1982

PART I

CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:

Take my word for it, the Supreme God being referred to here is the Christian one.

I'm not saying we should be an intolerant society, guided only by Christian values, but I think the point being made by Betsy is that we ought not completely toss Christian values aside just to please minority groups.

FTA

FTA, I stand corrected. Thank-you for pointing it out. I was not aware that the preamble of the Charter included a reference to God.

Personally, I find it unwise that they chose to do so. The preamble is ambiguious and does not define what the "supremacy of God" means. It is also intolerant of other faiths.

Thankfully the SC justices have chose to ignore the preamble in their interpretations. Here's an interesting read: Canadian Judges Ignore Charter Preamble on “the supremacy of God”, Says Constitutional Expert

During the panel discussion, Brown was asked about how the preamble of the Charter of Rights might help to resolve this cultural collision. The preamble reads that Canada is founded “on the rule of law and the supremacy of God.”

“What the court does is ignore it,” Brown said.

While judges have written at length about the rule of law, they have shied away from the supremacy of God “although they had the opportunity to do so,” he said.

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Take my word for it, the Supreme God being referred to here is the Christian one.

Gee, I always thought there was just one God, which was the creator of everybody: muslims, jews, hindus, etc. But I'll take your word for it.

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Tolerance....should swing both ways. Couldn't the gay community show tolerance to those who feel so strongly about the definition of marriage?

Man and woman living for more than a year, isn't that called "Common-law marriage?"

Anyway, the deed was done. I really did not intend to dig it up...it just came up as an example. However, I'll never forget it was the Liberals who put the final nail on the institution of marriage as we knew it, along with the support of the NDP.

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The institution of marriage as we knew it? Pleease. Again, why are you not out crusading to reinstate the previous laws for divorce? Why are you not boycotting advertisers of FOX TV shows like Married by America? I don't see how my heterosexual marriage is in any way affected by SSM. Even if I had something against homosexuality, I think I could summon the strength to mind my own business enough to let them live as they want to live.

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I think our country is changing. And while our preamble implies a Christian Deity, it may be necessary to adjust our beliefs and perhaps our constitution to include other denominations and religions, especially the more diverse our society becomes. As BubberMiley indicates, should our Supreme Being not include all faiths?

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