Bloc Quebecois says no to reversing gay marriage

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Contrary to Steven Harper's plan to put Canada's newly created Civil Marriage Bill back on the floor of the House of Commons for a free vote, The Bloc Quebecois plans to oppose any attempts by the Conservatives to revisit the issue when Parliament returns in the fall.

"It is simply believed that the debate has taken place and it is not relevant to start it again," said Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe.

The same-sex marriage debate in Canada was kicked off in 2003 by a ruling of the Ontario Supreme Court which found that the constitution's definition of marriage between one man and one woman was unconstitutional, and forced Ontario to recoginize same-sex marriage. The ruling sparked similar provincial supreme court challenges in the nine other provinces, promping then Former Prime Minister Paul Martin to introduce a bill in the House of Commons that changed the federal constitution's definition to a union between two people. The controversial bill drew fire from Canada's conservative and religious communities who alleged that such a change to the constitution would destroy Canadian society, and lead to churches being forced to perform same-sex marriages. The bill was later changed to exclude any religious institution from being forced to perform marriages that were contrary to church doctrine. After putting the bill to a free vote in the House of Commons in the spring of 2005, the bill received the support of the house and was drafted into law. In the election that followed, Conservative Party leader Steven Harper vowed to revisit the issue of equal marriage with another free vote, this time hoping to reverse the constitutional change.

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