Legal News - The final vote. Really. Mean it this time.
December 7, 2006
The final vote. Really. Mean it this time.
By Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell
As expected, the motion against same-sex marriage, put forward by Stephen Harper's Conservatives, failed in Parliament today. The debate, which began yesterday afternoon and went late into the night ended today with a vote of 123 for the motion and 175 MPs against (including 6 Conservative cabinet members).
The number of Conservatives voting in favour of gay marriage increased from three last year to thirteen today. Meanwhile, the number of Liberals voting against equal marriage dropped from thirty-two last year to thirteen today.
Even Liberal Joe Comuzzi who quit Paul Martin's cabinet last year, in order to vote against gay marriage last year, voted against Harper's motion today.
Although the Toronto Star called this motion "the last major threat to same-sex marriage rights in Canada", it was a hollow threat from the beginning, all bluff when accompanied by the promise to honour Charter rights.
During last night's debate, CanWest news reported today, "the Commons was virtually empty, with about 20 of 308 members showing up."
The motion served no purpose other than to appease religious extremists promoting faith-based bigotry through Harper's ideological agenda.
"Demonstrating the worst in politics - and why so many people are so cynical - Stephen Harper and his Conservatives went ahead with a motion on same-sex marriage that they knew would fail - and even if it passed, knew would never succeed on the legal road ahead," said Buzz Hargrove, President of the Canadian Auto Workers (CNW, Dec. 7, 2006). "But they decided that the human rights of gays and lesbians were worth less than their own political need to appease their religious right backers, who demanded the vote."
Religious extremists won't be retreating to their own homes and churches anytime soon. But they have lost a champion for their cause in Stephen Harper, who insists that the issue of marriage equality is settled for the Conservative party - at least until the party elects another leader or holds another policy convention.
Canadian Press reports today:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he heard the message and will respect it. "We made a promise to have a free vote on this issue, we kept that promise, and obviously the vote was decisive and obviously we'll accept the democratic result of the people's representatives," Harper said. "I don't see reopening this question in the future."
Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon told the Toronto Star today, “The file is finished. We’re turning the page.”
Now, we have some Christmas decorating to do around the house before the in-laws come over (we like that phrase, "in-laws"). The season marks the 6th anniversary of the reading of our banns, prior to our marriage and subsequent court challenge.
"It was the beginning of a movement that has so very far to go," Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons wrote of our marriage. "It was the beginning of the stripping away of another accepted wrong."
And so it continues, here at home, and around the world.