Wednesday, June 29, 2005


It's sad when Canada gives more comprehensive rights to me than my own country. Very, very sad.

Canada House of Commons Passes Gay Marriage Bill

.c The Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) - Canada's House of Commons passed landmark legislation Tuesday to legalize gay marriage, granting same-sex couples legal rights equal to those in traditional unions between a man and a woman.

The bill passed as expected, despite opposition from Conservatives and religious leaders. The legislation drafted by Prime Minister Paul Martin's minority Liberal Party government was also expected to easily pass the Senate and become federal law by the end of July.

The Netherlands and Belgium are the only other two nations that allow gay marriage nationwide.

Some of Martin's Liberal lawmakers voted against the bill and a Cabinet minister resigned Tuesday over the legislation. But enough allies rallied to support the
bill that has been debated for months, voting 158 to 133 to approve it.

Martin praised Tuesday's vote as a necessary step for human rights.

"We are a nation of minorities," Martin said. "And in a nation of minorities, it is important that you don't cherry-pick rights."

There are an estimated 34,000 gay and lesbian couples in Canada, according to government statistics. Before the measure passed, gay marriage was legal in seven

Alex Munter, national spokesman for Canadians for Equal Marriage, which has led the debate in favor of the law, was triumphant after the vote: "The genius of Canada, almost unparalleled in the world, is built on shared identity, out of respect for each other."

Martin, a Roman Catholic, has said that despite anyone's personal beliefs, all Canadians should be granted the same rights to marriage...

"We know that it has been somewhat contentious in Canada, but at the same time the Canadians have largely approached this issue in a rational and democratic way and are providing a very positive model for the rest of the world," Sklar said.

Though hundreds of foreigners have come to Canada to seek civil ceremonies since gay marriages were first allowed in Ontario and British Columbia in 2003, not
all countries or states recognize the unions. While a slew of Israeli men were married in Toronto City Hall earlier this year, for example, the Israeli Interior
Ministry does not recognize those unions.

In the United States, the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriage and most states refuse to acknowledge marriage certificates from gay and lesbian couples, regardless of where they wed.

Canadians for Equal marriage


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