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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dr. Morton’s Desire to Discriminate

Dr. Morton’s Private Member’s Bill 208 formally and ironically called the Protection of Fundamental Freedoms (Marriage) Statutes Amendment Act, 2006 is potentially up for debate and Third Reading to could become law in the late August “revival” session of the Legislature.
He proposes that no one who speaks ill of same sex marriages can be liable under Alberta’s Human Rights legislation, that anyone licensed by the province to perform marriages and who feels to officiate at a same-sex marriage “would violate the person’s religious beliefs or moral values… No action lies against a member of the clergy or a marriage commissioner who refuses to solemnize a marriage between persons of the same sex.”
He goes further to say any student or teacher who does not want to participate in teachings that involve same sex marriage discussion can opt out of responsibilities to the public and minority individuals with constitutional rights protecting there sexual preferences without penalty. I don’t think so!!!
This issue is settled law in Canada and broadly supported by Canadians – and yes Albertans too – as evidenced by numerous polling results. Minorities have their rights and ought not to be subject to the tyranny of the majority. Fair enough. However this is an example of one minority trying to impose their values on another minority. It is time for the majority to speak up and not allow this to happen either.
Parents who do not want their kids to understand and accept people who are gays or lesbians and to erode their rights I guess can send them off to certain private schools. Churches have already been exempted from performing same sex marriages because they are actually private institutions. There are already protections, choice and options for the religious beliefs and moral values argument fofor those who feel the need to discriminate.
However, teachers and marriage commissioners are licensed by the government on behalf of all the citizens of Alberta , regardless of status and sexual preferences, and therefore, they have a public duty. Consequently they ought not to be afforded such opting out options to allow them to discriminate against a minority’s rights inside a public system. It is settled law that under our Charter such discrimination based on sexual preference is illegal.
Dr. Morton’s Bill 208 is not only outside the provincial jurisdiction because it violates the Charter; it is pure and simple discrimination against a minority who has constitutional protections for those rights. Modern, cosmopolitan, enlightened, inclusive and educated Albertans are surely not going to allow this travesty to happen.
Daveberta’s blog content today gave me some hope and an opportunity to not let this happen and to demonstrate our tolerance and concern for minorities. Give him a read and set some time aside on August 28 in the afternoon when Bill 208 is expected to be heard in the
Legislature and also be aware there is a news conference apposing Bill 208 set for August 25.
This is an opportunity to engage as a citizen – those of you who follow this blog have heard me expound on that before. Oh yes…I also say “that the world is run by those who show up.” I am unfortunately out of town on holidays but I will be following these events with interest – I hope many of you who are in Edmonton or can come to Edmonton will “show up.”