Welcome to the thoughts, rants and passions of a young Muslim woman seeking soulful enlightenment in cyberspace.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Canada Passes Same-Sex Bill

Last night Canada came one step closer to officially recognizing same-sex marriage. Bill C-38 was passed 158-133, with the NDP and Bloc supporting the (minority) government. The legislation awaits its rubber stamp of approval from the Senate and the Governor-General. The vote (and the debate leading up to it) was highly contentious: Liberal backbenchers were allowed a free vote, and many of them did not support their party. Former MP Joe Comuzzi resigned from Cabinet to vote against the legislation.

Many Canadians believe this is a historic occasion, as evidenced by Prime Minister Paul Martin's
speech in Parliament. The legislation makes Canada the third country to officially recognize gay and lesbian marriage, though same-sex marriage has already been legalized and is now performed in most parts of the country due to lower-court decisions in various provinces that redefine marriage.

Bill C-38 will only apply to civic marriages. It includes provisions for the protection of religious minorities and institutions. Religious leaders can refuse to take part in same-sex marriages. There had been talk of repealing the charitable status of religious groups opposed to same-sex marriage. Recently, the bill was amended to protect the charitable status of those groups. It will be fascinating to watch the balancing act between religious (and group) rights and the equality rights of same-sex couples – after all, both rights are explicitly protected in the Charter.


  • At 6/30/2005 04:35:00 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Salaam 'Alaikum

    So would this be like if such a bill were passed on the federal level in the US? (I thought gay marriage was already legal in all of Canada). For example, in one state of the US we have gay marriage, but that marriage is not necessarily valid in any other state. -- UZ

  • At 6/30/2005 11:33:00 p.m., Blogger Safiyyah said…

    UZ: Provinces opposed to same-sex marriage would obviously not allow same-sex couples to get married on their territory. Alberta was one of them. But your question is, what happens if an Albertan couple decided to get married in Ontario, where same-sex marriage is permitted? Would their marriage be recognized in Alberta? The status of that couple wasn’t clear before Bill C-37 – it would really depend on the province and how adamant it was in its opposition to same-sex marriage. It certainly wouldn’t have been recognized in Alberta. But I have heard that some provinces agreed to recognize these marriages though they were performed elsewhere. And keep in mind that same-sex marriages are already legal in 7/10 provinces and 1 territory. This piece of legislation simply establishes a uniform national law, bringing provinces like Alberta in line.

  • At 7/01/2005 10:26:00 a.m., Anonymous Ahmed said…

    Nice informative blog, keep up the good work.


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