CBC News Feb 2, 2005
Bill C-38 the Same Sex Marriage Act passed the house this week. It was the last act of parliament prior to the summer recess. The gnashing of teeth, whining and breast beating of the Alberta Conservatives; both provincial and Federal, both Klein and Harper, was predictable and expected. Alberta the bastion of Republican Lite Politics in Canada produced the usual red neck response from the usual suspects.
But it also led to something more shocking, gay bashing. Not just one incident but three, in the provinces capital city, Edmonton. What made it shocking was that Redmonton is a liberal left city opposed to the vast drift to the right of the rest of the province. The incidents didn't happen in Calgary home to the redneck polticians of the right but in Edmonton; which has an active gay community and a gay city councillor.
The attacks took place as the Premier's made his predictable statements bashing gay marriage. While his pal Harper insisted that his Conservatives (the vast majority from Alberta) will repeal the act, if they ever get elected to be the government (woe is us).
This fueled hate filled attacks on two gay men in Edmonton. Edmonton cops investigate attacks on gays, activists blame Klein. I was shocked further to discover it was two acquantinces of mine that had been attacked. Long time gay activists who worked for human rights and with AIDS programs in the city, one of whom is also active in the NDP.
Murray Billet, a leader in Edmonton's gay community, said politicians openly opposing same-sex rights filters down to the public."When we have a provincial government that behaves the way it does, in such a homophobic manner, the verbal kind of gay-bashing, it almost endorses and validates some of the narrow-minded activity of some of the young people in our community," he said.
Edmonton police investigate attacks on gay men CBC News Thu, 30 Jun 2005
Welcome to Alberta home of hatespeech, homophobia and gay bashing.
But it doesn't stop with just with thugs in the street, in this hot house climate of homophobia even the godly stoop to gutter politics. Witness the comments made by Catholic Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary who stated; " Since homosexuality, adultery, prostitution and pornography undermine the foundations of the family, the basis of society, then the State must use its coercive power to proscribe or curtail them in the interests of the common good."
Verbal thuggery is no less gay bashing than a fist in the face. And gay bashing, which is what opposition to gay marriage is, makes strange bedfellows. When gay activists as well as the media challenged Bishop Fred's outrageous comments, he was defended not only by the Catholic Right Wing but by the Nazi 's as well.
This is Ralph's constiuency, as well as Harpers. The fundamentalist religious right, and the anti-semitic/anti-gay/conspiracy theorist/social credit right wing of Southern Alberta.
Always the political opportunists they use this constiuency to stay in power while knowing full well that their promises to over turn same sex marriage are hollow.
'There are no legal weapons. There's nothing left in the arsenal,'' Klein said. ''We're out on a lurch.''
Alberta may stop solemnizing marriages: Klein
CBC News Wed, 29 Jun 2005
Mr. Harper has previously vowed to repeal the same-sex marriage law if he becomes prime minister, although on Tuesday, he only went so far as to say a Tory government would "revisit" the issue.
Minority government 'got the job done' PM: Says he'd fight an election on gay marriage
CanWest News Service, June 30, 2005
The right wing in Canada used to be centred in Southern Ontario, but when Ralph came to power in Alberta they moved here. The National Citizens Coalition, the Fraser Institute, all moved to Alberta where right wing politics of Ralph and Preston Mannings Reform Party gave renewed vigour to the new right. And along with the right wing think tanks and business/corporate poltical lobby came the the hardcore fascist right wing like the Canadian League of Rights.
These right wing former Social Credit activists have always focused on hating Trudeau and the Liberals because they dropped the old Ensign flag, introduced bi-lingualism, and legalised homosexuality.
Their far right politics are reflected in the gay marriage debate by Alberta MP's in Harpers Reform/Alliance/Conservative Party as well as in Ralph's caucus.
Alberta MP David Chatters lamented what he described as the country's "moral decay." He blamed former prime minister Pierre Trudeau's promise of a just society as the start of that decay in the 1960s.
Harper to revisit law if he forms gov.
Conservative party leader says his party will revisit the same-sex marriage law
Canadian Press Tuesday, June 28, 2005
December 22, 1967:
Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau proposes amendments to the Criminal Code which, among other things, would relax the laws against homosexuality. Discussing the amendments Trudeau says,"It's certainly the most extensive revision of the Criminal Code since the 1950s and, in terms of the subject matter it deals with, I feel that it has knocked down a lot of totems and over-ridden a lot of taboos and I feel that in that sense it is new. It's bringing the laws of the land up to contemporary society I think. Take this thing on homosexuality. I think the view we take here is that there's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation. I think that what's done in private between adults doesn't concern the Criminal Code. "
The extreme right in Alberta has an agenda to oppose human rights based on sexual orientation, which they call the gay agenda. They will go to any exterme to defend their manliness,and their rights as patriarchs. They opposed Jews, Catholics and interracial integration in the past. Today they oppose human rights for gays and lesbians.
Gay bashing in print leads to gay bashing in the streets of Edmonton. This extreme homophobia of the right has its origins in their Nazi predecessors. And like the brown shirts of the past these thugs can justify their actions because politicans like Klein and Harper encourage them.
Ted Morton, one of the former emince de gris behind both Perston Manning and Stephen Harper and the Reform/Alliance/Conservative party, is now an MLA and is one of those who has continued to push Klein to oppose same sex marriage. Morton like the rest of his political ilk don't give a fig about marriage being sacred, they are homophobic, they oppose gay rights period. Ted and the boys want some action (Edmonton Sun, July 1)
The Klein government also has a disproportional amount of MLA's that belong to the homophobic religious cult known as Mormonism. Ty Lund is one of those and he has aligned with Morton to push the anti-gay/lesbian agenda of challenging gay rights at every opportunity.
Alberta may still challenge gay marriage in court
CanWest News Service
June 30, 2005
The Alberta government will consider going to court to clarify the rules on gay marriage, even though it is certain to lose the challenge.
The admission came Wednesday after Attorney General Ron Stevens met for two hours with caucus members to discuss their response to the federal same-sex marriage bill, which was passed Tuesday in the House of Commons.
Stevens said Alberta will soon have two seemingly contradictory pieces of legislation on the books. One is a provincial law, saying marriage is solely between a man and a woman. The second is the new federal law which allows same sex couples to marry.
"We can have a court rule on it so we can have absolute clarity as to the relationship of the two pieces of legislation," Stevens said.
But the Supreme Court has already said in this case, the federal law trumps the provincial one. Stevens admitted as much.
"There's no doubt, in my view, that the federal legislation is paramount -- it will rule the day," he said. The decision whether or not to go to court ultimately rests with Government Services Minister Ty Lund. Lund hasn't decided what to do, but a spokeswoman said he will consult with his caucus colleagues in the coming weeks.
Experts questioned the wisdom of challenging a decision that has already been made.
"It's a dangerous and very stupid thing to do," said Sanjeev Anand, a University of Alberta law professor. "When lawyers are called to the bar, they take an oath not to bring vexatious or frivolous claims or applications," Anand said. "This would be right in contravention of those concerns."
Province still looking at fighting same-sex marriage
CBC News Jun 30 2005
Klein knows full well he has lost this battle as he did with the Vriend case, which cost Alberta taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, and resulted in the inevitable decision that yes gays and lesbians have human rights in Canada and provinces are obliged to protect them.
The right wing alliance of anti-abortion/anti-gay/anti-feminists/anti union activists like Real Women oppose homosexuality outright, and opposed gay and lesbian rights. Their influence in both the Klein and Harper Conservatives is significant. They opposed changing the law in Alberta to recognize sexual orientation as being a form of discrimination and they opposed same sex marriage. And they oppose 'forced unionization'. And like the NCC and the Canadian League of Rights, Real Women is based in Alberta with links to Southern Ontario.
It's this unholy coalition of the right that is using the Alberta Conservatives, provincial and federal, to push their right wing agenda disguised as family values. It would be easy to dismiss Klein and Harper as mere political demegauouges and opportunists (as many in the media do). Too easy. This campaign against human rights for gays, lesbians, transgendered and bi people are core to the right wing values of their respective Conservative parties. It goes beyond homophobia and is a polticial campaign of gay bashing. They are opposed the very existance of sexual minorities that are not patriarchical and heterosexual.
When you have Catholic Bishops calling for the state to limit gay rights or worse to have a Catholic Archbishop state that gays and lesbians are part of the "culture of death" (not so subtle reference to AIDS) and these are considered normal reasonable people, then you have a culture of homophobia, where hate speech is allowed and encouraged. The result is gay bashing, in the press and in the streets.
Are these the 'values' Albertan's and Canadians really cherish, I think not.
Alberta may still resist gay marriage
June 30, 2005
EDMONTON -- Alberta's fight to stop gay marriages has been lost, but the justice minister suggested the province may not be ready to throw in the towel just yet.
Ron Stevens said Wednesday that the province is considering going to court to challenge the new federal law that allows gay marriages - even though it knows it will lose the case.
Stevens, who admits personally that he believes such resistance is futile, said the province's government services minister could ask the court to clarify whether the federal law takes precedence over provincial law.
"I know what the outcome will be because the federal legislation, when it becomes law, will determine what marriage is," he said. "It will take precedence to the definition that we have in our marriage act."
When he was asked why the province would bother going to court when it already knows the outcome, Stevens noted there is a political side to the issue which he declined to discuss.
But Keith Brownsey, a political scientist at Calgary's Mount Royal College, said there isn't much doubt that if the Alberta Tories choose the court option, it will be in the interest of maintaining the support it garners from its right-wing Christian supporters.
"They have to be doing it for political reasons to shore up the fundamental evangelical right-wing in the party to make sure it stays loyal to the Conservatives," he said.
"They represent a substantial constituency in this province, but at this point, it seems rather futile."
Even Ted Morton, one of the vocal right-wing Tory members of the legislature, conceded as much after he and six other members of Ralph Klein's caucus met with Stevens and Government Services Minister Ty Lund Wednesday.
Morton suggested that the province should get out of the business of issuing marriage licenses and instead issue "civil union" licenses, leaving marriage to churches.
Both options enraged the Alberta gay and lesbian community.
"In 2005 in Canada it's clearly unacceptable for them to suggest we're anything less than full Canadians," said Murray Billett, Edmonton representative for the advocacy group Canadians for Equal Marriage.
"They are asking us to accept crumbs from the table of equality."
Billett said that it would be "absolutely unacceptable behaviour" for the province to force gays and lesbians to go to court to fight for the right to marry when the Supreme Court of Canada and federal Parliament have already decided the matter.
"I think taxpayers should be absolutely horrified at the thought of this government taking us to court when they know full well they will lose," Billet said.
Human rights lawyer Julie Lloyd said the only reason the government would engage the court process at this time would be - as Premier Ralph Klein suggested Tuesday - for optics.
"It's utterly ridiculous and irresponsible and mean-spirited to use a minority in Alberta for a political end," she said.
The province released a discussion paper Wednesday that examined such things as seeking a constitutional change to enshrine the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
The paper suggested this approach "is unlikely to work" because it would require resolutions in both the House of Commons and the Senate and the legislative assemblies of two-thirds of the provinces, representing more than 50 per cent of the population of Canada.
Thomas Collins, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Edmonton, urged Albertans Wednesday to pray for the strengthening of family life in society and to "resist the culture of death."
"We need to become engaged in the world of popular culture, presently in the grip of fuzzy thinking and unwholesome values," he said in a statement.
© The Canadian Press 2005
KLEIN BLASTED FOR STAND ON GAY MARRIAGE
By Katherine Harding
Friday, July 1, 2005 Page A7 Globe and Mail
EDMONTON -- Members of Edmonton's gay community want Premier Ralph Klein to apologize for his recent comments opposing same-sex marriage, which they say played a role in two gay bashings.
"Words have consequences," Murray Billett, a long-time gay rights activist and member of the police commission, said yesterday. "What Mr. Klein and his government is doing is nothing short of schoolyard bullying."
The provincial Conservative government has long opposed same-sex marriage, and politicians said this week that they would use every legal option to fight new federal legislation legalizing it.
The Edmonton police's hate and bias crimes unit is investigating the two attacks, one of which happened outside city hall, and have made an arrest in one of the cases.
In the most recent case, Robert Smith, 58, and his boyfriend, Guy Cohoon, 43, were holding hands and walking out of a downtown convenience store early Saturday morning when eight men attacked them.
Mr. Smith said they were called faggots and homos, and when he yelled back at them to stop, the group began to chase the men, both of whom are more than six feet tall and 200 pounds. Mr. Cohoon was knocked to the ground and kicked in the head.
Mr. Smith also blames the Klein government for inflaming homophobic sentiments Alberta with its resistance to allowing gay marriage.
"That kind of rhetoric fuels the kind of hatred that we experienced," he said. "When are they going to stop lambasting us with the attitude that, 'Well you may have rights in the rest of the country, but you don't have them here'?"
The other attack took place 11 days ago, during the city's annual gay pride festival. A small group was walking to an event at Edmonton city hall during the afternoon when four men jumped them.
"It was just because of what I was wearing, a fur coat, and how I was walking," Ryan Mackenzie, 21, told the CBC.
Mr. Klein wasn't available for comment yesterday, however, his spokesman denied allegations that Alberta's position against same-sex marriage had anything to do with the attacks.
Jerry Bellikka said the Premier has always made it "clear that there is no place in Alberta for gay-bashing. There is no place in this province for hate crimes."
Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel also expressed his anger about the two attacks on gays.
"Those people should be punished severely and they shouldn't be so homophobic, if that's the right word," he said. "It just shocks me, absolutely shocks me that people act like that."
In 2003, there were 21 reported attacks against gays and lesbians in Edmonton, according to police. In 2004, that number dropped to 13.
Kris Wells, who is a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-Identified and Queer, Edmonton Police Service Liaison Committee, said such attacks -- most of which go unreported -- must stop.
He also accused Alberta's government of promoting intolerance against gays.
"Recently Ralph said in the media that he has run out of weapons in his arsenal to fight same-sex marriage. That language is incredibly violent," Mr. Wells said.
Ralph Klein's Year Long Campaign of Gay Bashing over Same Sex Marriage
Ontario to recognize same-sex marriages
Last updated Jun 11 2003 01:04 PM EDT
TORONTO – Ontario will start registering the marriages of gay and lesbian couples, Ontario Attorney General Norm Sterling said Wednesday morning.
He said Ontario cannot use the not-withstanding clause in the constitution to nullify the court decision, because it ruled against a federal law, not a provincial one.
When Sterling was told Alberta Premier Ralph Klein had threatened to invoke the clause, Sterling said he didn't know what the Klein was talking about.
Elsie Wayne doesn't want gay marriages
Last updated Jun 18 2003 07:06 AM EDT
Wayne says the government should have fought court rulings upholding gay marriages."They probably should have used the notwithstanding clause as Ralph KLein has said he will do, but they're not doing that at this time and definitely we had hoped, the majority of the people had hoped, that they would appeal the decision on Ontario, but they haven't done that either.
Ottawa won't have referendum on same-sex marriage
Last Updated Sun, 12 Dec 2004 17:56:29 EST
Marriage bond between man and woman, Alberta minister says
The federal government has rejected the idea of holding a national referendum on same-sex marriage.
Alberta Premier Ralph Klein suggested the referendum after the Supreme Court said on Thursday that the federal government had the legal right to change the definition of marriage to include gays and lesbians
Klein said he and most Albertans oppose gay and lesbian marriages.
Last week, Alberta Justice Minister Ron Stevens said "The government of Alberta has continually defended the traditional definition of marriage, believing that marriage is deeply rooted in history, culture and religion and is a special bond between a man and a woman."
Alberta passed a law four years ago stating marriage is the union between a man and a woman.
Stevens said that despite the Supreme Court opinion, that law stands and marriage licences will not be granted to same-sex couples in the province.
Same-sex marriage and jurisdiction
CBC News Viewpoint | December 10, 2004
As was expected by most in the legal community, the highest court affirmed that legal capacity for civil marriage is a matter solely within the jurisdiction of federal Parliament pursuant to the division of powers contained in The Constitution Act, 1867. And while changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples will necessarily impact upon provincial powers relating to the performance of marriage, this alone does not oust federal jurisdiction.
Legal advisors to Alberta Premier Ralph Klein might want to pay special attention to this part of the reference, what with Alberta's Marriage Act defining marriage as between a man and a woman. There had previously been some pretty big talk in Alberta about utilizing the charter's notwithstanding clause should the courts find that province's legislative definition to be discriminatory and unconstitutional.
The problem with this little scenario is that any provincial legislation defining marriage is now clearly ultra vires, that is, outside provincial jurisdiction, and would be struck down on those grounds long before any charter analysis took place. And, unfortunately for Alberta, the notwithstanding clause doesn't help with the division of powers.
No Conservative rift on same-sex marriage: Klein
Last updated Dec 21 2004 08:14 AM MST
Premier Ralph Klein says he and federal Conservative Leader Stephen Harper may differ on how to fight same-sex marriage, but that they agree on the fundamentals.
Klein has openly criticized Harper's stance – he is opposed to using the notwithstanding clause – as being too soft, but says there is no rift.
The premier is taking centre stage in the fight against any change in the definition of marriage to include gays and lesbians.
"On the fundamental question, we're on the same wave length," Klein said during a year-end interview. "So there's no rift.
"He believes that the traditional definition of marriage should be maintained. I believe that. The mechanics as to how you go about challenging the proposed legislation – understanding the federal government doesn't have to do that, but if it does – then we're dealing with proposed legislation.
"I would say that Stephen should strongly encourage members of his caucus to vote no. And at least to invoke the notwithstanding clause."
Klein's government has said it will fight any federal legislation, but has admitted it has little legal recourse.
On Dec. 9, the Supreme Court of Canada said that the federal government can change the definition of marriage to include gays and lesbians. Prime Minister Paul Martin said he will introduce legislation in January.