It is not often that Canada acts like the Canary in the mine shaft but one has to wonder if the LDS church took what happened in Canada and internalized it. It almost appears if the fight in California, is D-Day to Canada’s Dieppe.
I do not make that comparison lightly. Dieppe was a fiasco, billed as a raid to test German strength in France, it was one of the biggest blunders by the Allies in World War II leading to the capture and death of thousands of Canadian troops. The Gay marriage fight in Canada carried out by the LDS church and its allies in various communities took on a Dieppe style buffoonery as they failed in every way possible to understand the political dynamic in Canada, and get ahead of it.
In Canada the biggest dynamic in politics is Quebec. Quebecers and what they think seems to always out weigh most other considerations in the debate. If Quebec thinks it is a good or bad idea to support something, almost without fail the Liberal Party of Canada, and the seperatist Bloq Quebecois will support them.
In Canadian politics as well their is one place for social conservatives to vote. Considering their are three other major parties, Liberals, New Democrats and Bloq Quebecios who win enough seats to effect votes in the Parliament and in most cases are far from the role most social conservatives would like. In fact within the Liberal party their is a fine tradition of using the social conservatives as a hammer to bludgeon the Conservatives.
In Canada, during the 1990s Gays and Lesbians received protected status, in the early part of this decade they received social and civil union style protection for their relationships. During all this at no point were people consulted with any real means. The last national referendum happened in 1992 and the people almost without fail voted against all the parties that supported the Yes side.
So there was never any chance that the voters would get a chance to choose. The closest they ever got was the 2004 election (which was about a lot of things but Gay marriage was not one of them).
So, what did those parties fighting Gay marriage legislation, noted as Bill C-38 in 2005 fail to do.
One misunderstanding was the role provinces played in determining national agendas. While Canada is a strong centralist Federal state it is influenced on social agendas by provinces. Abortion legislation was first challenged in Quebec, for example. The division of marriage, where the Feds determined the definition of Marriage and the provinces determined who got a license was a cross conflict waiting to happen.
But the forces fighting the legislation I think only realized it late in the game. Most of the focus was on the courts. Court rulings, as in the US, effected most of the changes to social legislation. Canada, like the USA has a written and interpreted constitution. Prior to 1982 Canada was under normal English Common Law where the supremacy of the legislature outweighed the Judicial. In 1982 that all changed.
The Canadian Constitution has been molded by challenges under each of the various pieces of social legislation. Discussion of what the “founders” meant does not happen a lot because most of the them are still alive.
Also a key component to the Gay Marriage fight was a program of the Canadian government called the Court Challenges grant. This funding went to groups to help fund legal challenges to the Constitution. Socially liberal groups have been using the funding since its inception to try and build protection for various issues important to them. In other words it gave that side an advantage not had by many others.
So with a well funded opposition, the court cases began to unfold. As they did Members of Parliament (MPs) tried to also move the legislation forward to advance the same causes. Each side insured support for the other through legal and political functions.
to be continued…