Ian Hunter on Courts, Churches & “Gay Marriage”
For what is probably a minority within a minority—homosexuals who want to enter a traditional marriage—the recent unanimous decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Halpern et al. v. A. G. of Canada is good news. The court held the existing definition of marriage as a lifelong union of a man and a woman to be contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Henceforth, marriage means the union of any two “persons”—but why only persons and why only two is left unclear. Whether this result is good news for Canada, we shall all wait and see: The court has spoken; we, its vassals, obey.
The decision is also good news for those Canadians fed up with democracy. After all, the political process is lengthy and frustrating. It is hard to persuade one’s fellow citizens, and the resulting political compromises are maddening. How much quicker, how much nicer, to have anonymous judges answer the great existential question: How shall we then live? It saves time, debate, and especially thought.
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Ian Hunter is Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario. He is the author of biographies of Robert Burns, Hesketh Pearson, and Malcolm Muggeridge.
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