The vote sealed two years of provincial court decisions that gave same-sex couples the right to marry in 8 of 10 provinces and one of the three northern territories. When the Senate approves the measure, considered a formality, Canada will become the third national government, after the Netherlands and Belgium, to enact such rights. Though the vote was largely symbolic, advocates for gay rights hailed it as a milestone because it was the first time a Canadian legislative body had voted to change the traditional definition of marriage beyond a union of a man and a woman. The vote in Commons followed weeks of heated debate infused with biblical references and emotional warnings about moral decay on one side, and promises of an expansion of equal rights on the other. The Liberals shot back that the Conservatives had made a tacit alliance with the Bloc just last month in an effort to call early elections. It was the latest effort by the two leading parties to gain advantage from an issue that polls show divides the Canadian public down the middle, with younger and urban voters generally in favor of expanding marriage rights and older and rural voters generally against.
Same-sex marriage in Alberta
Coming to America? Canadian bishop investigated for 'gay marriage' comments - Baptist Press
Maine today became the fifth state to authorize same-sex marriages, the second to do so with legislation, and the fourth to do so in New England. Of the six states in the region, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont already recognize gay marriage, and the two that don'tNew Hampshire and Rhode Islandare moving rapidly in that direction. New Hampshire is expected to authorize same-sex marriage before the end of the month. Maine's Democratic Gov. John Baldacci signed the bill into law despite previously stating his opposition to gay marriage. In a statement, he explained his change of heart: "I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage. The move comes one day after the Maine Senate voted in favor of authorizing marriages "between any two people.
Same-sex marriage and the notwithstanding clause
The prime minister suggested that those members could vote differently in in good conscience, because a vote for the motion would be a vote against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The successful trans- formation of a motion about the definition of marriage into a de facto referendum on the notwithstanding clause is indica- tive of a growing convention that it should never be invoked by any legislative body. Although legisla- tive declarations to this effect automatically expire after five years, they may be renewed indefinitely.
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