MARRIAGE DIGEST: Al Gore affirms 'gay love,' now 'gay marriage'?; Canadian court sides with religious freedom
LOS ANGELES (BP)--Former Vice President Al Gore delivered the keynote speech at a homosexual group's dinner in late March, and while he didn't directly mention "gay marriage," he implied that he supported its eventual legalization.
Gore spoke March 25 at a gala dinner in Los Angeles for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest homosexual activist organization. HRC supports "gay marriage."
Saying there are "many kinds of love," Gore referenced the "gay marriage" ceremonies performed at San Francisco in early 2004, and then said, according to a transcript: "[S]ome reacted with hatred and anger. What I saw that was just overwhelming was the love, the joy, the purity of the excitement that that love was being honored.
"It is that love, after all, that is at the heart of why everybody is here. That is what must be honored and respected. Your right to fall in love with who you fall in love with. And your right to expect that that will be recognized with the same dignity and honor that love is recognized for other couples."
A transcript of Gore's speech was posted on IN Los Angeles Magazine's website. The California Supreme Court eventually invalidated the San Francisco "marriages."
"You must have the right to be who you are, just as I have the right to be who I am," Gore told the audience. "As I was on the way here, I reflected on why is there so much controversy about the question of equality for gays and lesbians. Why? This fight has been so long and so hard for something that is so simple and so right."
Gore then said that Americans in the future will view the current debate over homosexuality in bewilderment. The nation will evolve, he added.
"[A] future generation will look back and truly wonder how this could have happened [this controversy], just as we look back and wonder how some of the strange practices that embody such horrific injustice in ages past but never have been tolerated -- they will look back at this period of time and feel puzzled and they will see and understand that the vision that has brought all of us here inspires a passionate devotion to justice and necessary change and the feeling of camaraderie among us all," he said.
"... You know that what you are engaged in is the furtherance of a vision that is true and just and it does require the evolution of consciousness along a pathway that is a logical extension of what the United States of America has always promised to humankind. You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. And the United States of America will, at some point say, 'What you are asking is what you shall receive.'"
When running for president in 2000 Gore said he opposed "gay marriage" but supported Vermont-style civil unions. He also stated his support for the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law signed by President Clinton that prevents the federal government from recognizing "gay marriage" and gives states the option of doing the same.
But since leaving office, Gore has been more outspoken about his views, some of which are more liberal than the ones he espoused in 2000. In addition, since the 2000 election "gay marriage" supporters have made significant progress in the U.S. and worldwide. Massachusetts began recognizing "gay marriage" in 2004, and Canada legalized it in 2005.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM WIN IN CANADA -- In a victory for religious freedom, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal unanimously ruled April 13 that a Canadian man did not violate the law when he purchased a newspaper ad that included Bible verses condemning homosexuality. The decision overturned rulings by lower courts, which had said the man, Hugh Owens, broke the law.
The advertisement at the center of the controversy was printed in 1997 in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. It listed Bible verses from Romans, Leviticus and 1 Corinthians on one side, an "=" sign in the middle and two stick men holding hands on the other side. A circle with a slash across it covered the stick figures.
Previously, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission ruled that the ad violated the provincial human rights code, and it ordered Owens to pay $1,500 each to three homosexuals who had filed a complaint. The code prohibits the publication of statements that "ridicule, belittle or otherwise affront the dignity of" people based on their "sexual orientation."
In his opinion, Saskatchewan Court of Appeal Justice Richards wrote that while the advertisement was "bluntly presented and doubtless upsetting to many, the essential message conveyed ... is not one which involves the ardent emotions and strong sense of detestation, calumny and vilification required."
Christian conservatives in Canada praised the decision.
“This is a clear victory for Christians who have in recent years been marginalized in speaking out publicly on issues of morality and Christian family values and beliefs," Ruth Ross, executive director of the Christian Legal Fellowship in Canada, said in a statement. “What this decision confirms is that passages contained in the Holy Bible, the foundation of our faith, cannot and should not in themselves be deemed hate literature.”
AMENDMENT PICKS UP VOTES -- The federal Marriage Protection Amendment picked up four additional votes in the 2004 election and likely will get at least 52 votes this summer, The Hill newspaper reported April 12. While that still is short of the 67 votes needed to pass a constitutional amendment, it provides something of a psychological victory for conservatives.
In 2004, the amendment received only 48 votes on a procedural vote.
Freshmen Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Mel Martinez (Fla.), John Thune (S.D.) and David Vitter (La.) all are co-sponsors of the amendment, which would protect the natural definition of marriage and prevent courts from legalizing "gay marriage."
Constitutional amendments require the passage of two-thirds of the House and Senate and three-quarters of the states.
The amendment is S.J. Res. 1.
For more information about the national debate over "gay marriage," visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage