Martin, Duceppe and NDP speakers back Charter of Rights and Freedoms; Harper reiterates selective rights plan and dismisses human rights argument as nonsense
Debate over the Civil Marriage Act began in the House of Commons Wednesday, February 16, with Prime Minister Paul Martin calling for adoption of the equal marriage legislation that is ³about the kind of nation we are today Š and the nation we want to be.² ³The bill,² said Martin, ³protects minority rights, affirms the Charter guarantee of religious freedom and is that straight forward.²
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper was quick to define the nation he envisions for Canadians by reiterating his selective rights plan, calling the legislation ³fundamentally flawed² and its religious protections ³laughably inadequate² and ³constitutionally useless.² Harper mocked the idea that equality for lesbian and gay people is even a human rights issue, claiming as he has in the past that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not protect lesbian and gay people from discrimination.
Openly-gay NDP MP Bill Siksay
spoke on behalf of his leader, Jack Layton, who is still recovering in
hospital after an emergency appendectomy. Siksay spoke personally and
movingly about the pain and isolation of growing up gay. He talked about
the importance of
Bill C-38 was also forcefully
defended by Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe. "The religion of one
person should not become the law of another,² he
Canadiens et canadiennes pour le droit égal au
mariage a besoin de votre aide!
As second reading debate begins, opponents of equality of have stepped up their aggressive campaigns, in some cases, with significant help from American, religious right backers. Defeating the bill is a must for them if they are to succeed with their larger campaign to roll back human rights for lesbian and gay people.
Please go to the Canadians for Equal Marriage website right now and send a message to all MPs. So many of you went our site Tuesday that we overloaded it! So even if you have emailed MPs before - please do so again to make sure your message gets through. They need to hear from Canadians as they begin to debate the equal marriage legislation.
Harper served notice that his party would seek to gut the bill and immediately introduced an amendment to do just that.
The Prime Minister defended the bill by insisting that it protects religious freedom while ensuring minority rights. ³Put simply, we must always remember that separate but equal is not equal,² he said, rejecting Harper¹s proposal that gay and lesbian couples be limited to civil unions.
Almost all New Democrat and Bloc Quebecois members of Parliament are expected to support the bill.
MPs report that they continue to face significant pressure from those who seek to bring back laws that exclude lesbian and gay people from civil marriage. Please take a moment right now to go to our website and send a message to all MPs that you support fairness, equality and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Conservative Party officials have already signaled that they plan to have ³days and days and days² of debate, even though all Conservative speeches will have been vetted by Stephen Harper¹s office. The House will soon become an echo chamber for the speech Mr. Harper delivered Wednesday afternoon.
The Conservative Party is trying to buy time for its allies to continue their campaign of bullying and intimidation against those who take a stand of conscience in favour of human rights. For example, Calgary MP Jim Prentice and Famous Player Media CEO Salah Bachir have both faced ugly personal attacks after announcing their support for Bill C-38. Equality opponents are hoping to bully other supporters into silent submission.
If you have not yet had a chance to donate to our campaign for equality and inclusion, please go to http://www.equal-marriage.ca/donate.php.
Canadian Sikh Organization backs equal marriage bill
(January 18, 2005 - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) - The World Sikh Organization has just learned that G. Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takhat Sahib (Sikhism's highest spiritual authority) has issued an edict prohibiting gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship) from performing same-sex marriages.
taken by the Akal Takhat is consistent with the December 2004, ruling of
the Supreme Court of Canada, which held that religious places of worship
could not be compelled to conduct same-sex marriages. This edict from the
Akal Takhat does not prevent Sikhs from supporting the protection of
Charter rights to protect a minority. MORE
OTTAWA (CP) - Conservative MP Jason Kenney says gays have every right to marry whoever they want - as long as it isn't someone of the same sex.
The Calgary MP made the remarks during a sometimes heated 40-minute discussion with members of the Toronto-area Punjabi language media, a recording of which was made available to The Canadian Press.
"The fact is
that homosexuals aren't barred from marrying under Canadian law," Kenney
said at the meeting of the Punjabi Press Club last month in Brampton, Ont.
The group represents more than a dozen Punjabi-language newspapers.
La Presse - OTTAWA, le 15 février 2005 - Des députés gais de la Chambre des communes ont décidé de tout mettre en oeuvre pour convaincre une majorité de parlementaires de voter en faveur du projet de loi sur les mariages homosexuels.
Ainsi, à l'occasion de la Saint-Valentin, les néo-démocrates Bill Siksay et Libby Davies ainsi que le bloquiste Réal Ménard ont envoyé une lettre aux chefs des quatre partis politiques pour les rallier à leur cause en leur rappelant que les homosexuels, en tant que citoyens à part entière, devraient avoir le droit de se marier au même titre que les hétérosexuels.
Alors que des débats portant sur le projet de loi
C-38, Loi sur le mariage civil, doivent avoir lieu en Chambre
cette semaine, les trois députés, ouvertement homosexuels, font des pieds
et des mains pour sensibiliser certains de leurs collègues, réticents à
appuyer le projet. Leur objectif? Ils souhaitent qu'un minimum de 155
députés- nombre nécessaire pour faire adopter le projet- votent en faveur
des mariages gais.
Benefit Concert, Friday,
February 25, 2005 @ 8:00 p.m., First United Church, 397 Kent at Florence,
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