|Family values advocates have reason to celebrate a moral victory with the recent affirmation of the traditional view of marriage in the House of Commons.
Passed by a vote of 216-55, the motion initiated on June 8 by Eric Lowther, the official opposition children and families critic, asked the House to assert that “marriage is and should remain the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.”
The Reform Party utilized one of its last days in the parliamentary session, when they are permitted to set the agenda, to clearly establish what the feeling of the House is on the meaning of the word “spouse” and how they intend to legislate regarding this in the future.
Lowther presented the motion to contrast the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling in the M vs. H case, which decided that Ontario’s family law should be re-written to give same-sex couples the same rights as common-law couples.
“The Liberal government’s failure to show leadership on this important issue created a vacuum the official opposition was ready to fill,” he said. “It is sad that the Liberals stayed silent while the legal status of the institution of marriage was being confused … by recent court decisions.”
Justice Minister Anne McLellan told the House before the official vote was taken that the government has no intention of changing the definition of marriage or of legislating same-sex marriages. However, 10 Liberal MPs did vote against the motion.
“It bothers me that the Reform Party was the only one united on their view of marriage,” Lowther said. “I’m not convinced that the Liberal government wanted that (motion) on the floor because their party policy (supports) same-sex marriages.”
Reformers have been accused in the media recently of being motivated by “homophobia” in presenting the motion. Lowther responded that the party’s desire is simply to affirm what is already believed to be true in Canadian society.
“We’re saying we’re for marriage,” he said. “We think it works for health, for society, and it provides parental fullness (in marriage). Men and women were biologically designed for marriage.”
Peter Stock, national affairs director of the Canadian Family Action Coalition, said the motion is encouraging.
“I see this as something which has propped up the dam from the floodwaters of further immediate legislation,” he said. “But the major battles will be fought more at the provincial level. These court challenges will take their time to have their effect.”
Other organizations, like Focus on the Family Canada, have said they feel that initiating the motion in the House was the right thing to do.
“I think it was a very courageous attempt to put on record that parliament supports the traditional definition of marriage,” said Jim Sclater, director of public policy. “It (also) drew out of the woodwork all those who opposed the motion.”
Some family values supporters fear that the worst is not over yet, since only the government can introduce substantial legislation to properly define marriage and protect it from being undermined. Rumours are circulating that the Liberals are actually planning a sweeping “omnibus bill,” designed to revise all federal legislation to end “discrimination” against gays.
Lowther said he believes the motion reflects the views of Canadians. He also says prayer is the key to future successes.“I’m convinced in (the importance of) working in making public policy, but also there must be people praying,” he said. “If we’re a nation who says we recognize the supremacy of God, is it so bad for an elected official to say that more prayer is needed?”