Now there’s a sensational headline, for sure.
It’s a nod to Canada’s most mobile pundit, Andrew Coyne, who downsized fellow journalists for over-hyping last week’s same-sex marriage kerfuffle.
Coyne has a column again in the National Post, though he may still be with Maclean’s, but definitely not with The Globe and Mail, though he’s still a stalwart on CBC-TV’s “At Issue” panel.
You can imagine his osprey-like glower as he wrote Friday’s Post column, where he described the controversy as “a toxic mix of shrewd lawyering, shoddy reporting and partisan opportunism.”
Ink and irk
He reserved most of his irk for The Globe, which broke the story that federal lawyers were arguing same-sex couples from abroad could not file for divorce in Canada, even though they were married in Canada in the first place.
The implication was that their marriages were no longer recognized. Predictably, that caused something of an uproar.
Coyne’s complaint is that The Globe — and “the frothing mob it aroused” — supposedly inferred the case was some backdoor ploy by the Harper government to nullify gay marriages. In reality, it was just a legal loophole that created the problem.
Playing well with others
Canada has to strike a balance with other countries when it comes to conflicting laws. It must take into account that gay marriages are not recognized in the U.S. and Britain, for example, even if couples living there were married in Canada.
The Harper cabinet played no part in the matter. In fact, Harper took pains to assure Canadians that the law would be fixed to maintain the validity of these cross-border marriages.
Coyne was astonished, it seems, that reporters didn’t get an immediate, sound legal opinion before setting off alarm bells.
Perhaps, but was it unreasonable for those reading or hearing about the story to surmise that perhaps. just possibly, just maybe, the Conservative government might want to undermine same-sex weddings?
Harper made no bones about his views in a letter to the Calgary Herald in 1994: “I do not support the special legal recognition of same-sex relationships, the compulsory provision of marital benefits to same-sex couples, or a number of other possible implications of such legislation.”
And in a 1995 Canadian Press article: “Liberals may talk about minorities. But undermining the traditional definition of marriage is an assault on the beliefs of all cultural and religious communities who have come to this country.”
And Harper is arguably not among the most homophobic of the Conservative caucus.
The real irony here, of course, is that the people who so vehemently fought same-sex marriages, when painted into a corner, were forced to validate them all over again.
There you go, Adam and Steve. Stephen Harper now pronounces you husband and husband — again. Live long and prosper.
Not only that, but the whole affair puts the prime minister squarely in the crosshairs of His Holy Papalness.
Only a few days before Marriage-gate, Benedict XVI told an audience at the Vatican that liberal family values would be the ultimate undoing of humanity. And by that, he meant same-sex marriages and gay adoption.
“The family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman … is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society,” said His Holiness, quoted in an Agence France-Presse article.
Funny how political pragmatism can sometimes force even the most fierce dogmatist into rolling over like a puppy.
Peter Jackson is The Telegram’s commentary editor.