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Homosexuality In Canada Essay

2380 words - 10 pages

Historically speaking, the notion of homosexuality has been the cause of major conflicts for the last two millennia. For centuries, people considered different based solely on their sexual orientation have been shunned, alienated, imprisoned, and, in extreme cases, even murdered all around the world. More specifically, the issue of homosexuality reached its apex in Canada in the post-Confederation era from the 1900s to the 1960s. Throughout those decades, the federal government of Canada placed a huge emphasis on the then entrenched “typical family structure,” consisting of the male breadwinner, the stay-at-home wife, and around two or three children (even more during the post-WWII decades). ...view middle of the document...

To put things into context, from a social standpoint, homosexuals were, as it is mentioned above, considered to be a threat to the fundamentally heterosexual social fabric and family structure emphasized by the federal government of Canada in the first half of the 20th century, especially during the post-war decades of the 1940s to the 1960s (Warner, 31). From a psychological standpoint, homosexuals, during those same decades, were considered “perverse, abnormal, deviant, neurotic” beings whose latent homosexual tendencies were a result of a medical disorder, brought about by environmental and psychological circumstances, which could be, and ought to be cured, for the sake of society as a whole (Warner, 23-24). From a legal standpoint, from the adoption of the Bill of Rights in 1960 to the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada in 1969, homosexuality was considered such a serious crime that the above-mentioned document contained a passage stating that “men and institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and the rule of law” (Warner, 31), which, during the aforementioned years, meant that homosexuals went against the social fabric suggested by the law, which is explained at the beginning of the paragraph. Following the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada in 1969, many of the laws concerning homosexuality, as well as the legal terms associated with them, were amended/reformed to forever reshape the way society viewed homosexuality from the 1970’s until the present day in 2013.
The Wolfenden Report, published in 1957 in the UK by Sir John Wolfenden and his colleagues, played a huge role in the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada in 1969. In short, the Wolfenden Report argued that homosexual “activities” performed in private should not be considered illegal. Similarly, neither should it be considered a disease, as, in most cases, it acts as the sole symptom (Wikipedia). To put it bluntly, the Wolfenden Report urged that public statutes avoid the attempt to legislate morality and that they concern themselves only with sexual acts that offend public decency or disrupt order (Encyclopaedia Britannica). Ten years later, the Wolfenden Report was used in the court case of Everett George Klippert, when it was cited and used against the Supreme Court of Canada, when he attempted to appeal his guilty verdict of 1966. As virtually no evidence existed suggesting that Klippert was a danger and a threat to society, save for the conclusions reached by the psychologists who analyzed him while he was in jail, the Supreme Court literally made a judgment to deny Klippert’s appeal based on their moral judgment (Kinsman, 262). No laws could be referenced, aside from the extremely biased dangerous sexual offender legislation, which branded each and every homosexual male as a dangerous sexual offender (Kinsman, 262). That being said, laws were desperately needed so that homosexuals could...

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