Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 4, 2004
Book challenges same-sex marriage
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
Divorcing Marriage: Unveiling the Dangers in Canada's New Social Experiment challenges the current attempt to redefine the public meaning of marriage.
The 209-page book, published by McGill-Queen's University Press and edited by Daniel Cere and Douglas Farrow, was launched Sept. 21 with representatives of Church and other organizations opposed to same-sex marriage on hand.
"I hope it will help open up a public debate which to this point, has been rather one-sided," said Farrow, who teaches Christian Thought at McGill University.
"The book has an important role to play in calling to account both the government and the courts . . . and the media," he said. "Some things require that kind of hard-nosed debate, which seems lots of people aren't too excited about having."
Among the contributors to the book are professors in law, ethics, political science, religion, and culture, including Margaret Somerville, Ted Morton, F.C. DeCoste, and Katherine Young.
The contributors all express "serious reservations about the redefinition of marriage," added Cere, a director at the Institute for the Study of Marriage, Law & Culture in Montreal.
Cere said the book was published because of a "gap in the literature" on the subject. "There was no academic book presenting the case for caution."
The book was released on the eve of the hearing in October by the Supreme Court of Canada on the federal government's same-sex marriage reference case.
Divorcing Marriage attempts to answer the question: "Is the decision the government of Canada is on the verge of taking to redefining marriage to include same-sex unions simply an act of fairness to gays and lesbians - another step in the evolution of a just society or is it a hastily conceived social experiment that will undermine human rights, deflecting marriage from the support of children to the mere affirmation of sexual commitment between adults?"
In his review of the book, David Novak, professor of Jewish studies at the University of Toronto wrote, "From this book, opponents of same-sex marriage may learn much with which to clarify their own arguments in public and be more persuasive."
And because of the book, he added, "proponents of same-sex marriage will have to develop more rational arguments than they have proposed until now."
Bethke Elshtain, professor of social and political ethics at the University of Chicago, wrote that "Divorcing Marriage makes a compelling case that romanticism plus rights has prompted Canada to embark on a radical social experiment absent the sober analysis and criticism that should be attendant on such efforts."