Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fighting for the right to Discriminate

Pandering to Responding to their extremist base's latest hysterical bugbear, Marriage Commissioners being forced to obey the law, the right wing government of Saskatchewan is exploring legalizing government discrimination against gay couples.
The conservative Saskatchewan Party government announced Jul 3 that they will submit two pieces of legislation to the Court of Appeals. Justice minister Don Morgan says he wants the court's opinion on whether the legislation stands up to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"We've given the Court of Appeals two suggested options: one that we grandfather the existing marriage commissioners that are reluctant to perform a same-sex marriage, and the other would be to create a religious exemption for those and future marriage commissioners," Morgan says.

The issue of whether marriage commissioners, who are appointed by the government, can refuse to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples has been the subject of human rights tribunals and court cases since Saskatchewan allowed same-sex couples to obtain a marriage license in 2004.

In 2008 a Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal ruled that Regina marriage commissioner Orville Nichols had violated the human rights of two Regina gay men when he refused to marry them in 2005. That tribunal fined Nichols $2,500.
A ruling that was reaffirmed in July when the Court of Queen's Bench firmly denied Nichols' appeal making it even more unlikely that the court will respond to the attempt to legalize exactly this behavior with anything other than telling the Saskatchewan government to piss up a rope.

And rightly so.

Here's what Premier Wall and the Saskatchewan Party government are fighting for:

NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way," Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. "I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."

Bardwell said he asks everyone who calls about marriage if they are a mixed race couple. If they are, he does not marry them, he said.

Yes, goddammit, it's exactly the same thing.

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