Same-sex marriages (SSM) in Canada
Two opposing sound bytes about the federal Bill C-38 which legalized same-sex marriage in Canada during mid-2005:
Brief summary of SSM in Canada:
Holland and Belgium were the first political jurisdictions in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry. In mid-2003, the province of Ontario became the third. Subsequent lawsuits in other provinces forced other reluctant provincial governments to legalize SSM.
On 2005-FEB-01, the Canadian federal government, under the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, introduced bill C-38 to legalize SSM in all ten provinces and three territories.
By 2005-JUL-19, courts had ruled that same-sex couples could marry in eight out of the ten provinces of Canada, and in one out of the three territories. A court case was active at the time in the Northwest Territories. The two provinces that had traditionally been the slowest to grant lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons equal rights are also the most religiously conservative: Alberta and Prince Edward Island. They remained intransigent on the matter of marriage equality.
Bill C-38 passed its final vote in the House of Commons during the evening of 2005-JUN-28. The vote was close: 158 to 133. The bill passed its final vote in the Senate by a vote of 47 to 21 with three abstentions on 2005-JUL-19. It was signed into law on 2005-JUL-20 by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. The Governor General, who usually proclaims legislation, was incapacitated at the time for medical reasons.
The main result of the bill was symbolic: same-sex couples could marry anywhere in Canada for the first time. The government considered their relationships equal to those of opposite-sex couples. Previous to this date, about 10% of Canadian same-sex couples lived in provinces and territories where they could not marry. After this date, they were able to do it more conveniently. They could marry within their province or territory without the nuisance of having to go elsewhere in Canada to marry.
Four and a half years later, during 2006-DEC, the Conservative Party under Prime Minister Stephen Harper mounted an attack on SSM by attempting to reopen debate on bill C-38. His motion was defeated in the House of Commons.
The federal Conservative Party, still under Prime Minister Harper, resumed the attack during 2012-JAN, in the court. This time, they attempted to forcibly terminate marriages that had been solemnized by visitors to Canada. This provoked instantaneous and strong opposition. The Government quickly retreated.
Starting on 2013-OCT-24 and continuing at least until 2014-FEB, "ISideWith.com" conducted a poll of Canadians, asking the question: "Should the government allow same sex marriage?." Over 95,000 Canadians had voted by 2014-FEB-20:
It is important to remember that for this poll, and all other polls taken over the Internet, the vote is not based on a random selection of persons. Only individuals who have Internet access, who come to the ISideWith web site, and who were motivated to respond to the poll were counted. If a truly random selection had been made, one could expect a slightly different result.
During a Conservative Party convention during 2016-MAY, the delegates voted 1036 to 462 to delete the party's traditional opposition to marriage equality from their policy book. There is some speculation that the Conservative Party may lose members and votes in future elections because of their decision in favor of marriage equality.
|Reactions by conservative Christians:
|SSM activity at the provincial / territorial level:
The following essays discuss the process by which SSM was legalized one province and territory at a time across Canada. This material is primarily of historical interest at this time, because a federal law made SSM available everywhere in Canada -- except for Prince Edward Island (PEI). On 2005-JUL-20. PEI capitulated when faced with a lawsuit.
|SSM activity at the national level:
The following essays discuss the process by which a federal law was developed which enlarged the definition of marriage in Canada to include all loving committed couples -- both opposite sex and same-sex.
|Briefs submitted to the government by
|Developments after 2006:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Copyright © 1998 to 2016 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2016-DEC-01
Author: B.A. Robinson
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