Blogger.com was down from Thursday noon until today, so please forgive me for not blogging about this sooner. Simon has beaten me to it already.
The B.C. Conservative Party hasn't elected anyone since the 1970s. Now their great white hope is John Cummins, who served 18 years in Ottawa as a Reform Party turned Canadian Alliance turned Stephen Harper Conservative backbencher.
His strategy for putting his moribund party back on the map? It would seem to appeal to those on the far right who cling to their hatred of LGBT people. Cummins recently suggested that sexual orientation is a choice that does not require specific protection under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
“I'm not a scientist [but] some of the research tells me that there's more of an indication that that's a choice issue,” Cummins told a Victoria radio audience.
What research exactly? Did he ask John Baird? Probably not, as I'm sure he would've told him being gay is NOT a choice. I didn't choose to be gay, it chose me. Every gay man I've ever met has told me their sexuality was not something they chose. In fact, the only choice is whether or not to live your life as an openly gay person. For those who are bisexual, I can see how one might gravitate from one gender to another over time.
But Cummins' argument that something being a choice means it doesn't deserve human rights protection is disturbing for other reasons. Of course, religion is also a choice, but Cummins mentioned nothing about removing religious freedom protections from human rights acts. Even if sexual orientation were a choice, does this mean firing someone for being gay or refusing to do business with someone because they are gay is therefore okay?
Cummins' misguided position boggles the mind. This is the most press his leadership candidacy has garnered. Cummins is a shoe-in for the leadership as the deadline for others to declare has past. When he was later queried by more media about his anti-gay comments, Mr. Cummins said his opinions were personal.
“I'm pro-life, I'm pro-traditional marriage, that's my view, I'm not a scientist,” he told the Times Colonist. “I'm not going to discuss that, they're personal issues, private issues.”
Why must too many conservatives continue to rely on their knee-jerk ignorance when determining public policy? If I were an elected official and were asked to vote on an issue I knew little to nothing about, I'd want to do my research and make an educated, intelligent decision. But such fair thinking is foreign to conservatives like Cummins. In fact, truth and research just get in the way of their ideology and prejudices. Just ask Rob Ford.
This makes me wonder how many other Tory backbenchers in the newly-invigorated Tory majority caucus feel the same way about LGBT people and our rights. All LGBT people in Canada and those who support equality should be very wary about the next four years.
Since opening this can of worms, Cummins has backtracked on the issue a bit. So it was sloppy rhetoric that got him into trouble, not some devious scheme to represent the far-right in B.C. Good to know.