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 Lorna Milne has supported C-38 and found that many
witnesses at the Standing
Senate Committee hearings reinforced her decision:
Ms. Gwendolyn Landolt, President of REAL Women Canada
Mental health problems are higher than normal among gays and
Homosexuals have a reduced life expectancy.
Children of same-sex parents become homosexuals later in life at
a higher than normal rate.
Sexual orientation is really a behavior characteristic.
If Bill C-38 becomes law, the birth rate will drop.
Fewer than 2% of homosexuals are monogamous.
Senator Milne drew an analogy between such statements and those
of a misogynist.
Dr. John Patrick of Augustine College said that C-38
would allow "...ways of living which do gratuitous harm to others."
He listed physical problems that he associates with homosexuality.
He also said that Canada is currently governed by barbarians.
Senator Milne said that "Canadian, European and American journals
of medicine and psychiatry stopped believing that homosexual
activity was an illness or would lead to great disease a long time
Dr. Patrick also said that supporters of SSM "...base their
assertion of a right of homosexuals to change the meaning of the
word 'marriage' on no visible intellectual foundations. They just
invoked the Charter. The Charter is merely a piece of paper. Where
is the argument?" Senator Milne said that the Charter is more
than a piece of paper. It is "..infused with values that Canadian
and, indeed, western societies have been developing for hundreds of
Senator Terry Stratton, the deputy leader of the opposition,
opposes C-38. He feels that the bill is not needed, because 90% of the
Canadian population already has access to SSM. Meanwhile, the federal
government cannot guarantee that clergy will retain the freedom to
discriminate against same-sex couples, because that is a provincial
responsibility. Meanwhile the right to discriminate is under attack:
Some marriage commissioners have had their jobs threatened.
A lesbian couple has laid a charge against the Knights of
Columbus in British Columbia because the latter unilaterally
cancelled a rental contract for their hall when they found that the couple getting married were of the same gender.
Two complaints have been brought before the Alberta Human Rights
Commission against Bishop Henry of the Roman Catholic Church for his
call on governments to use "...its coercive power to proscribe or
curtail" homosexual activity.
He concluded: "We do not need Bill C-38. I would go so far as to
say that this legislation has had a disastrous impact."
He also noted that:
The debate on C-38 has been very divisive and acrimonious.
There is every likelihood that the Supreme Court would find a
separate but equal system of civil unions to be constitutional.
Two of the three countries that legalized SSM have also legalized
Many countries have instituted civil unions, registered partnerships
or similar arrangements short of marriage, for same-sex couples.
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 steamat
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.
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.