Celebrated Canadian Conservative Shocks Allies With Acceptance of Gay ‘Marriage’ If Referendum Manda

EDMONTON, January 13, 2005 ( - Link Byfield, in an article posted to the website of the Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy, of which he is chairman, has revealed the Achilles’ heel of much of the Canadian version of conservatism: it is not conservatism, but libertarianism.

In an editorial column appearing Christmas Eve in the Calgary Sun, Byfield said that if he were to be given a vote, he would “probably” vote against homosexual “marriage.” He writes that he “respects opposing views” on making sodomy equivalent to marriage. He wrote, “What I find hard to respect is the idea that people should not be allowed to decide this issue democratically. And this is not a matter of liberal versus conservative. It’s democracy versus dictatorship.”

Byfield started his article by accepting the gay activists’ strategic framing of the issue as one of ‘minority rights.’ He writes, “In fact, in Canada and elsewhere, all significant minority rights—from women’s right to vote, to the gays’ right to have sex, to the institution of human rights commissions—were bestowed by democratic majorities who saw wisdom in the proposals.” Byfield’s suggestion that women’s suffrage and sodomy are on a moral par demonstrates the divergence of his position from true conservatives. The notion that civil law confers natural rights, that a moral evil can become a right if it is legalized, is characteristic not of conservatism, but of classic libertarianism.  Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition said to, “There’s one problem with this idea, what if the people choose something immoral? What if we had a referendum and the people chose to adopt a coercive one-child policy like China’s? What if they chose to introduce slavery or public stoning?”“This is the problem in a nutshell with the Canadian version of conservatism, it is trying to divorce itself from traditional morality. But it can’t.” Hughes continued, “I wonder what else could be made into a right? How about child prostitution? Child pornography is very nearly a right in Canada already. Once the media have helped people to accept these things, maybe we should have a referendum on them and make them into constitutionally protected rights.”“Morality isn’t decided by consensus and a civil law that is not in accord with the moral law is a bad law, no matter how many people vote for it in a referendum.” Hughes said.

To read Byfield at the Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy :

Byfield’s column in the Calgary Sun

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