Canada’s same-sex legislation shames U.S.

Perhaps one of the most heated debates in this country between liberals and conservatives is the issue of gay marriage. As we’ve seen last week from our northern neighbor Canada and our European ally Spain, many countries are shifting to a more progressive attitude with respect to the rights of same-sex couples.

But that isn’t stopping this country from continuing its policy of quashing the rights of thousands of Americans by trying to add a Constitutional amendment.

After Spain became the third country to legalize gay marriage, all eyes are on Canada.

If the Canadian Senate approves the same-sex marriage bill passed by the House of Commons, this may force the United States to take a long look at its policies.

If we continue our policy of oppression against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens, we may see the number of people immigrating to Canada from the United States increase tenfold.

Why would someone who feels unwelcome in their own country stay when they could move 100 miles across the border and be granted the rights they deserve? It’s not like the same industries and jobs don’t exist in Canada, and the cultures are comparable. Many same-sex couples could enjoy the same kind of lifestyle they enjoy in the United States, but with the added benefits of an official marriage.

What the United States needs to do, if the bill passes, is watch Canada closely. Americans should realize that even if same-sex couples have the right to make medical decisions for their partners, polygamists and bestiality enthusiasts will still be kept at bay, despite the claims of many conservatives who feel this will lead to the end of the traditional family.

If the United States really wants to “protect the family,” then we should have stricter penalties for child abuse, domestic abuse and neglect, which are what really destroys a family. Many kinds of alternative families already exist in the United States: children raised by grandparents, single mothers or even siblings raised by siblings. We also have traditional adopted families. How would giving the right to adopt to a loving, same-sex couple be any more traumatic for children? Sure people may point and stare, but, then again, don’t the same ignorant people point and stare at interracial marriage as well? Besides, let’s not kid ourselves, there are some screwed-up straight people raising families out there.

We are so eager to solve political disputes abroad in an instant that we are left with large, lingering domestic disputes back at home. This country has a long history of denying minorities rights, and we should look to Canada and Spain as examples of how to treat our citizens fairly. As we’ve seen in our nation’s past, denying people’s rights just leads to hard feelings that can last for decades.

Now we’re trying to use the Constitution — one of the most important political documents in our history — against our own citizens. It was meant to grant rights, not take them away.

We call ourselves a “melting pot,” yet so many minorities find it necessary to blockade themselves away from the rest of society. This editorial board believes that until we stop denying rights to citizens, the United States fits the “tossed salad” model. We cannot blend together until everyone is equal.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Summer Kent Stater editorial board.