Opinionated Lesbian : On Marriagehttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/category/9.aspxOn Marriageen-USCommunityServer 1.1 (Build: Margaret Somerville the last wordhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/06/24/4844.aspxSat, 24 Jun 2006 21:45:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4844eleanor2http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4844.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4844The good doc (both earned and hon.) has <a href="http://www.macleans.ca/topstories/politics/news/shownews.jsp?content=n061961A" target="_blank"> received her award.</a><br><br> She favours queer civil unions, but not marriage, where the rights of children and of adults clash. "I'm pro gay rights and I'm anti discrimination against gays…. But I think same-sex marriage is one of the things where children's rights trump gay rights," she said recently on CBC radio. And yeah, she had the opportunity to go on about what a martyr she is (your scribe rolls her eyes: <a href="http://www.opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/06/08/4661.aspx" target="_blank">I told ya so),</a> claiming that younger colleagues are afraid to speak out against gay marriage because they won’t get cushy university jobs or tenure. As if.<br><br> But here's the very bestest part of her interview, as transcribed by moi: Somerville is fine with being despised. "I'm prepared to put up with that… it's really part of my job."<br><Br> So far, it's all good. "I've often thought, you know, I live not in the country of my birth, I've got no children or partner, and I don't have any relatives in Canada -- and I've lived here for 30 years, and I'm a great believer in destiny, and I sort of think that you'd have to be almost designed in the situation I'm in for someone like me in order to give them the freedom, to do what I can do, is to take that and let that anger and often hatred come out."<br><br> Wow. One of the country's biggest names in philosophy and ethics believes in destiny -- that she was <i>made</i> to be alone and strong. Read her lips: There is no such thing as free will.<img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4844" width="1" height="1">The wrong reasonhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/06/08/4661.aspxThu, 08 Jun 2006 16:05:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4661eleanor4http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4661.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4661Unaccountably famed ethicist <a href="http://www.law.mcgill.ca/faculty/bio_display-en.htm?printBio=36" target="_blank">Margaret Somerville</a> has always argued that marriage is hetero <a href="http://www.opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2005/02/01/223.aspx" target="_blank">because heteros say it is.</a><br><br> Her argument's a squirming stain to those who believe in, well, the clean lines of logic. So opposition to <a href="http://www.ryerson.ca/home_nf.html" target="_blank">Ryerson University's</a> offer of <a href="http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1149717019580&call_pageid=968332188492&col=968793972154&t=TS_Home" target="_blank">an honorary doctorate</a> to Ms S is understandable. Except that <a href="http://www.PetitionOnline.com/5087MCT/pettion.html" target="_blank">this petition</a> to keep Somerville from getting the award has nothing to do with the fact that she's an embarrassment to the rigourous thinkers of academia, but rather simply because her anti-gay and anti-feminist views are "controversial."<br><br> Please don't sign it. Not if "controversial" is the reason cited.<br><br> All together now: We are big enough and brave enough and strong enough to allow people to disagree with our politics. Those who sign this petition are stifling dissent, and helping to create a martyr.<img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4661" width="1" height="1">Any excuse to freakhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/06/02/4619.aspxFri, 02 Jun 2006 17:20:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4619eleanor0http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4619.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4619As usual, much screeching and squealing amongst the religious right and the homo middle today as the Stephen Harper minority guv'mint announces that yes, an election promise will be fulfilled: there'll be <a href="http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/060602/n060223A.html" target="_blank">a free vote on gay marriage</a> in the House of Commons come the fall.<br><br> It's all so tedious. Just get it done already, so the rest of us don't have to listen to the endless hysterics on either side. <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4619" width="1" height="1">Mmmmmurf bluuuumph urggggggmble -- ha! I'm free! I phreeeeeeghm maaaaarfle mmmmmmmmmmmmhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/05/26/4556.aspxFri, 26 May 2006 15:31:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4556eleanor0http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4556.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4556"The <a href="http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/default.asp" target="_blank">Prime Minister's Office</a> has warned Conservative MPs not to comment on the marriage next month of two <a href="http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060521/rcmp_marriage_060521/20060521?hub=CTVNewsAt11" target="_blank">gay RCMP constables.</a><br><br> "The gag order went to all MPs, but was aimed at 'the small minority who might say something stupid,' one caucus member said." <a href="http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/News/National/2006/05/26/1598489-sun.html" target="_blank">As here.</a><img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4556" width="1" height="1">Who'll blink?http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/05/17/4506.aspxWed, 17 May 2006 15:45:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4506eleanor1http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4506.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4506Whither legal gay nuptials? <a href="http://www.equal-marriage.ca/" target="_blank">Canadians for Equal Marriage</a> "research indicates that 158 MPs would vote against re-opening, 137 would vote for it, and 12 are undecided or will abstain."<br><br> The complete text of the press release is in the comments section (click on this post's headline).<img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4506" width="1" height="1">Segregate properlyhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/05/04/4458.aspxThu, 04 May 2006 20:07:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4458eleanor3http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4458.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4458The queer lobby group <a href="http://www.egale.ca/" target="_blank">Egale Canada</A> has put out a <a href="http://www.egale.ca/index.asp?lang=E&menu=1&item=1308" target="_blank">press release</a> complaining about the <a href="http://www22.statcan.ca/ccr_r000_e.htm" target="_blank">Census Canada</a> questionnaires, which ask same-sex married folk to tick on the "other" option, instead of on the "husband or wife" option.<br><br> Of course, common-law spouses are already separated out into opposite- and same-sex. That's apparently fine.<br><br> But we need a queer marriage count.<br><br> "Egale is recommending that same-sex married couples list their relationship as "Husband or wife" rather than "Other." According to Statistics Canada, either response will be captured correctly as a married same-sex couple. In addition, Egale is calling on all concerned Canadians to add a comment on Page 6 of the questionnaire, such as 'Same-Sex couples deserve equal treatment.'"<br><br> The complete press release is in the comments section (click on the headline above to get there). <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4458" width="1" height="1">Did we forget gay marriage? Er, no.http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/04/05/4362.aspxWed, 05 Apr 2006 19:06:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4362eleanor1http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4362.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4362Homo marriage was noticeably absent from yesterday's <a href="http://www.sft-ddt.gc.ca/default_e.htm" target="_blank">Throne Speech,</a> but it's still on the block. "The federal Conservatives say they will follow through on a campaign promise to hold a free vote in the House of Commons on same-sex marriage," it <a href="http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/060405/n040539A.html" target="_blank">sez here.</a> "<a href="http://canada.justice.gc.ca/en/index.html" target="_blank">Justice Minister Vic Toews</a> says the vote will be held 'sooner rather than later.' The Tory campaign platform says if MPs vote to overturn same-sex marriage, a bill will be introduced to restrict marriage to unions between men and women."<img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4362" width="1" height="1">More peace, order, and good governmenthttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/03/24/4317.aspxFri, 24 Mar 2006 16:46:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4317eleanor0http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4317.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4317Additional heterosexual Canadian history, <a href="http://www.opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/03/20/4306.aspx" target="_blank">again taken</a> from the February 2001 <a href="http://www.historysociety.ca/bea.asp" target="_blank">Beaver.</a> This'un aboot <a href="http://www.geocities.com/old_time_time/charivari.htm" target="_blank">charivari.</a><br><br> An old codger who marries a sweet young thing, a widow who hitches up a little too soon after, an overly keen cad who weds a rich and on-her-last-legs lady. We do noooo-ht apprrrrrove.<br><br> And we say so. In as humiliating a way as possible, from the days of New France to the early 20th century. "Blowing on horns, sawing cracked fiddles, clattering skillet lids together, and banging out vicious tattoos on tin pots and copper kettles, the whole of the outraged citizenry would assemble in a nocturnal display at the newlyweds' house. If the noise-bombarded couple dared to peer out through the bedroom curtains, they would have beheld a most frightful spectacle. As <a href="http://www.collectionscanada.ca/moodie-traill/index-e.html" target="_blank">Susannah Moodie</a> described it in 1852 in <a href="http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/moodie/roughing/roughing.html" target="_blank">Roughing It In The Bush,</a> the torch-lit antagonists disguised themselves in strange, ritualistic costumes, 'putting their clothes on the hind part before... wearing horrible masks, with grotesque caps on their heads, adorned with cocks' feathers and bells.' The crowd would then bang fiercely on the door, insisting that the couple pay the price of a peaceful honeymoon by furnishing the crowd with whisky, entertainment, or a sum of money for charity -- sometimes as much as $100. Once the fee was paid, the humbled newlyweds were pardoned of their improprieties and the charivari was finished. But if the couple refused to pay, the crowd would return again and again every night until the fee was extorted."<br><br> Ya don'ts pay, ya mights get beaten up. In 1823, a Montrealer who called in the police was repaid with smashed windows and a ransacked house. One Ontario man, who in 1890 was accused of stealing another's wife, was shot to death when he resisted the destruction of his home's roof. <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4317" width="1" height="1">So yesterday, dahlinkhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/02/21/4178.aspxTue, 21 Feb 2006 15:34:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4178eleanor0http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4178.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4178Gay marriage is legal in, what, <a href="http://lesbianlife.about.com/cs/wedding/a/wheremarriage.htm" target="_blank">four countries</a> or something? And it's already a pop-culture cliché. On Friday, a Canadian athlete proposed to a teammate by placard. "Montrealer <a href="http://www.dominiquemaltais.com/" target="_blank">Dominique Maltais</a> celebrated her Olympic bronze medal in the women's snowboard cross event Friday by hoisting a Canadian flag with a saucy proposition for teammate <a href="http://www.tsn.ca/olympics/feature/?fid=309&hubname=" target="_blank">Maelle Ricker</a>," <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/cpress/20060218/ca_pr_on_od/oly_proposal_prank" target="_blank">it sez here.</a> "'Marry me Maelle,' read the flag, which was signed, 'Dom 3:16.'<br><br> "The image was captured in a photo and begged the question of whether it was just a joke or an actual proposal, with the possibility it would highlight the right to same-sex marriage in Canada on the world stage at the Olympic Games. Turns out it was just a prank and that the snowboarders' reputations as jokesters is well-deserved. The two are close friends -- and nothing more."<br><br> Tain't just the Canucks, either. Why, justa coupla weeks ago, Cha Cha proposed to another girlie on the alleged reality show <a href="http://www.aetv.com/rollergirls/" target="_blank">"Rollergirls,"</a> in a bit titled <a href="http://www.aetv.com/rollergirls/rg_episode_guide.jsp?episode=147860" target="_blank">"Love Boat"</a> (oddly, the official program guide doesn't mention the wedding, which was heavily hyped in the commercials for that episode). A roller derby league referee pronounced the two women to be skate buds.<br><br> It was a joke. I think. <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4178" width="1" height="1">Two solitudeshttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/01/27/4133.aspxFri, 27 Jan 2006 15:30:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4133eleanor0http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4133.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4133Two completely different news stories on same-sex marriage in my French- and English-language dailies this morning.<br><br> In the Montreal Gazette <a href="http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/060126/n0126133A.html" target="_blank">(and also here):</a> "Stephen Harper says he wants to move quickly as leader of a fractious new Parliament to reopen the same-sex marriage debate. The makeup of the new House of Commons suggests the prime minister-designate knows there's a good chance such a motion will be rejected.<br><br> "It would not be a total loss, however. In fact, an honourable defeat on equal marriage would satisfy obligations to Harper's most right-wing supporters while defusing a politically explosive issue."<br><br> Over in <a href="http://www.cyberpresse.ca/" target="_blank">La Presse,</a> la Presse Canadienne has actually counted up the votes for and agin. On first blush, the tally is 151 to 144, in favour of queer nuptials. That leaves 13 unknown votes, belonging to pols who pointedly haven't spoken out publicly on the issue. Seven of those are Tories. <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4133" width="1" height="1">The sun'll come up, tomorrowhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/01/24/4122.aspxTue, 24 Jan 2006 14:10:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4122eleanor0http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4122.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4122Yep, there it is.<br><br> So, <a href="http://www.365gay.com/Newscon06/01/012406canada.htm" target="_blank">a minority Conservative government</a> in leftie Canukistan. You'll recall that all the suspected homos, both out and closeted, fled the federal Tories a while back. And straight supporter Belinda Stronach followed a bit later by also defecting to the Liberals. Pray (as it were) for former provincial politician <a href="http://www.johnbaird.com/" target="_blank">John Baird</a> to make it into the new Tory cabinet.<br><br>Baird was elected last night in an Ottawa riding, and in fact hand-picked by the party as a candidate over a loony far-right challenger. Baird officially supports same-sex marriage and his website doesn't mention anything about his private life (I feel like a four-year-old: nudge, wink). We're gonna need Baird to be loud and have a big honkin' portfolio in order to provide some small balance to the nutbars in caucus.<br><br> More in a few minutes.... <br><br><br> ADDENDUM: All three pro-same-sex marriage-bill-voting Tories were re-elected last night: <a href="http://www.jimprentice.ca" target="_blank">Jim Prentice</a> (Calgary Centre North); B.C.'s <a href="http://www.jamesmoore.org/" target="_blank">James Moore</a> (Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam); and Nova Scotia's <a href="http://www.geraldkeddy.ca/" target="_blank">Gerald Keddy</a> (South Shore-St. Margaret's).<br><br> That's out of 124 seats for the Conservatives. With the Bloc Quebecois and NDP numbers (51 and 29 seats, respectively, with only a couple of all those against queer nuptials), same-sex marriage seems safe, even if socially conservative Liberals were elected all over the place. I expect there'll still be enough Grits to vote in favour.... <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4122" width="1" height="1">I'll huff and I'll puff...http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/01/20/4115.aspxFri, 20 Jan 2006 19:28:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4115eleanor0http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4115.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4115... and I'll <a href="http://www.egale.ca/index.asp?lang=E&menu=20&item=1266" target="_blank">invoke notwithstanding.</a> Here's a quick rundown of how the Constitution's opt-out right (ha ha, there's that word again) has been used in the past, as noted a recent piece by <a href="http://www.cyberpresse.ca/" target="_blank">La Presse's</a> Yves Boisvert: The federal government has never had the nerve to invoke the notwithstanding clause. Never.<br><br> Saskatchewan used it in 1986 for labour legislation, and Alberta used it (or threatened to use it?) in a same-sex marriage bill that it doesn't have the jurisdiction to pass in the first place, since who gets hitched is Ottawa's call.<br><br> Only Quebec has adopted notwithstanding as a regular practice -- or had, for a time. A Parti Quebecois government inserted it into every piece of legislation in 1982 just to symbolically stick it to the feds. The clause has an expiry date, too, of five years. Notwithstanding was NOT renewed in 1987.<br><br> It's been invoked by Quebec eight other times, most notably to allow for a French-language-is-the-tops bill. In response, three cabinet ministers resigned, and the United Nations slammed Quebec for ignoring human rights.<img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4115" width="1" height="1">Some rights are better than othershttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/01/20/4113.aspxFri, 20 Jan 2006 18:52:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4113eleanor0http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4113.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4113Rights do not mystically exist in the ether of the universe. They are not inherent, but rather the creation of human beings. We discuss, debate, and bestow rights upon each other. Some believe in certain rights that others do not believe in. Like gay marriage, eh.<br><br> Just so, says the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.<br><br> Canada's untouchable, absolute creations include: Democratic rights (voting and running for office, even if you're a convict, say), mobility (allowing citizens to leave or enter Canada, as well as move to any province), and lots of two-official-language language. In addition, aboriginals and women are guaranteed equal rights. Period.<br><br> Other rights are negotiable. That is, the notwithstanding clause can be used to opt out. Like gay marriage, eh.<br><br> What can politicians haggle over? Three sections of stuff, and the first is fundamental freedoms. Those are freedom of conscience and religion; thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; freedom of peaceful assembly; and freedom of association.<br><br> Next, legal rights -- things like "the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure" and the "right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned."<br><br> And, of course, equality rights, which ban discrimination based on disability and nationality and sexual orientation and religion.<br><br> So -- the essential versus the non-essential, Canadian style. Like gay marriage, eh.<img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4113" width="1" height="1">Ne pressez pas le bouton de panichttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/01/20/4112.aspxFri, 20 Jan 2006 18:17:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4112eleanor0http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4112.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4112Those of you giving yourselves heart palpitations over the Canuckistan election should just take a valium (tm). Yes, prime-minister-in-waiting Stephen Harper is a social conservative and there will be problems if he's elected.<br><br> But. Memo to right-wing Christians: the world did not come to an end when gay marriage was legalized. Memo to homosexuals: the world will not come to an end when gay marriage is repealed. Everybody got that? <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4112" width="1" height="1">She likes us, she really likes us!http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/01/19/4110.aspxThu, 19 Jan 2006 18:05:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4110eleanor1http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4110.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4110My stars and garters, professional right-winger and queer hate-monger Babs Amiel has come out in favour of gay marriage. The world is just topsy-turvy.<br><br> "Sir Elton John married his Canadian sweetheart David Furnish just before Christmas and yes, I wish I had been there. Elton wasn't singing but I'd like to have heard that cocoa baritone voice reciting his vows," <a href="http://www.macleans.ca/switchboard/columnists/article.jsp?content=20060109_119245_119245" target="_blank">writes Her Nibs.</a> The two men were civilly unioned, to be precise, not legally wedded.<br><br> Barbara Amiel's argument is a conservative one, of course: monogamous nuptials good. "Canada has gone all the way by making same-sex marriages legal. Good for us. Human beings are a pair-bonding species and I'm at a loss as to why any liberal society would want to deny the expression of pair-bonding instincts in homosexuals. Apart from the old 'Who is the Mrs.?' sort of jibe, there are very few legitimate reasons to oppose same-sex marriage. (And, incidentally, anyone who has ever shaken hands with Elton will know who isn't the Mrs. in his family. The man has the grip of a sumo wrestler.)"<br><br> All this blather to reveal, again, a simple earnest truth: coming out does change the people around us. Else goofs like Amiel might never have reconsidered their public dislike of homosexuality.<br><br> Amiel's history shows her to be a feminist of long standing, though she'd not call herself that (too much controlling socialist claptrap associated with the label). But in the 1960s, when Amiel came of age, women were secretaries.<br><br> Amiel was first cover girl for Toronto Life, "a budding television personality," wrote editor John Macfarlane in the magazine's 30th anniversary ish of November 1996. "Having talked her way into a job as a secretary at the CBC, fresh out of university, she was now the co-host of a supper-hour television show called 'TBA.' But it was in print that she would eventually make her name, becoming a columnist at Maclean's and then editor-in-chief of the Toronto Sun." That was in 1983 (according to Jean Sonmor's book, "The Little Paper That Grew").<br><br> I'll let you imagine the sort of garbage that the editorial pages ran about homos back then; the paper is infamous for its queer hate campaigns of old. From "The Little Paper That Grew": As a writer, "the arch tone and the playful self-deprecation were carefully woven into an argument that always made enjoyable reading, even if the idea and the lack of attention to the facts enraged the reader." Amiel was also, noted an editor, "the most loved of all the Sun's columnists," and bold enough to say what people were too afraid to blurt out loud.<br><br> I can't find it now, but I recall the Amiel column that was a gay turning point, dating from the late 1990s: a friend of hers, a gay man, it turned out, died of AIDS. Amiel wrote about the loss. (Revision: coming out is good, but dieing tragically is better.)<br><br> From Amiel's January Maclean's column: "Some opponents of same-sex unions might revise their views if they could see close-up the degree of care between many homosexual partners. The anatomy may be different but the emotional life and division of roles are pretty much the same. Elton has a way of making everyone around him feel completely safe. David is the first to worry about whether Elton is chilly as night settles over an alfresco supper.<br><br> "Most of us know same-sex unions that have weathered thick and thin through decades including the tough sledding of AIDS. What complicates our species is that we are pair-bonding philanderers rather than monogamous storks. The gay community does have the capacity for some pretty heavy philandering before settling down to the level of fidelity necessary to maintain a marriage -- which raises concerns among the more sexually plodding.<br><br> "If you want to protect the institution of marriage, denying it to same-sex couples makes precious little sense and with today's assault on the family unit, it may even do some harm. Heterosexuals have done a rotten job of defending the family's autonomy. I wish no cloud on any union, but I can wager one thing: efforts like that of the U.K.'s Tony Blair to force on the family, inter alia, mandatory counselling before marriage, mandatory reconciliation tribunals before divorce and legally binding Home-School Agreements governing behaviour to be signed by parents and children would be as a candle in the wind with the gay community. They've had to organize for their rights and if we're very lucky, now they'll organize for ours." <br><br>By the by, I am guilty of not reading the new Maclean's, as remade by editor Ken Whyte, whose National Post was actually quite a fun (and infuriating) read. Whyte's another rightie who yet does employ smarty homosexuals (will ex National Post hire Mitchel Raphael, who just stepped down as <a href="http://www.fabmagazine.com" target="_blank">Fab Magazine</a> editor, end up at Macleans? Hint, hint, Kenny). Anyway, all this to say that ignoring Canada's national newsmagazine is an admittedly bad habit, and to note that the pointer to the Amiel tidbit comes via a new blog by Ottawa's Ariel Troster, who has charmed her way in here by sending an e-mail saying she reads Oples.<br><br> Lordy, but I'm easy. Find Dykes Against Harper <a href="http://dykesagainstharper.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">here.</a><img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4110" width="1" height="1">