SAME-SEX MARRIAGES IN CANADA
2005-FEB-19 to MAR-29
Parliamentary debate of Bill C-38 "Civil Marriage Act"
In this essay, "SSM" means "same-sex marriage." "MP" means
Member of Parliament.
As of 2005-FEB-22, 87% of Canadians lived in a province or
territory which has already made SSM available to same-sex couples as a result
of court rulings. Another court challenge is expected in Alberta. If this
authorizes SSM in that province, then only 3% of the Canadian population will be
without access to SSM in their province or territory.
On 2005-FEB-16, debate on the C-38 bill began in Parliament. If passed, then
the remaining 13% or 3% of the Canadian population will gain direct access to
The government will hold a second
reading vote in May. If it passes, the bill then goes to a committee for
study. The government hopes that the bill will
become law by the end of 2005-JUN. However the Liberal party is only holding
onto control by a thread and a new election may be called at any time. If that
happens, then all progress to date on C-38 will be nullified.
||2005-FEB-18: Tom Wappell speaks against SSM in Parliament: Tom Wappell
(Liberal-Scarborough Southwest) is a well-known opponent of SSM. He debated SSM in parliament,
concluding that Bill C-38 is "...discriminatory, a sham, and a hoax on
parliamentarians and Canadians." Some of his
||2005-MAR-02: Membership of the
Parliamentary SSM committee determined: According to Focus on the
Family, Canada, the committee to study C-38 has been selected. It will
||Five Liberals: Françoise Boivin, Don
Boudria, Paul Macklin, Anita Neville, and Michael Savage;
||Four Conservatives: Rona Ambrose, Gord
Brown, Rob Moore, and Vic Toews);
||Two Bloc Quebecois: Richard Marceau and
||One New Democrat: Bill Siksay).
It will be chaired by Deputy Speaker Marcel
Proulx, a Liberal MP. Vic Toews is the justice critic for the Conservative
Party and has been outspoken in his opposition to SSM. Réal Ménard and Bill
Siksay are both openly homosexual. 2
||2005-MAR-05: SSM given overwhelming support
at Liberal convention: The Liberal Party of Canada held a
convention in Ottawa, ON. One of the topics discussed by the delegates was
SSM. According to the Toronto Star, "Over the weekend, the delegates
overwhelmingly endorsed the Liberal's current legislation before Parliament
to legalize same-sex marriage. Those who spoke against it in the debate on
the convention floor were sometimes booed and heckled." A vote was taken
on the delegate's confidence in the Prime Minister. He passed with an 88%
approval rating. Demonstrators marched on MAR-06 on Parliament Hill,
carrying signs like: "Defend Marriage," "Protect Marriage," "Natural
Marriage: 1 man 1 woman," and "Children Churches Culture Canada!
Liberals of Canada continue their "It's the Charter, stupid" campaign:
Unlike other North American political parties, the Liberal Party of
Canada reserves about 30% of its delegate positions for youths at its
conventions. More than 385 Young Liberals attended the convention on
the weekend of 2005-MAR-05. They continued their campaign in support of SSM,
called: "It's the Charter, stupid." Their group has been
supporting SSM for over a decade. When interviewed on a TV news program,
Prime Minister Paul Martin said that he loved the first first three words "It's
the Charter." But he was not happy with the last word: "Stupid."
He refused to wear a button himself. 4|
The "defendMARRIAGE" website, is a project of Canada Family Action
Coalition (CFAC). Both oppose SSM. They were not impressed by the buttons
either. They identify "Martin loyalists in the Liberal Party,"
or "the Martin team" and not the Young Liberals of Canada, as being
responsible for the campaign. They released a statement saying, in part:
"We are very surprised and saddened that Mr. Martin's supporters would
choose to take the low road in this debate, labelling those who disagree
with them as 'stupid'. We are especially troubled that they would do so with
"We acknowledge and respect the fact that some of our
fellow Canadians, Mr. Martin included, don't share our view that marriage
should not be redefined, however 66 per cent of Canadians do. Disagreeing
with Mr. Martin does not make us ‘stupid' and it is adolescent to say it
does. Where is this country headed when the Prime Minister's team
marginalizes and demonizes citizens who disagree with him?"
Apparently they are actually aware that it is the Young Liberals and
not some nebulous "Martin team" who are responsible for the campaign
and buttons. They provide a hyperlink at the end of their statement to the
Young Liberal website, with the warning notice "beware of content."
||2005-MAR-07: Problems at Conservative Party
policy convention: The Conservative Party of Canada will hold its
policy convention on MAR-17 to 19. On MAR-07, they released a preliminary
list of approved resolutions to be debated and voted upon. The split between
moderates and conservatives within the party surfaced over resolutions P-90
to P-95. P-90 says that MPs will be able to vote freely on bills before
Parliament. But the party leader Stephen Harper allegedly insisted that it
have an attachment stating: "If resolution P-90 is passed at the
plenary, the plenary will not consider resolutions P-91 through P-95."
The latter are resolutions concerning:|
||Weighting the will of the constituents over the MP's personal views.
||Defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
||Refusal of the party to support legislation to regulate abortion.
||Ban all partial birth abortions during the
third trimester no matter what the circumstances.
||Creation of a Royal Commission to study euthanasia, assisted suicide
and palliative care.
Thus, if P-90 were approved, there would be no resolutions, debate or
established party stand on these social issues. The former Canadian
Alliance supporters were angered by the move. The former Progressive
Conservatives were pleased. Reaction from ordinary party members,
pro-life and anti-SSM groups was strong. P-90 was rejected. The
remaining resolutions will be debated at the party convention.
||2005-MAR-10: Estimated support for C-38 bill: The web site "Free
Vote on Same-Sex Marriage" attempts to track support and opposition for
bill C-38. Predictions were:|
||2005-MAR-11: Committee members chosen to study bill C-38: Six
Liberal MPs, four Conservative MPs, two Block Quebecois MPs, and one NDP
member have been chosen to make up the committee which will review the bill,
hold public presentations, etc. The four Conservatives all oppose SSM; all
of the rest. LifeSiteNews, a conservative Protestant group which is opposed
to SSM, recommends that other Canadians who oppose equal rights for same-sex
couples ask that the Committee be permitted to travel across the country to
hear witnesses. They also suggest that Canadians complain to their MPs about
they regard as stacking of the committee in favor of SSM. 6|
||2005-MAR-17: SSM debate has died down:
There has been little coverage of SSM during the month of March. There have
been only two letters to the editor in the Toronto Star newspaper on the
topic: both favored SSM on human rights grounds. Several anti-SSM "marriage
rally" are being conducted across Canada every week, largely in Alberta and
||2005-MAR-21: SSM debated in Parliament:
Many Conservatives and a few LiIberals debated SSM in Parliament. A few
||Liberal MP John McKay, the parliamentary
secretary to the Minister of Finance, expressed concern about inadequate
"so-called protection for religious officials." He said that
freedom guarantees in the bill are "worthless....There
is not a scintilla of doubt that religious institutions and their
officials would be the next line of attack....Were I a religious
official or a religious institution, I would be bracing for an onslaught
of legal battering."
||Liberal MP Dan McTeague, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of
Foreign Affairs, said: "It became very clear to me that despite the
guarantees that are given on paper and by this House as to what the next
level of protection is going to be, frankly, it is not worth the paper
it is written on."
||Mrs. Rose-Marie Ur (Liberal-Lambton, Kent,
Middlesex) conducted a survey among her constituents and found that the
vast majority favor depriving same-sex couples of the right to marry.
She feels that the Supreme Court has erred in granting rights to
same-sex couples in conflict with the beliefs of many religious groups
who believe that same-sex couples should be discriminated against.
She said: "In my opinion we cannot tinker with the
fundamentals of an institution like marriage without expecting
significant consequences. Marriage is not improved by becoming all
things to all people. Changing the public meaning of an institution
changes the social reality. It transforms the understandings and
practices supported by that institution."
||Garry Breitkreuz (Conservative - Yorktown, Melville) read into the
record a number of statements by previous Liberal governments in
opposition to SSM.
||Liberal MP John McCallum who is the Minister of National Revenue,
supports SSM. He asserted that gay marriage does not reduce the rights
of other Canadians; it does not in any way devalue his own marriage.
Churches or other religious institutions not be forced to perform gay
marriages against their will. He concluded "...that the civil
marriage act extends the rights of gay Canadians without diminishing the
rights of other Canadians. Accordingly I am pleased to support this bill
and I would do so whether or not I was a member of cabinet....To light a
candle from another that is already burning does not diminish the light
of that first candle, but rather serves to brighten the room. It is
fundamental to our society that we offer basic rights to all. It is
fundamental that we strive to extend our interpretation of equality as
far as possible.... One cannot pick and choose between minorities
whose rights one wants to defend and minorities whose rights one chooses
to oppose. If we do not protect the rights of one group, in this case
gay Canadians, we set a precedent that would make it easier to abuse the
rights of other Canadians down the road. We do not want to embark on
that path." 7
||2005-MAR-27: Sikh MPs ordered to oppose SSM
bill: Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, the world's highest Sikh authority,
has warned Sikh-Canadian MPs that they must try to block the SSM bill or
suffer ostracism by their community for flouting their religious duty. He
told reporters that he had reminded six Sikh-Canadian MPs in January of
their duty when they visited the Golden Temple in India. He said: "The
basic duty of Sikh MPs in Canada should be to support laws that stop this
kind of practice [homosexuality] because there are thousands of Sikhs living
in Canada -- to ensure that Sikhs do not fall prey to this practice....I
told them about Sikh teachings and how Sikhs should come forward to protect
these Sikh tenets. The Sikh religion would never accept such MP's. Nobody
would support such a person having such dirty thoughts in their mind because
it is against the Sikh religion and the Sikh code of conduct and totally
against the laws of nature" |
Manjit Singh Kalkatta, a member of the governing body of the
Temple -- the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee -- said: "We
expect from every practicing Sikh, whether he is a member of a legislative
assembly or Parliament, that he would abide by his faith." Referring to
Liberal MP Navdeep Bains, Kalkatta said: "I was successful in putting a
message to him that he should not espouse this cause publicly, as the Sikh
people would reject that and he would lose his own people's support. He is a
baptized Sikh and must adhere to the principles of his religion."
Tom Wappel, Bill C-38, Hansard, 2005-FEB-18, at:
"Today's Family News," Focus on the Family Canada, 2003-MAR-02.
Les Whittington & Susan Delacourt, "PM wins 88% approval rating," The Toronto Star, 2005-MAR-07, Page A5.
"Join us, and support same-sex rights!," Young Liberals of Canada, 2005-FEB-22, at:
"NEW Martin Liberal Campaign - 'It's the Charter, Stupid'," defendMARRIAGE, 2005-FEB-27, at:
- LifeSiteNews.com, 2005-MAR-11.
"Hansard," 2005-MAR-21, at:
Martin Cohn, "Reject gay bill, Sikh MPs told," The Toronto Star, 2005-MAR-28, Page A1 and A10.
Copyright © 2005 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2005-APR-15
Author: B.A. Robinson