Dr. Dawg

Same-sex marriage: "what-ifs" and inadmissible compromise

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SSM slap upside.jpg

Perhaps the most bizarre comment I’ve seen so far on the recent Saskatchewan court ruling upholding the obligation of public employees to do the job for which they are being paid:

When same sex marriages begin to produce children, then I will support them. Until then ……………… Further, what if your Mom or Dad had went the same sex marriage route?

The “what-if” has been a pet peeve of mine ever since the “pro-lifers” started using this form of argument decades ago—“what if your mother has aborted you?”

Indeed. And what if she had had a headache that night? What if she and her husband had been practising the Vatican-approved rhythm method? Sounds like a promising line of argument for the “every sperm is sacred” crew, but a lamentably unconvincing moral argument for everyone else.

I leave philosophically-inclined readers to speculate on the ontological (and moral) status of possible worlds, but would simply point out that such thinking, taken to its logical conclusion, not only eliminates abortion but—because every action or refusal to act might conceivably have moral consequences—imposes a kind of agonized paralysis on the human condition.

Meanwhile, the Saskatchewan government is considering an ingenious work-around, which the court decision seemed to invite:

[T]he court’s written decision raises the possibility of a “single-entry-point” system, where a couple wanting to get married would deal with a central office instead of directly contacting individual marriage commissioners.

The court decision, which cautioned such a system may not ultimately pass a full constitutional test, said a commissioner who didn’t want to perform same-sex marriages because of his or her religious beliefs could make that known to the director of the central office, who, in turn, could take that into account when giving the couple a list of available commissioners.

Ah, that good old Canadian drive to compromise, even when the Charter guarantee of equality under the law is involved. How soon would it be before marriage commissioners could provide shopping-lists to their supervisors?

Just tick the appropriate squares: “Exclusions: a) same-sex marriages: b) interracial marriages; c) Catholic-Protestant marriages; d) Other__. “

And why limit the free choice of bigots to public employees? City rental agencies could collect similar information from anxious landlords and route requests for accommodation accordingly. Ditto store clerks, and the staff of lunch counters.

Nope. Won’t wash. There are some things that should never be susceptible to compromise, and human rights top the list. Saskatchewan lawmakers should squelch that mischievous—and deeply subversive—suggestion, and move on.

UPDATE: So fire him, already.

[H/t CC]

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on January 11, 2011 11:13 AM.

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