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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

A Civil Argument About Dignity, Beliefs and Marriage

Brief by Iain Benson

Ian T. Benson wrote this brief regarding the Civil Marriage Act (Bill C-38). Benson argues that the central problem with the marriage debate is that the fundamental starting points of both sides are irreconcilable. According to Benson, the prior status of marriage was recognized but not created by law. While heterosexual marriage does not rely on the law for social recognition, same-sex marriage does depend on law for social recognition. As the author points out, some view marriage as a natural fact, while others see it as a social construct.

For those who see marriage as natural fact, the law’s primary function is to recognize it rather than define it. Those who perceive marriage as a social construct contend that ‘positive redefinition’ is required. As Benson points out, sexual conduct is at the root of marriage. Further, he suggests, “just as the State cannot properly coerce religion, it should not coerce sexual practice acceptance.” He argues that the attempt to claim the public definition of marriage is really an attempt to gain public recognition, through law, for certain sexual practices. According to Benson, this is not a legitimate use of law in a free and democratic society.

Further, Benson suggests that people object to the fact that what goes on in the bedroom is now the focus of public conduct, expression, and practice. In his brief Benson presents seven recommendations to the committee reviewing this legislation.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Iain Benson;
Publisher: Centre for Cultural Renewal [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2005; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: National;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF, Hard Copy

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Children & Family / Marriage
Policy Articles / Crime & Justice / Legislation
Policy Articles / Crime & Justice / Human Rights
Policy Articles / Education / Primary Education
Policy Articles / Education / Secondary Education
Policy Articles / Education / Curriculum & Teaching Practice
Policy Articles / International Law & Politics / Canadian Law
Policy Articles / Children & Family / Marriage / 2005
Policy Articles / Crime & Justice / Human Rights / 2005
Policy Articles / Crime & Justice / Legislation / 2005
Policy Articles / Education / Curriculum & Teaching Practice / 2005
Policy Articles / Education / Primary Education / 2005
Policy Articles / Education / Secondary Education / 2005
Policy Articles / International Law & Politics / Canadian Law / 2005
Policy Articles / Children & Family
Policy Articles / Crime & Justice
Policy Articles / Education
Policy Articles / International Law & Politics


Keywords / Tags:

Bill C-28; public education in Canada; change in the definition of marriage; same-sex marriage; homosexuality; tolerance; moral values; heterosexual marriage; physical and health education; Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;