Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Alberta as Uncle-berta

Alberta, Canada, cried "Uncle" yesterday. Premier Ralph Klein genuflected begrudgingly to reality, saying his province will recognize same-sex marriages.

The Senate is poised to sign off of C-38. The pro-forma acknowledgement of the Queen is the last step to making Canada the fourth nation with countrywide same-sex marriage.

Klein was a bit puerile in his announcement, saying, "We will proceed to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, much to our chagrin, following proclamation of the federal Civil Marriage Act." More meaningful than his because-we-have-to angle was ensuring that the objectors have an out.

"We will develop legislative options to ensure the rights of religious officials and those Albertans who hold social or cultural beliefs or values, whether religious or non-religious," he said at his new conference on the matter. He wants to make sure that ministers and marriage commissioners (much like our justices of the peace) will not be compelled to join two homosexually in wedded bliss.

Same-sex couples will likely have to ask first before arranging for their ceremony.


Anonymous said...

I never had any doubt that Ralph would give in in the end.

As a former Albertan, I've known Ralph Klein since he was a hard drinking tv reporter covering Calgary city hall. He served 3 terms as mayor of Calgary (re-elected both times with over 90% - only Saddam could beat that!) When he started hinting at moving into provincial politics, it was widely assumed that he would join the Liberals since they were most in line with his own politics. Instead, he pragmatically joined the ruling Conservatives and was immediately rewarded with a cabinet post.

I know that Ralph is not a social conservative and that personally he couldn't care less whether or not gays get married. However, as a political leader he knows it is good to put on a lot of bluster like he did last month and even make radical suggestions like getting rid of marriage altogether. But it's all just performance art for the sake of the voters. He knew he would be giving in all along - he just wanted to make it look good.

massmarrier said...

Thanks for the insights, particularly from you personal knowledge.

Klein is good at his craft and Canadian politics are fascinating. I think it may be a new hobby for me.

Also, you guys are also not waving bombs over people's heads. So, we can appreciate the theater without the nagging fears.