Divorcing Marriage: Unveiling the Dangers in Canada's New Social Experiment

Description

193 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
$24.95
ISBN 0-7735-2985-4
DDC 306.84'8'0971

Year

2005

Contributor

Edited by Daniel Cere and Douglas Farrow
Reviewed by John Stanley

John Stanley is a senior policy advisor in the Corporate Policy Branch
Management Board Secretariat, Government of Ontario. He is co-editor of
Nation and History: Polish Historians from the Enlightenment to the
Second World War.

Review

What has happened to Canada’s university presses? Is their reputation
for sale? These questions come to mind when reviewing this volume
published by McGill-Queen’s University Press, apparently now the
preferred academic press for Canada’s far right, based on this and
other recent volumes. This book is published for the Institute for the
Study of Marriage, Law and Culture; its website links users to the
Institute for American Values and Focus on the Family with Dr. James
Dobson.

The volume consists of 11 essays presenting the case against broadening
the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. However,
contributors regularly denounce abortion, divorce, the “effete
lawyering class,” and working mothers, as well as the inclusion of
homosexuality in the mainstream. Although some contributors insist that
their views are secular, the assumption that marriage is an
“intrinsically procreative relationship” is consistent with
fundamentalist views. Contributors warn about “the dissolution of
society as a whole” while referring to the “supremacy of God—the
constitution notwithstanding.” Canada is regarded as “enslaving and
unfair.” There is no historical framework for marriage: it is just
assumed that this legal and religious institution is “rooted in the
divine order of the universe.” It would appear that most contributors
would be quite comfortable living in the Gilead of Handmaid’s Tale.
(It should not surprise readers that Stalin’s approach to family law
is praised.)

There is no bibliography but there are footnotes, often not providing
actual citations to support the text’s argument. References are
usually to conservative U.S. sources, such as Richard Posner or the Wall
Street Journal.

According to press staff, the Institute funded this publication. One
could argue that the press is ensuring that the other side is being
heard, but these intemperate views are widely disseminated in all media
and are hardly rooted in scholarship. Given its reputation, many
libraries will undoubtedly have blanket orders for McGill-Queen’s
publications. This volume demonstrates that greater selectivity in
purchasing for library collections may be required.

Citation

“Divorcing Marriage: Unveiling the Dangers in Canada's New Social Experiment,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 20, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/29381.