Ontario to eliminate the words “husband” and “wife”

I and other critics of homosexual marriage, such as Maggie Gallagher, have been saying for some time that if homosexual marriage goes through, the words “husband” and “wife” will be eliminated. Now it’s already happened. In Ontario a law is being passed that removes the words “husband and wife,” “man and woman” from marital law, family law, and many other laws as well. According to a story at LifeSite.net (also discussed by David Frum here) the bill mandates substitutions for previously used spousal terms in numerous places throughout 73 Ontario Statutes as follows:

“Widows”, widowers” replaced by “surviving spouses”
“A person of the opposite sex” replaced by “a person”
“Wives, husbands” replaced by “spouses”
“Two persons of the opposite sex” replaced by “two persons”
“The wife or husband” replaced by “spouse”
“A husband or wife” replaced by “spouse”
“The husband and wife” replaced by “the spouses”
“A man and a woman” replaced by “two persons”
“Husband and wife” replaced by “spouses”
“Cohabited as man and wife” replaced by “cohabited as a married couple”
“Same-sex partner” replaced by “spouse”

Let us understand that there is nothing shocking or surprising about this. Once Ontario instituted homosexual marriage, they obviously had to change all references to married couples so as to erase the concept of male and female partners, since, now that there were male-male couples and female-female couples, the traditional description of a male-female couple would no longer describe all married couples. Homosexual marriage has its own internal logic leading to certain inevitable consequences, regardless of what its various “moderate” advocates may say about it. And one of those consequences is that any legal recognition of the sexual differentiation of married couples must be dismantled. People who thought that society could accommodate homosexual marriage without radically redefining the institution of marriage itself—along with parenthood, sexual relations, the very existence of the sexes, and the very meaning of human life—have been proven decisively wrong.

Now that this has happened, perhaps those self-described “conservatives” who support homosexual marriage or who fail to oppose it can understand why conservatives like me have said that no compromise in this area is possible, that it’s going to be either the victory of homosexual marriage over normal marriage, or the rejection of homosexual marriage.

If the aim of the supposedly “moderate” or “conservative” supporters of homosexual rights is not the destruction of society, then they must not ask too much. They need to recognize the inherent radicalism of what they are seeking and moderate their demands and expectations accordingly.

And let’s be clear about another thing. “Civil unions” are not the answer. The moment civil unions are passed, courts will overturn them and replace them by full-scale legal homosexual marriage, on the grounds that civil unions create a two-tier system of rights, with homosexual relationships being relegated to second-class status. Therefore the only way not to end up with homosexual marriage, along with the legal defining-out-of-existence of “husband and wife,” “male and female,” and “father and mother,” is not to create any legal recognition for homosexual relationships, period. To repeat, no compromise in this area is possible.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 02, 2005 10:54 AM | Send

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