Same-sex marriages in Canada
2005-JUL-19 & 20: Debate on Bill C-38 concludes.
Bill is passed by the Senate and signed into law.
A look back eight years later.
In this essay, "SSM" means "same-sex marriage." "MP" means
Member of Parliament.
By 2005-JUN-19, about 90% of Canadians lived in a province or territory which courts have already ordered the government to made SSM available. Thus, with the passage of C-38, only about 10% of the population were affected.
On 2005-JUN-19, the bill was passed by a comfortable majority in the House of Commons: 158 to 133. It was sent to the Senate for two readings, a referral to committee and the third and final vote.
The Senate passed the bill on 2005-JUL-19 at 11:25 PM with an expected lopsided vote 47 to 21, and with three abstentions. This reflects the party affiliations of the Senators. The Senate is mainly Liberal.
C-38 was signed into law on JUL-20 at 4:56 PM. Because of Canada's political system, creation of this law made SSM available in every province and territory in Canada.
Third reading debate in the Senate concludes:
|2005-JUL-19: Debate resumed on the motion for third reading
of C-38 (Cont'd).
||Senator Marcel Prud'homme supports C-38:
He would have preferred for the Senate committee to hold hearings
across Canada. He said: "There are people like me who would have
loved to travel around Canada with Senator St. Germain and a number of
other friends from the Conservative party to listen to Canadians spew
out their nastiness to us, to talk with them very wisely and patiently
with the understanding that there are people with things to say, that
people for years have been wanting to tell us of their despair. It is by
listening that we achieve a dialogue and comfort people saying, 'Do not
be afraid, Canada is in good hands, and the institution of marriage is
not in danger'."
Roman Catholic Cardinal Ouellet's comment that he would deny
baptism to children of same-sex parents broke Senator Prud'homme's heart
and troubled his mind. He said: "I asked myself, how can anyone turn
away a child? A child is a gift from God. How can anyone deny a child
baptism because his parents are not what we would like them to be?"
There have been many past divisive debates, over the flag, anthem,
death penalty, abortion
access, etc. But our institutions have survived. The implication is
that Canada will survive SSM. [Webmaster's note 8 years later: It did survive.
Senator Ione Christensen, noting that the hour was late and
that most of his points had already been covered by others simply read
an Email from one of his constituents in the Yukon -- a man in a
same-sex marriage. He wrote: "You have no idea what a difference it
makes to the human spirit to know that you are treated equally under the
Vote: The senators appeared to run out of steam at
this point; no further debate was offered. "In the end, the debate
concluded of its own accord, without the need for closure." 3 The senators voted 47 to 21 in favor of C-38, with 3
abstentions. Senator Moore would have voted against the bill. However,
he abstained because of a prior agreement with an absent senator. 1
Signing the bill into law:
The normal procedure is to
have the bill signed by Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Adrienne
Clarkson, Governor General of Canada. She acts as the Queen's representative in
Canada. However, the Governor General was recovering from
emergency surgery to correct a heart abnormality. Her role was taken over by
the Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. Justice McLachlan signed it
into law on 2005-JUL-20, at 4:56 PM, Eastern Time, just 17½hours after it had been passed by the Senate late on the
evening of JUL-19 at 11:25 PM.
This gives new meaning to the common complaint by religious and social
conservatives that judges are creating legislation from the bench.
Canada thus became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriages,
after the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.
A look back on SSM in mid-2013:
Eight years later:
- SSM has become largely a non-issue in Canada.
Liberal faith groups in Canada, including Unitarian congregations and the United Church of Canada routinely marry same-sex couples.
Mainline and conservative faith groups generally refuse to marry same-sex couples. The Anglican Church of Canada is considering solemnizing same-sex marriages by 2019.
- The number of countries worldwide that have legalized SSM has grown to about 15.
- All of the predominately English speaking nations of the world, except for those in the Caribbean, the U.S., UK, and Australia had legalized SSM. The Legislatures of England and Wales, Scotland, and Australia are actively debating SSM.
The U.S. allows SSM in 13 states and the District of Columbia and is gradually adding additional states, one at a time. Three states were added by voters in 2012-NOV; three more in 2013-MAY were added by state legislatures; there are two active lawsuits underway (in New Mexico and New Jersey).
- Between six and ten (sources differ) predominately Muslim countries consider any same-gender sexual behavior to be criminal, punishable by execution.
Related essays on this web site:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"Debates of the Senate (Hansard)," Volume 142, Issue 84, 2005-JUL-19,
"Same-sex marriage bill gets royal assent. Becomes law across country,"
National Post, 2005-JUL-20, at:
"Equal marriage bill proclaimed -- It's the law across Canada,"
Canadians for Equal Marriage, at:
Copyright © 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2013-JUL-07
Author: B.A. Robinson