It’s difficult to be festive these days, what with so much nonsense happening everywhere and a dramatic rise in hate crimes right in this town. In my Ottawa Citizen column this week I express hope that with more talking to one another and better listening to each other that we can maybe reduce the polarization that’s leading to so much violence.
Not a single line of legal writing from me this week (or next). I’ve written a lot of it but it won’t be published until January so if I were you I’d enjoy the break.
So many people were excited to hear the pope say priests could “bless” same-sex couples and I have a few things to say. First, he didn’t say what you think he said. It’s a conditional approval to bless — but NOT approve — some same-sex relationships that are not marriages, under some circumstances. As this most excellent column on the subject says, “It’s a fig leaf, a PR exercise, a means of laundering your prejudice to make it seem like a step towards acceptance.” It is not progress, it’s just a shiny coat of progress-lite paint on the same old retrograde controlling bullshit and if you fell into that trap, do yourself a favour and walk out of it. This church is like your violent ex — it will never stop trying to impose its will on you until it dies.
South of the border, after several elections returning pro-choice results (including, remarkably in freaking Ohio), Republicans in many states including Arizona, Nevada and the always-entertaining-in-the-wrong-ways Florida are now trying to prevent more pro-choice propositions to be put on ballots, for fear it might undo their overthrow of Roe v. Wade. It’s telling when elected officials don’t trust voters, innit.
“I do not want to see abortion put in our constitution,” said Rep. Brad Hudson, a Missouri Republican. “I believe the right to life is a fundamental right that all human beings have and certainly should not be taken away because of a vote by a simple majority.”
If your party’s modus operandi is “If you can’t convince them, gag them,” you aren’t winning.
A little bit of good news and also some puzzling judicial gooblahoy
A Thunder Bay court has found that using the term “groomers,” which refers to manipulating children to commit sexual abuse, does not count as public-interest expression protected by the anti-SLAPP provisions under s. 137.1 of Ontario’s Courts of Justice Act.
As a result, the defamation action can continue against a man who posted on Facebook that organizers and performers of a series of drag events were “groomers.” He argued that his comments' focus was a CBC article about the events and the CBC’s public funding. But those suing him for defamation successfully argued that his post promoted myths and stereotypes that associate the 2SLGBTQI+ with pedophilia and harming children.
In less-so-good news, a judge in British Columbia referenced a man’s “marital intimacy deficits” when handing a voyeur a conditional discharge since it was a factor in why he secretly filmed an international student who lived in his home as she was in various states of undress. I guess we still have work to do to rid ourselves of misogyny especially where it should have no business being, like in court.
And to try and end this on a less awful note, I want to say that picking Pierre Poilievre as your newsmaker of the year was thoroughly unfair to the apple.