SAME-SEX MARRIAGES IN CANADA
2005-JUN-15 to JUN-28
Bill C-38 "Civil Marriage Act" is passed by the House of Commons
In this essay, "SSM" means "same-sex marriage." "MP" means
Member of Parliament.
2005-JUN-15, 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. On JUN-23, SSMs were legalized in in New Brunswick. This meant
that about 10% of the Canadian population
live in jurisdictions where there is no access to SSM by the end of June.
By 2005-JUN-28, the bill had
been reviewed by a House committee, and was being returned to the House for the third
reading and final vote. In an extended spring session, on JUN-28, the House passed the bill
by a vote of 158 to 133. It now proceeds to the Senate.
|2005-JUN-16: Parliament scheduled to debate C-38: The bill
returned from committee for the third reading and final vote. There were
rumors that the Conservative Party will introduce over a dozen amendments to
the bill, in an apparent filibustering effort to delay voting so that
Parliament will recess on JUN-23 before having a chance to vote on the main
bill. According to some news services, the Conservative Party offered to
speed passage of an unrelated budget bill that they hate with a vengeance,
if they can get the ruling Liberal party to abandon the vote on C-38 until
the fall. Their apparent rationale is that the public's mood might reverse
itself and become opposed to SSM. The budget bill that they offered to
support contained funding for items that the Conservative party strenuously
oppose: more money for affordable housing, increased funding for
post-secondary education, increased transit funding, etc. |
Brian Rushfeldt of Canada Family Action Coalition, a group which
opposes SSM allegedly said: "I've had great concern hearing Paul Martin
making a statement claiming this is not going to get passed because of
Harper and the Conservatives. The fact that Paul Martin has not been
honest even to the point of driving one member out of the party is proof
he's not to be trusted."
NDP MP Libby Davies, a New Democratic Party member of parliament who
supports marriage equality, said: "The Prime Minister does not have to
duck and hide on this one. His responsibility is not to Liberal MPs who want
to act like the Conservatives. His responsibility is to human rights."
According to LifeSiteNews, a Fundamentalist Christian group, C-38 has
returned from the committee with an amendment that states: "For greater
certainty, no person or organization shall be deprived of any benefit, or be
subject to any obligation or sanction, under any law of the Parliament of
Canada solely by reason of their exercise, in respect of marriage between
persons of the same sex, of the freedom of conscience and religion
guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the
expression of their beliefs in respect of marriage as the union of a man and
woman to the exclusion of all others based on that guaranteed freedom."
|2005-JUN-18: Cybersquatters attack supporters of SSM: The
Globe and Mail newspaper reported that the Defend Marriage Coalition
-- a group which is trying to prevent same-sex couples from marrying -- has
registered at least 50 web sites with URLs in the names of various Members
of Parliament who support bill C-38. One is at
http://www.donboudria.ca/ It features a
photograph of Boudria (Liberal - Glengarry/Prescott/Russell, ON), his
various addresses, Email address, contact numbers, etc, the question "Can
you trust Don Boudria?" and the statement that he "Supports the
anti-marriage Bill C-38." The agency which regulates the .ca domain
names, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, considers
personal names to be fair use by anyone -- first come, first serve.
Complaints or congratulations can be sent to
|2005-JUN-19: Priest verbally attacks Prime Minister Martin:
Father Francis Geremia, a Roman Catholic priest in Paul Martin's riding,
delivered a sermon opposing same-sex marriage during a wedding mass. He
accused Martin of being a Satanist, by saying: "He has to be very careful
because he might even lose his riding....I pray that he will lose his
riding. Because you cannot have two faces: either you serve God or you serve
|2005-JUN-20: Prime Minister Martin explains his religious views
towards SSM: In an interview on CKNW radio in Vancouver BC, Martin
explained: "I'm actually a very strong Roman Catholic. But I'm also a
legislator, and I believe that clearly what I've got to do is take the
widest perspective possible. And that perspective leads me to believe that
the Charter of Rights...is a fundamental pillar of our democracy....I don't
believe that a prime minister can cherry-pick among those rights and say,
'Oh, well I'll support this right but I won't support that right.' You can't
do that. What you've got to do is say, 'rights are rights.' "
|2005-JUN-20: Liberals ask the House of Commons to extend its current
session: Government House leader, Tony Valeri, gave notice that he will
introduce a motion to extend the sitting hours of the House of Commons. If
passed, it would extend the session past JUN-23 in order to have the MPs
vote on an amendment to the federal budget (Bill C-48) and the SSM
legislation (Bill C-38). Valeri said: "We'd stay as long as it takes to
get those two pieces of legislation through." Hours would be extended to
midnight. Justice Minister Irwin Cotler has said he would "sit here all
summer" if that is needed to pass the same-sex marriage bill.
|2005-JUN-23: Political parties play games in Parliament: The
Conservative Party complained that the Liberals are holding up passage of
the main budget, which contains a new financial sharing arrangement with
Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, in order to force the Conservatives to vote
quickly on an amendment to that budget, Bill C-48. The Liberals complained
that the Conservative Party was dragging their heels on Bills C-48 and C-38.
The Conservatives are complaining about the Liberals not being able to
properly schedule voting on bills. Meanwhile a Conservative MP filibustered
for nearly two hours, apparently trying to delay voting on a motion to
extend the parliamentary session. Toronto MP Roy Cullen said: "I've
talked to a lot of Canadians; they say they just turn off their television;
they're so sickened by the childishness that's going on here."
|2005-JUN-23: Vote to be taken on bill C-38:
Parliament passed a motion by a vote of 191 to 108 to extend its session
into the summer in order to consider a budget amendment (C-48) and SSM bill
(C-38). The Liberals then invoked a rare procedural tactic limit debate on
C-48 to one hour. The bill passed. Gary Goodyear (Conservative-Cambridge)
called the closure move "the end of democracy." The way is now clear
to debate C-38.
|2005-JUN-27: Anti-SSM rally:
A rally in support of restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples was
scheduled for 11:00 AM in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in
Ottawa, ON. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada comments: "Please note
that this may be the last opportunity to join with others and rally in
support of marriage in Ottawa before Bill C-38 has its third and final
reading in the House of Commons and MPs are called to vote." 6
The demonstration may have been covered in the media,
but we have been unable to find mention of it in newspapers or on TV.
|2005-JUN-27: Conservative leader says some
MPs should not be allowed to vote: In a most unusual attack on the
legitimacy of fellow members of parliament, on the constitution and and on
the election process itself, Stephen Harper suggested that MPs representing
the Bloc Québécois
[BQ] party should not be allowed to vote on bill C-38. This is because that
party hopes to eventually remove Quebec from Canada. Prime Minister Paul
Martin rebuked Harper, saying that Bloc MPs "...have the right to speak
in the House of Commons, and they have the right to vote and their votes
count as much as any other Member of Parliament. That is the essence of the
Canadian democracy, and that is the reason Canada will stay united." The
Toronto Star commented: "In recent months, the Conservatives have
consistently allied with the BQ in a fruitless effort to bring down Martin's
government. But Harper's party is miffed that the Bloc joined with the
Liberals last week in a surprise procedural move that allowed the government
to pass a $4.5 billion budget bill." 7|
|2005-JUN-27: Debate on C-38 continues:
All four parties approved an amendment that gives additional protection to
the charitable status of religious organizations that elect to discriminate
against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation. Liberal MPs noted
that courts have already approved SSM in almost all provinces; this C-38
will simply make the right to enter into a SSM uniform across Canada. Joy
Smith, a Conservative Party member from Manitoba broke down and cried in the
House of Commons. She said that she wanted same-sex couples to be refused
the right to marry in the future because of her daughter. She said that if
her daughter: "...decides one day to get married, she knows what that
meaning will be -- between a man and a woman...She will have that choice. It
will not go away in the dark of night at the stroke of a pen."
|2005-JUN-27: MPs reject amendments and
decide to limit debate on C-38: By an overwhelming majority, Members of
Parliament decided to limit further debate on C-38 to a total of nine hours.
The bill had reached "report stage." Members were then free to offer
amendments to the bill. Six were offered. All were rejected:|
|Deletion of clause 1; rejected 163 to 109.|
|Deletion of clause 2; rejected 152 to 121.|
|Deletion of clause 7; rejected 169 to 103.|
|Deletion of clause 15; rejected 169 to
|Amendment of clause 3.1; rejected 169 to
|Amendment of clause 3.1; rejected 169 to
The House finally voted to accept C-38 at the
report stage by a vote of 154 to 124. 11
|2005-JUN-28 @9 PM ET: Bill C-38 passes House: Members
of Parliament passed bill C-38 by a vote of 158 to 133. Thirty-two Liberal
MPs, 5 from the Bloc Québécois, one New
Democratic Party MP, and two independents voted against the bill. Three
members of the Conservative Party voted in favor of the bill. 8
Prime Minister Paul Martin said: "(This) is about the Charter of
Rights. We are a nation of minorities. And in a nation of minorities, it is
important that you don't cherry-pick rights. A right is a right and that is
what this vote tonight is all about."
Joe Comuzzi, the minister responsible for Northern Ontario, resigned from
the cabinet so that he would be free to vote against the bill. He explained
that "In 2004, during the election, I promised faithfully to the
people of Thunder Bay-Superior North, that I would defend the [historical]
definition of marriage."
The New Democratic Party regards this bill as a matter of fundamental human
rights; Leader Jack Layton issued a directive to all NDP MPs to vote in
favor. Bev Desjarlais, the critic for foreign aid and transport
voted against the bill. Layton removed Desjarlais' portfolio; she is now a
The bill now
proceeds to the Senate for a final vote. The Conservative Senators are
preparing at least one amendment. If any amendments are passed by the
Senate, then the bill would have to return to the House of Commons. Since
the House will have adjourned for the summer, an amendment would delay final passage of the bill until the Fall. The Liberal party currently
has a large majority in the Senate. The chances of the Senate approving an
amendment are slim, but finite. Most commentators have predicted that the Senate
will pass the bill unmodified and that the bill will receive royal assent
Related essays in this section:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- LifeSiteNews.com - Friday June 17, 2005.
- Alexander Panetta, "Priest in PM's riding praying against him," Canoe network, 2005-JUN-20, at:
- "Liberals want to extend Parliament," CBC News, 2005-JUN-20, at:
- Les Whittington & Sean Gordon, "No end to 'horrible' session?," The Toronto Star, 2005-JUN-23, Page A6.
- Brian Laghi, et al., "Liberal outmanoeuvre Tories to pass budget bill,"
Globe and Mail, 2005-JUN-24.
- "Defending marriage," Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, at:
- Les Whittington & Sean Gordon, "Harper
slams Bloc for same-sex support," Toronto Star, 2005-JUN-28, Page A11.
- "Canada's Liberal Government Passes Same-Sex 'Marriage' Bill C-38.
Becomes third nation in the world to legalize same-sex 'marriage',"
LifeSiteNews, 2005-JUN-28, at:
http://www.lifesite.net/ [Actually, the title of this report is in error;
the House of Commons has passed the bill, but it is not law unless and until the
Senate also passes it.]
- Rob Shaw, " 'Cybersquatters' play virtual politics with same-sex marriage,"
The Globe and Mail, 2005-JUN-18, at:
- "Same-sex marriage law passes 158-133," CBC News, 2005-JUN-29, at:
- "Live blogging C-38 at Report Stage," Western Standard, 2005-JUN-27,
- Alexander Panetta, "Canada approves same-sex marriage," Canadian
Press, 2005-JUN-28, at:
Copyright © 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2005-JUL-10
Author: B.A. Robinson