The heated debate in Canada had sprung up last December after the Supreme Court ruled that a same-sex legislature would not defy the constitution. Yesterday evening, in Toronto, the House of Commons approved a controversial bill that would give marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.
When the Senate approves the bill, Canada will become the third country behind the Netherlands and Belgium, to allow gay marriages nationwide.
The legislature passed this law through the House of Commons with a 158-133 vote.
Prime Minister Paul Martin, a Roman Catholic who battled deeply with this legislation, considered his own personal views, but felt that he didn’t want to divide the people. According to a government statistic in Canada, there are already 34,000 gay and lesbian couples, with nine out of thirteen provinces that allow gay unions.
If the Senate passes the bill, the deepest concern for the churches in Canada is being sent to court because of their refusal to perform the marital union between the same-sex couples. However, the legislation will only cover the joining of civil unions and not religious ones, and the clergy would not have to worry about performing any ceremony unless it was by their choice.
The predominant Christian denomination, the Roman Catholic Church, opposed this legislation because of the severe impact it may have on the families, in particular the children.
“Families with both mothers and fathers are generally better for children than those with only mothers or only fathers,” Calgary Bishop Frederick Henry.
Currently in the U.S., where the majority of the people are opposed to same-sex marriages, Vermont and Connecticut allow same-sex civil unions, and so far, Mass. is the only state to allow same-sex marriages. In addition, the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriages.
From the Defend Marriage Coalition, executive director Joseph Ben-Ami hopes to propose to the Senate the definition that marriage is between a man and a woman, as of yet, there is no ruling.