Have religious and constitutional objections to homosexuality and gay rights become unacceptable in modern-day public life? Defenders of traditional values contend that homosexual activists are attempting to enforce a pro-gay party line through intimidation, and point to recent attacks against federal Tory Deputy Leader Elsie Wayne and U.S. Senator Rick Santorum as examples.

In April, Santorum, a Republican senator from Pennsylvania, commented on a U.S. Supreme Court case involving a Texas sodomy law:”If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything.”

The Senator’s remarks touched off a firestorm of protest across the United States, including a statement from the gay activist group, the Log Cabin Republicans, that compared Santorum’s words to racist comments. Concerned Women for America president Sandy Rios shot back that “the fact that (Log Cabin Republicans) and other gay groups are linking their smear campaign to the black civil rights cause is an added insult to African-American Republicans and all black Americans. There are no ex-blacks, but there are thousands and thousands of ex-gays.”

More recently, speaking in the House of Commons on same-sex marriages, Wayne (P.C., Saint John) wondered why homosexuals feel the need to celebrate their sexual orientation in gay pride parades. “They do not see us (heterosexuals) getting up on the floats, for heaven’s sake, to say we are husband and wife. We do not do that. Why do they have to go around trying to get a whole lot of publicity?” asked Wayne. “If they are going to live together, they can live together and shut up about it. There is not any need for this nonsense whatsoever and we shouldn’t have to tolerate it in Canada.”

Wayne’s remarks were soon pounced upon by John Fisher, the director of advocacy for Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere, or EGALE. Fisher said Wayne is “out of touch with the values of mainstream Canada,” and added: “It is disturbing that in this day and age, we still have parliamentarians believing it is okay to discriminate against certain groups of Canadians.”

Interestingly, Wayne was also attacked by members of her own party. Leader Joe Clark claimed Wayne “has extreme views” on homosexuality, while openly gay leadership candidate and MP Scott Brison accused her of bringing “great shame” to the party, adding she should lose her position as deputy leader. In spite of his rebuke, Clark has so far refused to fire her from the party’s leadership.

Hilary White, director of research for Campaign Life Coalition, told The Interim that a “disgruntled minority” of homosexual activists are attempting to silence traditional views by having them deemed unacceptable. She pointed to one example, when Rita Curley of the Catholic Women’s League was challenged by gay NDP MP Svend Robinson at a February session of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Curley argued that equating homosexual unions with marriage is “just as logical as equating anarchy with government,” and that a “new morality” could be created “in which homosexuality is not merely tolerated but is normalized and would branch out into sexual activity with babies, children of both sexes, and with animals.” Robinson objected to what he perceived as the “hatred” which was “spewed” in the session.

White maintained that Curley was merely presenting a “purely Catholic teaching” of sexual morality, and worries that Robinson’s proposed amendments to Canada’s hate crimes legislation could make such teachings hate speech.

White added that the term “sexual orientation” has not been properly defined in legal terms. “I could have my coffee table declared my spouse,” said White sarcastically.