Heeding the Times from Harry Antonides' Desk

More “Equality” Rights

October 1, 1986 -

In the name of equality rights, a campaign is now being conducted against normative relations between the sexes and therefore against the institution of the family. This battle is being fought on a number of fronts at the same time. Its outline is becoming more and more visible.

At one level, feminists continue to call for a radical reshaping of our traditional understanding of male and female, also within marriage. At another level, unions maintain that "sexual preference" should not be a reason for discrimination in employment. And now the Liberal Government of Ontario is quietly trying to pass legislation to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of "sexual orientation."

This issue came to the fore when a lesbian couple, of whom one partner was employed by the Toronto Library Board, demanded to be treated as a traditional family for the purposes of health insurance coverage. The employee is backed in her demand by CUPE Local 1996. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan, however, insists that a lesbian couple does not constitute a family as defined by law and has refused to provide such coverage. A recent meeting of the Toronto City Council executive voted three to two against allowing the employee's request, Alderman Jack Layton called the decision "narrow-minded and insulting." On the other side of the issue, alderman Tony O'Donohue said: "I don't want to legitimize or give legal status to something like that and undermine the traditional family as I understand it."

Meanwhile, a coalition of mostly church-related organizations, including the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, has alerted the public to the fact that the Ontario Government is attempting to slip the so-called "sexual orientation" clause into the Ontario Human Rights Code. In its submission to the Ontario Government, the coalition wrote:

Traditional family values, strong marriages, and the right to set high moral standards for the community are essential building blocks in a free and democratic society, according to the Coalition for Family Values. 

The Coalition registered its objections to Bill 7 (an amendment to the Ontario Human Rights Code), which for the first time includes a clause stipulating that "sexual orientation" would be protected by the Code, and to the government's failure to give the public reasonable opportunity to discuss the implications of this issue and the impact it could have on our province's social well-being.

The Coalition considers the amendment to be an inappropriate interference with the moral choices and community standards of Canadians. It recommends that the government formally reconsider any legal measures to recognize and protect homosexuality in this province. 

In her Toronto Sun column of October 14, Judi McLeod wrote that the controversial amendment (the inclusion of "sexual orientation") came through the back door on May 6, 1986—the very night it was moved and carried. McLeod continued:

Not only have the Liberals—bellied-up with the NDP—not made room for public hearings on the amendment, they haven't even defined sexual orientation, which police experts tell me can embrace anything, including legalized sexual acts between humans and animals. 

While a few courageous voices have spoken out against a perversion of standards that are indispensable for the maintenance of a just society, certain churches known for their rashness in speaking out about all sorts of social and political issues are noticeably absent from this campaign. Whatever their reasons may be, there is no doubt that all who have an ounce of appreciation for biblical norms and their significance for society should support the Coalition for Family Values. Whatever we do may be too little and too late to stop the trend, but it is never too late or too little to stand up for simple decency and respect for certain minimal standards, especially when it concerns the protection of the family and marriage

This article originally appeared in Comment magazine, a journal founded by Harry Antonides. Find all of Harry’s pieces, and thousands more, at http://www.cardus.ca/comment