Derek Forgie on Marriage Equality

July 2, 2015
19470-3500-_ForgieD_headshot_crossed_arms_April_2013.jpgThe Supreme Court recently legalized same-sex marriage around the United States. It was marked with celebrations not only in America, but around the world. Today we’ve got a very special guest blog post on the subject from Equality Advocate Derek Forgie. Derek has devoted much his adult life to the pursuit of equality for all. As the Founder and Chair of the HSSE (The Heterosexuals for Same-Sex Equality) He has also brought his passion for equality to such notable events as: “What Makes a Man” conference (Hosted by The White Ribbon Campaign) and “An Evening of Hope” (Hosted by The Durham Distress Centre). Derek has also put his many comedian friends to work by producing/hosting fundraisers for the likes of: The Ontario Breast Cancer Foundation, Camp Ten Oaks and The Stephen Lewis Foundation (to name a few). NSB-Divider Canadians and Americans have more similarities than we have differences. It was recently proven true as both countries celebrated significant LGBT landmarks within days of each other. One was acknowledged with a quiet and respectful nod while the other was stridently heard around the world with joyous cheers, bold hyperbolic proclamations and 26 million digital rainbows. On June 26th, 2015 The the United States Supreme Court voted to effectively legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. On June 29th, Canada celebrated its 10th anniversary of legalizing marriage equality.  This serendipity may prove to be helpful. Canadians are frequently using their big brash neighbours to the South as a barometer on how they’re progressing. Socially, economically, if they’re doing something better than America, they slide it into the “success” column. Conversely, we are witnessing more American public figures pointing to Canada’s successes (health care, lower gun violence) as accomplishments to strive for. Our neighbouring landmasses have a history of peering over our each other’s proverbial fences. (Albeit, American’s look to us less often) That being said, if an American in your life is having some difficulty with this ruling, perhaps they should have a closer look at our nice green gay lawn. In 2005 when Prime Minister Paul Martin was making a case for marriage equality in Canada, there were no shortage of voices against it. Some of the more common counter-points included: “What am I going to tell my kids?”, “What’s next? People marrying their pets?” and “traditional marriage will cease to have a value, thus our civilization will start to unravel.” Soon these claims would prove groundless, then foolish. Ten years later, ludicrous. Now we get to watch a nation come around in the same way Canada did. This time with twenty times the population, more opinions and more HD channels to view this circus. Overall, it’s a monumental victory for a multitude of reasons. Here are three big ones:
  1. Of all the 20 countries that have passed marriage equality, this is the most populous.
  2. Good or bad, America’s cultural influence is undeniable. There are activists and politicians in various countries fighting to bring LGBT equality to their native soil who will be able to point to this victory to strengthen their case.
  3. Unlike the task of making Martin Luther King Day a holiday, we won’t have to wait for certain states to fall in line. Take the case of Texas couple Jack Evans (85), and George Harris (82). They were together for 54 years and didn’t need to wait so much as one more day after the ruling to be wed.
Naturally there are those who are not celebrating this news but rather feeling unsettled and disenchanted about it. To those folks, I  have one question.  It’s multiple choice. Ten years from now, what state is your country more likely to be found in?
  1. a) An unrecognizable hellscape where President DeGeneres decries all places of worship be converted into dance halls and/or sex dens?
or
  1. b) A country with more Aunts, Uncles, Sister-in-laws, brother-in-laws, a higher placing on global “quality of life” surveys and a spike in business for cake decorators and banquet hall owners.
Which of those do you feel is more likely? For Canada, they’re 10-years in and already know the answer.  (It’s B.) So instead of feeling sheepish later, join in the celebration now. This is the perfect time to be proud of this impressive accomplishment. The coals of joy are still hot.  Marriage Equality is like Blu-ray.  It’s an upgrade with a clearer picture and more features.  Stop clinging to your VHS tapes of ignorance because we’ve been phasing it out for years.  You’ve had lots of time to adjust to this improvement. Toronto Pride 2015For us at The HSSE (The Heterosexuals for Same-Sex Equality) this is a landmark our steering committee dreamt of back at our first meeting in 2006.  Now that the law has changed, our directive  of changing hearts and minds will continue.  One of the ways we’ll be doing this is through our Equality Check presentations.  It’s moments like these that make our work so especially timely as this issue of marriage equality is being broached at dinner tables, water coolers and classrooms everywhere.  If you’re looking for a way to bask in the celebratory glow of this historic victory, feel free to scoot over to StraightNotNarrow.ca and sift thought our various activist videos.  If one strikes a chord with you, share it with the people in your life that may be looking for a way to express their joy. A victory for equality, is a victory for humanity. #LoveWins NSB-Divider

For more on Derek, view his speaker profile.