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Tracking the free vote on same-sex marriage

This site has tracked support for same-sex marriage in Canada’s House of Commons since the summer of 2003. On December 7th, 2006, the House of Commons voted 175-123 to reject Stephen Harper’s discriminatory definition of marriage. Harper himself has said he will respect the decision made by Parliament and doesn’t see this issue being re-opened in the future.

I hope to add a final article in the next couple weeks, but otherwise I intend to put this site into hibernation. It will remain online, but I will no longer maintain it unless the need once again arises, which I consider very unlikely.

Stephen Harper and the Conservative government

Most MPs in Harper’s Conservative government remain committed to repealing bill C-38, the bill that made equal marriage for gays and lesbians available across the country. Fortunately, Harper has failed to repeal C-38, and his future prospects look equally dim.

Gay rights groups have long warned that Harper intends to roll back rights. Harper has opposed every advance in gay rights including the very first meagre protections of gay people from discrimination. Harper has said it is disgusting to compare the fight for equal marriage to battles for gender or racial equality. Harper has also said that the courts should not use the Charter of Rights to protect gays from discrimination. He has also said that being gay is a behaviour, not an identity. Since taking office he has named anti-gay judges to the bench and eliminated funding for the court challenges program, without which gays would not be able to marry today. He has also eliminated the Law Commission of Canada and cut the funding for Status of Women Canada, two governmental organizations that have supported gay rights. His intentions with respect to gay rights could not be clearer.

What can you do?

Please write a personal note to your MP to express your gratitude for their vote, if they voted to protect same-sex marriage, and your gratitude that you live in a country where equality and freedom are valued, where gays and lesbians have the same rights as everyone else, and same-sex marriages are honoured as they should be. You can find your MP’s email address here. Or if you do not know who your MP is, you can search here.

If you have comments or information to pass along to me, please do so at clayton@marriagevote.ca.

This information comes from many sources: media reports, other gay rights organizations, personal correspondence with MPs and their staff, and a continuous stream of tips from people like you. In some cases, I have made educated guesses. If you believe any of my information is inaccurate, please contact me. I do everything in my power to make this information reliable, complete, and accurate.

Will same-sex marriage remain legal in Canada?

As long as our opponents are active, we cannot be passive. Society does not just naturally drift towards equality and freedom. Equality and freedom are things that have to be fought for. And once won, we must remain vigilant in order to maintain them.

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