Thursday, June 30, 2005

Proud to be a Canadian: A victory for same-sex marriage

As I mentioned back on June 2, Canada was set to become only the third country, after Belgium and the Netherlands, to legalize same-sex marriage. And that's precisely what's happened.

After the near-demise of Prime Minister Paul Martin's minority Liberal government last month -- the government only survived because the (Liberal) Speaker of the House, according to precedent, broke a tie on a confidence vote by voting with the government -- Tuesday's vote marks an extraordinary milestone in Canadian history, and Martin deserves much of the credit for ensuring its success. Opposition (and Conservative) Leader Stephen Harper has vowed to continue to fight the legislation (and same-sex marriage in general, now that it's become his wedge issue to secure the support of social conservatives), but there is no doubt that the long battle has finally been won. The Globe and Mail reports here:
Canada is on its way to becoming the third country in the world to legalize marriages between couples of the same sex after the House of Commons gave its final approval last night in a 158-133 vote.

The vote capped an intense and divisive two-year Commons battle that maintained its political drama to the end, as Liberal minister Joe Comuzzi resigned from cabinet yesterday because he could not support his government's move...

In the end, 32 Liberals voted against the government and five were absent. On the other side of the House, three Conservatives voted for the same-sex marriage bill.

When the final vote was taken, one side of the visitors' gallery erupted into applause...


The passage of the same-sex legislation also brought the curtain down on one of the most tumultuous sessions of Parliament in recent history.

Using obscure procedural manoeuvres and even a direct appeal to the public, Prime Minister Paul Martin managed to keep his government afloat in spite of a persistent attempt by the Conservatives and Bloc to force an election over allegations of corruption exposed by the Gomery inquiry into the sponsorship scandal.

All that remains for the same-sex bill to become law is debate in the Senate, where Liberals vastly outnumber the
opposition Conservatives and are expected to pass the bill early next month.


Belgium and the Netherlands are the only two countries to have legalized same-sex marriage, but Spain is on the verge of passing a similar law that will soon be put to the King for final approval.

Well done, Prime Minister. As I've said before, this makes be incredibly proud to be a Canadian.

(For more on the issue of same-sex marriage and gay pride, I invite you to check out my recent posts on Toronto Pride (here) and the anti-pride policies of Hillsborough County, Florida (here). Through those two posts, some of my readers have been carrying on an incredibly intelligent discussion on this admittedly sensitive topic (especially at the latter post). Check out the posts and the comments, and, if you feel so inclined, please weigh in with your own views -- either about a particular topic or about sexual orientation, gay rights, and same-sex marriage in general. Or just bring the discussion over to this newer post and keep it going. I look forward to reading and responding to more of your comments.)

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