"Gay Marriage Safe in BC" - says Attorney General

"Gay Marriage Safe in BC" - says Attorney General

"Same-sex couples have the right to get married in B.C. and that will continue to be the case," said Attorney General Geoff Plant.

From Victoria News

Victoria Liberal MP David Anderson will vote in favour of legalizing gay marriage now that his government's proposed same-sex legislation has been declared constitutional.

The Supreme Court of Canada issued the long-awaited decision last week, concluding Parliament is responsible for defining marriage, but that religious organizations are under no obligation to perform ceremonies that conflict with their beliefs.

"It's a Charter issue, an issue of rights, as determined by the courts, and I'll be supporting the Charter," Anderson said Friday from Ottawa. "But I hope we don't spend a lot of time on it in the House. It's an issue that probably has had just about everything said on it already. There's not much that hasn't been canvassed."
A vote on the Liberal same-sex bill is expected early in the new year.

Cabinet ministers have been directed to support the proposed law as representatives of the government's position, but backbenchers, including Anderson, will get a free vote.

Some Liberals have been critical of the split, arguing all MPs should be permitted to declare their conscience on a matter that redefines marriage. About 30 Liberal MPs are known to oppose same-sex unions.

But Prime Minister Paul Martin has rejected requests for an expanded vote, along with calls for a national referendum on the issue.

Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca MP Keith Martin -Liberal parliamentary secretary for defence - will follow his government's lead and vote yes for the new law. But in an interview with the Esquimalt News last week, he said Canada should get out of people's bedrooms altogether.

"Personally, I don't care what people do in their personal lives - I absolutely do not care," he said. "Governments should get out of the business of marriage because marriage is a religious institution..."

Saanich-Gulf Islands Conservative MP Gary Lunn said he'll vote against the bill, arguing a civil registry for same-sex partners would have been a better option - one that would protect the definition of marriage as the union between a man and woman.
Whether the bill passes or not, there will be no changes in B.C., where the Court of Appeal has already legalized gay unions.

"Same-sex couples have the right to get married in B.C. and that will continue to be the case," said Attorney General Geoff Plant.

Last week's Supreme Court of Canada decision upholds favourable same-sex rulings in six provinces, including B.C.

It stopped short, however, of determining whether the country's current definition of marriage is unconstitutional.

If the bill passes in 2005, Canada will be the third country in the world to recognize same-sex unions, behind Belgium and the Netherlands.

Note from Queer Thoughts: Gay Marriage will continue to be legal in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and the Yukon, no matter what happens with the Marriage bill in Ottawa.

Newfoundland and Labrador may get gay marriage before Parliament passes legislation. The case is currently before the Supreme Court of that province.

See these links for background:

Supreme Court of Canada on Same-Sex Marriage

Newfoundland and Labrador next Gay Marriage battle

"Anti-Gay Marriage Minister" now a supporter says inside source

Alberta, the state of "De Klein"

Harper lacks leadership o­n Gay Marriage say Martin and Klein

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