OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Votes

And Now, A Warning From Canada

June 27th, 2011

A man stares at a rainbow warning sign.

So, I hear that New York State has finally legalized same-sex marriage. That’s fantastic news!

Throughout the debate, however, many people were wondering aloud about the consequences—both direct and indirect—that should be expected. Some of the predictions are downright dire.

I think I can chime in here. The first legal same-sex marriages in Canada happened in 2003, eight years ago—and it’s been nearly six years since Canada legalized same-sex marriage nationwide via parliamentary vote. In that sense, looking at Canada is a little bit like looking into the future. I think, therefore, that I should warn all you New Yorkers about the consequences that same-sex marriage will bring.

For easy reference and discussion, I’ve compiled each consequence into an exhaustive, numbered list. New York will experience each of these consequences, and I encourage other states to think long and hard about each of the items on this list before deciding to go down the path of same-sex marriage as well.

So, without further ado, if you’re ready, I present the complete of consequences of legal same-sex marriage:

  1. Same-sex couples can marry.

There you go. Now no one can say that they haven’t been informed.

Congratulations, again, to all my friends in New York. Keep fighting, and all the other states will follow!

UN Finally Backs Human Rights For Gays

June 20th, 2011

We at the UN are pleased to release this list of places you must flee from immediately.

The United Nations, for the first time in history, endorsed the equal rights of GLBT people worldwide, condemning any country who discriminates or harms people for their sexual orientation.

Well, it’s about time!

The resolution passed only narrowly, with 23 votes in favour, 19 against, and 3 abstentions. Nonetheless, it’s solid evidence that the world is becoming more tolerant. Countries that voted in favour were: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and Uruguay.

If you’ve noticed that Canada is not on this list, don’t panic! Canada simply isn’t on the UN’s Human Rights Council this year.

Speaking of membership, though, here’s a neat little list of countries that have—as far as I’m concerned—announced themselves as basically having no business being on the UN’s Human Rights Council to begin with: Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and Uganda.

So, if any of you are planning a summer vacation to Nigeria, I’d like to suggest that you perhaps consider somewhere like, maybe, France instead.

Tories Raise The Spectre Of A Same-Sex Marriage Ban

June 13th, 2011

En nomine Harperus, matrimonium gayus invitamus resurgere a moruis! Lorem ipsum!!

Well, that didn’t take very long, did it?

Just weeks after Canada’s federal election, delegates at the Conservative Party Convention have raised a dead social issue over the weekend, discussing and voting on a resolution to ban same-sex marriage in Canada.

While a same-sex marriage ban had already been official Conservative Party policy, delegates readily voted to re-affirm it, adding in new measures that would let religious organisations deny facilities and services to same-sex couples. The resolution also included a wording change to clarify that this is Conservative Party policy, and not necessarily official government policy. The latter change was likely the government’s attempt to distance itself from contentious social issues early in their mandate, although it’s now perfectly clear what the party’s goals are overall.

So, what does all this mean for the GLBT community in Canada? First, that Canada’s governing party is not here for you. This is hardly a surprise, considering the party’s history of hostility toward GLBT citizens, but with Stephen Harper’s attempts to paint the Conservatives as Canada’s new, natural governing party, a lot of people have forgotten the party’s social conservative roots.

More worryingly, though, the overwhelming support of this resolution from within the party suggests that a backbencher’s bill to ban same-sex marriage, if introduced, would easily find the numbers required to pass, even if the government would rather keep it off the agenda.

Now, with nine consecutive provincial court rulings affirming that equal marriage is a right guaranteed by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a bill to rescind these rights would face some—shall we say—difficulties. So, let’s put on our cowboy boots for a moment and imagine what, exactly, would be required here.

First, it’s important to note that the Supreme Court of Canada has never ruled on the constitutionality of a same-sex marriage ban. The government is in a position to appoint judges that could dissent from the individual provincial courts’ longstanding consensus, and could conceivably do just that. Perhaps weirder, even if the Supreme Court sided with the nine earlier court rulings in favour of equal marriage rights, an obscure constitutional clause could be used by the government to strip them away anyway in five-year intervals without legal recourse.

This isn’t unheard of. In late 2000, Alberta’s Progressive Conservative government, under the leadership of Ralph Klein, invoked Section 33 of the Charter—the Notwithstanding Clause—to ban same-sex marriage in the province. By using this clause, the government effectively acknowledged that their law violated the Charter of Rights, but allowed it to remain on the books completely immune from court challenges for a period of five years (at which point they would have had the option pass it again). The only reason the government didn’t invoke the clause a second time in 2005 was because marriage is federal jurisdiction and by that time Paul Martin’s Liberal government had already granted equal marriage rights to citizens nationwide.

Today, Canada’s federal government is formed by a party in support of banning same-sex marriage, and the Notwithstanding clause is available at their discretion. So, despite challenges, they could absolutely take away your right to marry if they wanted.

Now, are any of these doomsday scenarios likely? I’m going to say no. If I had to bet on it, I’d say the government’s desire to stay in power outweighs the cries from their base to force the wedding ring off my finger. Use of the Notwithstanding clause would likely appear mean-spirited and unpopular to the Canadian public, and it would be unusual for the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn nine consecutive lower court rulings—certainly a phenomenon for the history books.

Nonetheless, the fact that there is landslide majority support within Canada’s governing party to venture down this path re-confirms what I’ve always suspected: The Conservative Party is full of giant douches. So hold on to your hats, kids! Even if all this party policy nonsense turns out to be the idle threats that I suspect they are, I still foresee four years of obnoxious barium saline suspension waves coming our way. Yuck.

Anglican Church Finally Approves Same-Sex Blessings

June 1st, 2011

A stained glass image depicts the sacred flogging of the homosexualicus.

The Anglican Church in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island approved a motion last week that would allow for individual churches to bless same-sex couples.

The Anglican Church offers blessings for various things, including weddings, births, graduations, and even inanimate objects like boats and pets, but until now same-sex couples had been an issue of particular contention.

I’m happy that gay couples have advanced to the same level of respect as Rover and the H.M.S. Slapafore within the Anglican hierarchy, but it sure took a lot of kicking and screaming to get there. At least one participant in the vote was reported to have become so distraught with the results as to have fled the scene entirely.

Still, I take this as a good sign that things are moving forward, even within the religious community. Why, at this rate, the Catholic Church will be offering same-sex blessings in only several hundred thousand decades!

Harper Votes Against Trans Rights Bill

February 11th, 2011

Canada’s historic trans rights bill, C-389, passed its third and final reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by NDP MP Bill Siksay, explicitly adds gender identity to the list of identifiable groups protected against discrimination in housing, employment, and services in the Canadian Human Rights Act. While that’s excellent news, what’s not so excellent was the bill’s narrow vote margin: 143 to 135 against.

So, which party had the most Nay votes, I ask uselessly?

Why, it’s the Conservatives. In fact, only six Tory MPs present on Wednesday voted in favour of the bill, with the rest voting against it (either explicitly or through pairing). The Nay votes included Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who until Wednesday hadn’t previously voted on the bill.

I guess that means we shouldn’t be holding our breath for his It Gets Better video.

The bill now moves on to the Conservative-controlled senate, where it’s future is a tad uncertain. Nonetheless, trans Canadians have a reason to celebrate this week. Enjoy the victory; finally the missing T is well on its way to be added to the existing equal rights protections for GLB Canadians!

UN Removes Gays From Execution Protections

November 26th, 2010

UNjust

The United Nations has voted to remove sexual orientation from a resolution against immoral executions. Sexual orientation had been on the list for the past ten years, alongside religion, ethnicity, and language as unacceptable reasons to execute civilians.

The motion, which was introduced by Morocco and Mali, was supported by 79 countries, opposed by 70, and there were 17 to abstain.

Looking over the list, I found very few surprises, with the exception of South Africa, which voted in favour of removing gays from execution protections despite having legalized same-sex marriage in 2006 via parliamentary vote. I’m not under the impression that South Africa has solved all of its homophobia problems, but their vote is a pretty bizarre contradiction and certainly a large step backwards.

At any rate, if you need a good reason why human rights issues should never be put to a vote, this seems like a pretty compelling demonstration. The deletion sends a baffling message to the world, easily interpretable as a sort of OK to executing gays simply for having a different sexual orientation.

Good thing the UN doesn’t have any real power. Still, I guess this means I should cancel my vacation to Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Dar-Salam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. (And I was so looking forward to it, too.)

(Special thanks to Slap reader Alex for the story!)

Tories Motion To Repeal Same-Sex Marriage

December 6th, 2006

Phantom Mare

Today’s the big day! The day where gay people and anti-gay crazies unite in watching a mind-numbingly boring debate on CPAC. Ah, what fun we’ll all have! The debate, of course, is over this motion:

That this house call on government to introduce legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage without affecting civil unions and while respecting existing same-sex marriages.

An interesting take on the word “respecting,” as I would figure declaring one’s marriage a mistake and ensuring it never happens again isn’t terrifically respectful. But, I digress.

The stakes are high; the effects, annoying. If one side loses, their well-fought rights will be rescinded with precident-setting legislation (then, uh, later re-instated by the courts over gross constitutional violations). If the other side loses… Well, they’re not affected in the slightest.

Either way, we’ll be treated to some highly entertaining copy from the anti-gay lobby. I guess that’s worth a little tax money, no?

The Disastrous Consequences Of Same-Sex Marriage

December 1st, 2006

Same-Sex Marriage Consequences

December 6th—that’s the day the motion to re-open the same-sex marriage debate will be brought forward. The vote itself can happen right then, the day after, or after the Christmas break. And you know what that means! We’re one step closer to the 2006/2007 Marriage Debate Drinking Game!

The Rules:

Drink the specified number of shots whenever the following words are uttered in the House of Commons:

  • Traditional (1 drink)
  • Children (1 drink)
  • Polygamy (2 drinks)
  • Sanctity (2 drinks)
  • Social Experiment (3 drinks)
  • Constituent Survey (3 drinks)
  • I, Stephen Harper, will protect minority rights and the Charter (Your body-weight in kilograms divided by 3)

Words must be recorded in Hansard to qualify. As an added bonus, the first person to predict the number of drinking times correctly gets to take an additional shot.

Alberta Race More Pivotal Than A Pivoting Pivot

November 27th, 2006

Alberta Leadership Race

So how far can hysterical anti-gayness get you in a race for Alberta’s premier? Well, pretty far, actually!

Ted Morton came in a close second in the latest vote, confirming my suspicions that Mountain Standard Time is actually several decades in the past.

Frontrunner Jim Dinning, while still pretty darn anti-gay, resembles a mixture of Snagglepuss and Charles Nelson Reilly in comparison to Morton, whose unnatural affinity for anti-gay laws has earned him the title of “Da Man,” put to the tune of a SUV-dealership jingle. I’m not kidding.

The next (and hopefully final) vote is on December 2.

So, could there be an upside to a Morton-led province? Well, like I’ve always said—if you can’t be a shining inspiration, a horrible warning is just as effective.