Editor’s Note: Excerpts from the House of Commons debates over C-38, the government’s legislation that redefines marriage to include homosexual couples.

Garry Breitkreuz
(Yorkton-Melville, CPC)

“In 1999 I voted alongside my colleagues and with those sitting across the way on the government side, and my vote was in favour of the traditional definition of marriage and so to were the votes cast by the majority of Liberals on the other side, including the present Prime Minister.

In 1999, 215 of 270 members of Parliament voted to keep marriage defined as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others and that the Parliament of Canada would take all necessary steps to ensure that definition stayed true. In fact, the then justice minister and our present Minister of Public Safety reassured Canadians that the definition of marriage was safe when she rose on the floor of this place and declared’Let me state again for the record that the government has no intention of changing the definition of marriage or of legislating same sex marriages. I fundamentally do not believe that it is necessary to change the definition of marriage in order to accommodate the equality issues around same sex partners which now face us as Canadians.’

That promise is being broken by her and the government. In 2000, speaking for the Liberal government, she said: ‘We recognize that marriage is a fundamental value and important to Canadians. That value and importance is in no way undermined by recognizing in law other forms of committed relationships.’

Had the Liberals stood by their word and their promise to Canadians we would not be here today debating the meaning of marriage. How can Liberals change their minds on something as sacred as the true definition of marriage? Why should we believe them now when they say they will protect the religious beliefs of those opposed to same sex marriage?”

(March 21)

Pat O’Brien
(London-Fanshawe, Lib.)

“This debate is truly an historic occasion for what is at stake is the future of the most vital institution in our nation, marriage and the family. Bill C-38, if enacted, will change the definition of marriage in Canada to include same sex couples. The bill states, ‘Marriage, for civil purposes, is the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others.’ This proposed definition is one that both I and my wife Evelyn, and millions of other Canadians find unnecessary, illogical and morally offensive. Opponents include members of every political party and no political party, of every faith and of no particular faith. Same sex marriage is an oxymoron because it denies the heterosexual prerequisite of true marriage. It is a real threat to marriage and the family which is the basic foundation of all human societies.”

(Feb. 21)

Werner Schmidt
(Kelowna-Lake Country, CPC)

“The issue of redefining marriage is one of the most significant matters that this Parliament is and will be facing for some time. Its significance lies in the fact that the definition of marriage also defines a social institution that is one of the foundations of our society. It is the institution designed to achieve the conjugal goals of sex bridging, generativity, care-giving and connecting children to their mothers and fathers. The bill before us channels marriage away from these goals. Hence, the redefinition of the word, significant as it is in its own right as a means of clear communication, also contains within it the reorganization of our society.”

(March 21)

Dan McTeague
(Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

“I have seen several decisions in which Canada, as was suggested by the member for Scarborough Southwest earlier this month, has become the first nation to recognize marriage and the claim to marriage of opposite sexes as being a right. This is without precedent around the world. It fundamentally erodes what has been for millennia a definition which most people in the world understand universally today. It was not by accident when cultures and various peoples came together and discovered each other, that of all the things that may have been different about them, the affirmation of marriage through a ritual of a right was common in almost every single interchange between societies.”

(March 21)

Mark Warawa
(Langley, CPC)

“Bill C-38 is not about human rights. It is about the Liberal government attacking religious rights. Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus and other faith based organizations are all vulnerable to activist attacks in the courts and human rights tribunals. Canada’s judicial courts and human rights tribunals have a near perfect record of finding against religious freedom rights, that are under attack by activists. We saw this in Oshawa where the civil courts ruled that a Catholic school had discriminated against the rights of Marc Hall by not allowing his boyfriend to the graduation dance. In Vancouver the Knights of Columbus were hauled before the B.C. human rights tribunal for cancelling a booking for a same sex wedding reception. More than 50 marriage commissioners have resigned or been fired because of their religious beliefs. They are not protected. What does this say? It says that religious freedoms are not being protected.

That is just the start. Marriage commissioners are giving up their livelihood because their religious beliefs are not being protected. Will teachers in faith based schools have to resign because they will be forced to lecture against their religious beliefs?”

(March 21)