Friday, April 4, 2008

No Cigar

Paul over at “Celestial Junk” and a few others beside think they’ve come up with a wickedly clever way of diffusing the outrage over Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski’s bigoted remarks from 1991 — by drawing attention to the remarks of Tommy Douglas on homosexuality from 40 years ago. Specifically, when discussing the decriminalization of homosexuality during the 1968 federal leaders’ debate on Trudeau’s proposed Omnibus bill Douglas said: “Instead of treating it as a crime and driving it underground we ought to recognize it for what it is. It’s a mental illness; it’s a psychiatric condition which ought to be treated sympathetically, which ought to be treated by psychiatrists and social workers.”

Of course, 40 years ago this was the position of the medical establishment (the CMA, AMA and the APA regarded homosexuality as a mental disorder) and the approach of treating it as an illness rather than a criminal perversion was considered “progressive” at the time. How the compassionate (but misinformed) remarks of Douglas equate to Lukiwski’s hateful and ignorant remarks from 16 years ago is difficult to see, but a lot of these “Conservatives” seem unable to tell the obvious difference between the two. That’s because, as I’ve said before, they’re dumb as rocks.

Perhaps instead of minimizing, trivializing and attempting to rationalize Lukiwski’s remarks, these folks should take his own words to heart: “The comments I made should not be tolerated in any society. They should not be tolerated today, they should not have been tolerated in 1991 and they should not have been tolerated in the years before that.” Listen up and learn.