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  November 01, 2006 | God's Business « Previous | Current | Next » Comments (0) | Archives | About Email lind at

I thought last year's Vatman and Altar-Boy Wonder cartoons on same-socks marriage would be my last swing at the issue. After all, there is little anyone can do to stop gay and lesbians from tying the knot (in Canada, anyway). Even the vote in Parliament that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is planning this fall is purely symbolic. He has no legal recourse to put back the clock.

But then I read an article by ethicist Margaret Somerville in the Globe arguing that a child's right to have biological parents trumps a same-sex couple's right to marry -- that marriage is primarily our society's ceremony to sanctify procreation (read a Maclean's interview with her here.) She's been getting a lot of press time, since she has just given this year's CBC Massey Lectures (published in the book The Ethical Imagination).

Granted, she comes at it from a secular angle. She is against all forms of technical intervention to create children, except when infertile couples need it. Since gay couples can't naturally have kids, they should not take part in our culture's sanctification of procreation.

Somerville, like the Vatican, seems obsessed with procreation -- and glibly passes over the option many gays (and infertile couples) choose: adoption. She seems to disregard the fact that adoptive parents (and children) will tell you that though there are some obvious differences from "natural" families, they do not result an intrinsically different relationship between parent and child. Defining a family soley on the basis of genetics is as narrow-minded as defining a country soley on the basis of race. To call a child's genetic relationship to her parents an inalienable right seems to me a huge stretch. It certainly does not trump the right of same-sex couples to join in matrimony and carry all the weighty cultural baggage that comes with it, if they wish.

OK, so you're wondering why I didn't say this in the above cartoon (it's the first of probably three). I am too. Maybe religious intolerance is easier to lampoon, especially when it's in the form of men in tights. And a comic strip is, well, a comic strip, and not a written argument. Bottom line is, it's gotta be funny.

Is that a cop out? Is satirizing Catholicism akin to kicking a dead horse (or a dead Jesus)? You decide. Click on "comments" if you have any.

10 Years Ago This Week
David Cronenburg released Crash and Mike Harris started Ontario's hospitals. The first in a four-part series.



You can see a more extensive portfolio of my work at the blog, including This Bright Future, a distilled and partial continuation of Weltschmerz, Turtle Creek, a daily comic about a turtle and a computer, and Footprint in Mouth, a quarterly cartoon I draw for Alternatives.

Weltschmerz in Print

Weltschmerz ran in Toronto's Eye Weekly from 1997 to 2007. It ran in weekly papers in southwestern Ontario, Ottawa and Edmonton between 1995 and 2008.

Notes on Writing a Comic Strip

I wrote this 17-page, 4 MB PDF document for my workshop at the 2006 Eden Mills Writers' Festival. It details the creation of one strip and gives tips on writing comics.

Politics and Environment

Monbiot | Guardian columnist and Heat author George Monbiot's blog. Not only about global warming, but expect plenty of refutations of the flat-earthers. His writing is witty, incisive and bang-on.

Desmog Blog | An indispensible (and Canadian) resource that "clears the PR pollution that clouds climate science."


Weltschmerz playlist at CBC Radio 3 | Some of the music I listen to while drawing this comic -- independent and Canadian.

This American Life | Radio documentaries that hit the heart, brain and funny bone.

CBC Podcasts | I don't listen to much live radio. Now, podcasts allow me to catch a lot of what I miss. I listen to The Current, Ideas, Spark and Search Engine while inking.


Diesel Sweeties by R Stevens | Witty repartee between guys, girls and robots drawn in a pixelated yet surprisingly versatile style.

Scott Pilgrim Manga-style indie-rock romance by Canadian Bryan Lee O'Malley | The most fun I've had in a comic book in recent memory. Highly recommended.

Dykes to Watch Out For | Alison Bechdel's brilliant weekly strip has been ghettoized because of its gay themes but deserves a wider readership.

Doonesbury | Garry Trudeau is still great after all these years.

Kevin Heuzenga | Enviable drawing style and dry wit. Start with Time Travelling.

Graeme MacKay | The editorial cartoonist for the Hamilton Spectator has a distinctive, addictive drawing style. And he makes me chortle.

Friends and Neighbours

Blog Guelph | Hometown photos and events.

The Narrative | Riveting photoblog. Matt O'Sullivan is at the right place at the right shutter speed.

Breast of Canada | A calendar promoting women's health.

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