3/13/2005

Gays on the cusp of full equality...in Canada

From Glen Murray in the Toronto Star:
The Ontario government passed legislation the previous week that made the province the first place in the world where gays and lesbians would be fully equal citizens. It has been a long road, paved with small changes.
...We must realize that there are not two classes of equal. We learned what "separate but equal" was in the '50s south of the border. From that we understand there are no separate but equal families. There must be just "equal."
What may be hard still for some is to recognize the other side of freedom of religion. I am a Christian. I live in two cities and part of two congregations — one Anglican and one Metropolitan Community Church. Both believe marriage is open to people of the same sex. This is my most fundamental freedom. This is about more than a civil union. It is about the freedom to fully practice our faith.
...I cannot have imagined that this would have been possible 30 years ago. But two significant events helped pave the way. The gay community learned some important lessons from feminist teachings — not to be "other defined" but to define ourselves. Second, the AIDS epidemic forced many people to recognize how many of their neighbours and friends were gay.
Without those two events I don't think we would have seen gay and lesbian people go from having no human rights to full equality in one generation.
Our humanity is found in our ability to treat others, as we ourselves would want to be treated. This is what makes our society civil. This change came as result of the human rights charter and a generation of gays and lesbians who started to say, "I and we," instead of, "they and them."

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