Transcript: Think Again about Same Sex Marriage | Mar 30, 2012

(music plays)

In animation, an orange cut-out in the shape of the American state of California pops up against a bright yellow and green background.

A male Narrator says
IN CALIFORNIA, THE
PROPOSITION 8 TRIAL
HAS CREATED A DEBATE ABOUT
IF A COURT CAN STRIKE DOWN
A LAW BANNING SAME
SEX MARRIAGE
ESTABLISHED BY A
STATE REFERENDUM.

A pink cut-out in the shape of Canada pops up.

The Narrator continues MEANWHILE IN CANADA, GAY
MARRIAGE HAS BEEN LEGAL
ACROSS THE COUNTRY
SINCE 2005.
SO, HOW DID
THIS HAPPEN?

A gavel pops up.

The Narrator continues AND WHAT ROLE DID
THE COURTS PLAY
IN LEGALIZING SAME
SEX MARRIAGE?
TODAY ON “THINK AGAIN,” WE'LL
ANSWER THOSE TWO QUESTIONS.

In animation, four cubes float over a mesh background with the title “Think again.”
Fast-forward clips play on an old style TV screen.

The Narrator continues AND TO DO THAT, WE'VE CONDENSED
TEN YEARS OF TVO COVERAGE
TO GIVE YOU THE SHORTEST
HISTORY OF THE LEGALIZATION
OF SAME SEX MARRIAGE
YOU'LL FIND ANYWHERE.

An old-fashioned digital wristwatch reads “11:50 PM” as dates go back in time from 2005 to 2001.

The Narrator continues OUR STORY STARTS BACK IN
2001 WHERE IN TORONTO,
TWO SAME SEX COUPLES
WOULD FINALLY SUCCEED
IN GETTING LEGALLY MARRIED.

(music plays)
In animation, two female wedding cake figurines pop up with the caption “Anne Vautour and Elaine Vautour.”
Then, two male wedding cake figurines pop up with the caption “Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell.”

A clip captioned “January 15, 2001, Studio 2” plays on screen.

A female newscaster with short blond hair says
ON SUNDAY A LESBIAN
COUPLE AND A GAY COUPLE
WERE PRONOUNCED MARRIED
BEFORE A CONGREGATION
OF 600 IN A DOWNTOWN
TORONTO CHURCH.
ON THREE CONSECUTIVE
SUNDAYS BEFORE THE WEDDING,
THEIR MINISTER READ OUT
THE PUBLICATION OF BANS
BEFORE THE CONGREGATION.
THE TWO COUPLES NOW CLAIM
TO BE LEGALLY MARRIED.
BUT WHILE THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT RECOGNIZES
THE RIGHT OF GAY PARTNERS
TO SPOUSAL BENEFITS,
IT REFUSES TO SANCTION
SAME SEX MARRIAGE.
AND THE PROVINCE ON ONTARIO
SAYS THAT THE COUPLES
WHO MARRIED YESTERDAY
ARE NOT LEGAL SPOUSES
AND THEIR MARRIAGES
WILL NOT BE REGISTERED.

A sepia-tone clip shows a courthouse.

The Narrator continues THE COUPLES APPEAL
AND THEIR CASE BEGINS
TO MAKE ITS WAY
THROUGH THE COURTS.
THEN IN JULY OF 2002,
THEY GET A BIG BREAK
FROM THE ONTARIO
SUPERIOR COURT.
TO HETEROSEXUAL COUPLES
CONTRADICTS THE CHARTER
OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS.
THE COURT GIVES THE
GOVERNMENT 24 MONTHS
TO REVIEW THE
DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE.

(music plays)
(Gavel banging)
(chatter)

A caption reads “The voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others.”

The Narrator continues THE CASE MAKES IT TO THE
ONTARIO COURT OF APPEAL.
THE COURT SIDES WITH THE
COUPLES AND LEGALIZES
SAME SEX MARRIAGE
IMMEDIATELY.

[church bells ringing]

A newspaper clipping reads “Breaking news. Same sex marriage legal in Ontario.”

The female newscaster appears in another clip, captioned “June 21, 2003. Studio 2.”

She says JOHN, WE HAD THIS DECISION
A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO.
IT TOOK EFFECT IN
ONTARIO IMMEDIATELY.
PEOPLE ARE BEING MARRIED.
WHAT'S TAKING THE GOVERNMENT
SO LONG TO SPEAK ITS PIECE?

A male journalist appears on a TV screen in the studio. A caption reads “John Ibbitson, The Globe and Mail.”

Ibbitson says
THERE IS CONSIDERABLE DIVISION
WITHIN THE LIBERAL CAUCUS
OVER WHETHER THERE
SHOULD BE A LEGALIZATION
OF GAY MARRIAGE AT A
LEGISLATIVE LEVEL.
THERE IS A LONG AND SOME WOULD
SAY DISHONOURABLE TRADITION
OF PARLIAMENT RETREATING
WHENEVER A SOCIALLY
CONTENTIOUS ISSUE ARISES AND
ALLOWING THE COURTS TO DO IT.
THE PROBLEM IN THIS CASE
IS THAT IN ALBERTA,
RALPH KLEIN, THE PREMIER,
HAS DECLARED EMPHATICALLY
AT THE WESTERN PREMIERS'
CONFERENCE, THAT ONTARIO COURTS
CAN SAY WHAT THEY WANT,
EVEN THE SUPREME COURT CAN SAY
WHAT IT WANTS; BUT IF THE
SUPREME COURT DOES, IN FACT,
LEGALIZE GAY MARRIAGES, HE WILL
USE THE NOTWITHSTANDING CLAUSE
SO THAT IT WILL BE ILLEGAL
TO BE MARRIED IN ALBERTA
IF YOU'RE GAY, EVEN IF IT
IS LEGAL IN EVERY PART
OF THE COUNTRY, WHICH IS
JUST A HORRIBLE MISMATCH.
WHICH IS WHY PARLIAMENT
SHOULD BE ACTING ON THIS.

The Parliament of Canada appears.

The Narrator continues IN ORDER FOR THE LIBERALS
TO HAVE CONSISTENT
SAME SEX MARRIAGE LAWS
ACROSS THE COUNTRY,
PARLIAMENT NEEDS TO PASS
A NEW MARRIAGE BILL.
BUT THE ISSUE IS
SO CONTROVERSIAL,
THAT THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT
CAN'T DECIDE WHAT TO DO.
THE OPPOSITION THEN LED BY OUR
CURRENT PRIME MINISTER,
STEPHEN HARPER,
ATTACKS THE LIBERALS
FOR ALLOWING THE
COURTS TO CREATE
A SAME SEX
MARRIAGE POLICY.

A clip shows a younger Stephen Harper speaking in the House of Commons. A caption reads “September 16, 2003.”

Harper says THE RESPONSIBLE THING TO DO
WOULD BE FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE
TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE
SHOULD BE ABOLISHED,
TO ARGUE DEMOCRATICALLY AND
OPENLY THAT IT IS DESIRABLE
AND SOCIALLY
NECESSARY TO DO SO.
BUT OPPONENTS OF
TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE,
HAVE REFUSED TO DO THAT;
INSTEAD, THEY HAVE GONE TO
THE COURTS TO TURN THIS,
TO CONTORT THIS INTO
A HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE.
THEY HAVE CHOSEN TO MAKE CHANGE
WITHOUT SOCIAL CONSENSUS.
AND IN DOING SO, THEY HAVE
ARTICULATED A POSITION
THAT I BELIEVE IS WRONG IN LAW,
IS UNIVERSALLY INSULTING,
IS VERY DANGEROUS AS FAR AS
REAL RIGHTS ARE CONCERNED,
AND HAS BEEN DONE SO IN A
HIGHLY UNDEMOCRATIC MANNER.

[applause]

The Narrator continues OTHER PARTIES, LIKE
THE NDP, HAVE NO ISSUE
OF THE COURT LEGALIZING
SAME SEX MARRIAGE.

A clip shows a man speaking. A caption reads “Svend Robinson, M.P. NDP, Burnaby-Douglas.”
Another caption reads “June 11, 2003.”

Robinson says THE COURTS ARE DOING
EXACTLY WHAT WE AS ELECTED
REPRESENTATIVES, BOTH
FEDERALLY AND PROVINCIALLY,
ASKED THEM TO DO WHEN WE ADOPTED
A CHARTER OF RIGHTS IN 1982
WHICH CAME INTO
FORCE IN 1985.
WHAT WE SAID IS THERE ARE
CERTAIN BASIC VALUES
THAT ALL CANADIANS
SHOULD RESPECT.
AND IF ELECTED GOVERNMENTS
DON'T RESPECT THOSE VALUES,
AND ONE OF THOSE CORE
VALUES IS EQUALITY,
THEN THE COURTS
WILL INTERVENE.
AND THAT'S ALL
THAT'S HAPPENED HERE.

A bill pops up on screen.

The Narrator continues THE LIBERALS DECIDE TO
GO AHEAD AND WRITE
A NEW SAME SEX
MARRIAGE BILL.
BUT BEFORE THEY INTRODUCE
IT TO PARLIAMENT,
THEY ASK THE SUPREME COURT
IF IT'S CONSTITUTIONAL.
AND, WHEN THE SUPREME
COURT GETS BACK TO THEM,
THEY SAY IT IS.

In animation, the Supreme court building pops up with two boxes captioned “Constitutional” and “Unconstitutional.”
The Constitutional box is checked.

Ibbitson reappears with a caption that reads “December 9, 2004.”

He says THE COURT HAS SAID -
ACTUALLY, THE COURT HAS BEEN
QUITE MINIMALIST
IN ALL OF THIS.
THE COURT HAS SIMPLY SAID,
YOU WANT TO KNOW, DO YOU HAVE
AUTHORITY TO PASS
SAME SEX LEGISLATION?
YES, OF COURSE, YOU DO.
ARE THERE RELIGIOUS PROTECTIONS
SO THAT YOU'RE NOT COMPELLED
TO DO THIS IN CHURCH IF A
PARTICULAR RELIGION
DOESN'T WANT TO?
YES, OF COURSE THERE ARE.
EVERYTHING ELSE IT'S A
POLITICAL QUESTION.
AND IT HAS TO BE ANSWERED
IN THE LEGISLATURE,
IN PARLIAMENT AND WE'RE
NOT GOING TO GO THERE.
SO IT SAID THE LEAST IT
HAD TO SAY IN ORDER
TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR
PARLIAMENT TO MOVE.
AND NOW IT IS SIMPLY A
POLITICAL QUESTION.

In animation a bill captioned “Bill C-38” pops up with an equal sign and two female wedding cake figurines.

The Narrator continues IN FEBRUARY OF 2005, THE
LIBERALS INTRODUCE A LAW
WHICH LEGALIZES
SAME SEX MARRIAGE
IN EVERY PART
OF THE COUNTRY.
ON THE EVE OF THE
BILL PASSING,
AN EMOTIONAL DEBATE ENSUES
IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.

A clip shows Mario Silva, Liberal MP, speaking in the House of Commons. A caption reads “June 28, 2005.”

Silva says THIS DEBATE AND ARGUMENT
ABOUT SOMEHOW THERE'S
THIS GREAT FEAR, THIS
INCREDIBLE SITUATION
IS GOING TO TAKE
PLACE IN OUR COUNTRY
OF CIVIL MARRIAGE IN FACT
BECOMES LAW IN THIS COUNTRY.

The caption changes to "Mario Silva. Davenport, ON. Liberal."

Silva continues WELL, Mr. SPEAKER,
IT THE LAW ALREADY
IN MANY PLACES IN
THIS COUNTRY.
IT THE LAW IN ONTARIO,
MY HOME PROVINCE.
IT HAS BEEN THE LAW
FOR OVER A YEAR.
I DON'T SEE MARRIAGES BREAKING
UP ALL OVER THE PLACE.

Another MP speaks. The caption changes to "Betty Hinton, Conservative."

Hinton says THIS IS NOT A
HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE.
THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT GOES
WELL BEYOND HUMAN RIGHTS.
AND AS I SAID IN MY SPEECH,
I BELIEVE IT IS A QUESTION
OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY.
IT IS THE RIGHT OF
THE CHURCH TO DECIDE
WHO THEY DO AND
DO NOT MARRY.
AND IF YOU TAKE
THAT RIGHT AWAY,
YOU HAVE FAILED ALL OF THOSE
WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE US
AND MADE THIS COUNTRY
WHAT IT IS TODAY,
AND BUILT CANADA'S
REPUTATION WORLDWIDE.

The Narrator continues ON JULY 28TH, 2005, THE HOUSE
OF COMMONS PASSES A BILL
WHICH LEGALIZED
SAME SEX MARRIAGE.
MOST OF THE SUPPORT COMES
FROM THE BLOC QUEBECOIS,
THE LIBERALS AND THE
NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY.
IN CALIFORNIA, THE STATE ISN'T
ISSUING MARRIAGE LICENSES
TO LESBIAN AND GAY COUPLES, BUT
IF SAME SEX MARRIAGE ACTIVISTS
POLICY IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL,
LIKE THEY DID IN CANADA, THEN
THAT MAY CHANGE ONE DAY.
THAT'S IT FOR “THINK AGAIN.”
A PODCAST WE REMIXED
FROM TVO'S ARCHIVE
TO LOOK AT TODAY'S ISSUES.
SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

A yellow and blue end slate reads “Think Again. Watch more from TVO’s archive at archive.tvo.org
Produced by Craig Desson.”

TVO. Copyright, 2011. The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Think Again about Same Sex Marriage