Justice Minister Irwin Cotler introduces Bill C-38, the government’s legislation to redefine marriage to include homosexual couples. International Trade Minister Jim Peterson co-sponsors the bill … Conservative leader Stephen Harper puts forth a motion to amend C-38 to maintain the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, with the addition of extending “to other civil unions established under the laws of a province, the same rights, benefits and obligations as married persons” … Conservative House Leader Jay Hill, on CTV ‘s Question Period on C-38, the government’s legislation redefining marriage: “Clearly, the country is as divided as the Parliament is. What we want to see is a true free vote of parliamentarians in the House of Commons, (and) not find parliamentarians on such an important issue … constrained by their party discipline” … NDP Manitoba MP Bev Desjarlais (Churchill Manitoba) says she will vote against C-38, defying party leader Jack Layton, who says he will demand his entire caucus support the measure. Desjarlais: “I acknowledge there is a belief within the party on this and that’s fair enough, but I have my beliefs as well.” Layton threatens disciplinary action against Dejarlais if she breaks party ranks … The Globe and Mail reports Paul Martin is considering naming two pro-abortion Tories to the Senate: former Ontario premier Ernie Eves and Joe Clark’s wife Maureen McTeer.
Latest figures show that more than 350,000 unborn South African children have been killed since the legalization of abortion there in 1997 … Portugal’s opposition Socialist Party plans to hold a national referndum on abortion if it wins power in this month’s election. Antonio Vitorino, architect of the party’s platform, says the abortion referendum is one of the major proposals of the party. In 1998, Portuguese voters turned down a referendum seeking to legalize abortion by a 51-49 per cent vote … Pope John Paul II urges Dutch authorities to reconsider the country’s laws on euthanasia, following the admission by a number of doctors that they had killed 22 terminally ill babies … As the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women pressures the government of Samoa to legalize abortion, it appears the Pacific island is caving in. Somoa’s chief justice has directed the government to begin a debate on legalizing abortion … Swiss nurse Roger Andermatt, 36, is convicted of killing 22 elderly patients by lethal injection or suffocation. He is sentenced to life imprisonment, despite the fact he claims he was motivated by compassion … Lesley Martin, the New Zealand euthanasia campaigner who was convicted of the attempted murder of her mother last year, fails in her attempt to have the conviction overturned. She is, however, released from prison after serving just over half of her 15-month sentence … According to the Daily Telegraph, Philip Nitschke, the Australian euthanasia advocate, is running suicide workshops at a secret location in the Australian outback. The workshops teach people to make a suicide pill, which he claims is more peaceful than his previous effort, the “peaceful pill,” which contained alcohol and nicotine … Pro-Life Mexico organizes a march on the border near El Paso, Tx., with the hope of persuading Mexican women not to cross the border into the U.S. to obtain abortions … The pro-abortion outfit Catholics for a Free Choice announces it will hold a World Social Forum in Brazil as part of a campaign to legalize abortion in the predominantly Catholic nation. The conference will include discussions on decriminalizing abortion and the circulation of pro-abortion material.
Robert Knight of Concerned Women for America, on a character in Fox’s The Simpsons coming out of the closet: “I think television is becoming obsessed with homosexuality. I fact, I wouldn’t put it past people to dig up reruns of Happy Days and have the Fonz come out as gay” … Vera Drake director Mike Leigh on his Oscar-nominated film about an early 20th century British abortionist: “I deliberately, and without any affectation, made Vera Drake to pose a moral dilemma that has no slick or easy answers. We live in an overpopulated world. There is no question that to bring an unwanted and unloved child into this chaos is deeply irresponsible. There is no question that you destroy life when you terminate a pregnancy. But there is also no question that choice ought to exist. Those are my personal views. The film can only work if the audience takes the moral and emotional debate away with them.”