Within hours of the passage of Bill C-33—the act to include sexual orientation as prohibited grounds for discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act—gay New Democrat MP Svend Robinson was predicting big things in the homosexual community. Robinson said Reform Party members were “absolutely correct” in arguing the act will lead to legal marriages, families, and spousal benefits for homosexuals.

But while Robinson celebrates, the majority of Canadians see the passage of Bill C-33 as one more blow to traditional family life in this country.

One has to marvel at the speed and ruthlessness with which the Chrétien Liberals moved with BillC-33. Just weeks ago, Chrétien told his Liberal caucus not to expect such legislation before the next federal election. The legislation later gathered the momentum of a runaway freight rain, flattening any obstacle that got in its misguided path.

The prime minister was intent on ramrodding the unamended bill through the house over the objections of some brave members of his own party.

And what was to be made of Justice Minister Allan Rock’s pathetic attempt to justify the resolution by citing highly selected passages of the Catholic Church catechism on the pastoral care of homosexual persons? It didn’t take long for Canadians to recognize the minister’s action as nothing more then self-serving, meaningless rhetoric.

Chrétien and Rock had said repeatedly that Bill C-33 deals exclusivity with discrimination and has nothing to do with marriage, the family, and spousal benefits. We reserve the right to be more cynical, especially in light of Robinson’s comments. Sources within Rock’s own ministry have indicated that there is more at stake here than the perfectly legitimate objective of discrimination against homosexuals.

Even while Bill C-33 was in final debate, a leaked Judicial Department document showed Allan Rock’s planned amendments to the law which would allow same-sex marriages and benefits. So much for the Liberal’s claim that the legislation is simply an anti-discrimination measure.

A number of church and pro-family groups petitioned the government to show restraint on such an important issue. Many of these same groups called for amendments to the legislation, including a precise definition of sexual orientation. In the absence of such a definition, future court rulings could open the door to legal protection of deviant lifestyles. These concerns were swept aside in the government’s rush to protect homosexual unions.

As we’ve stated several times before, homosexuals are entitled to the same human rights as any other members of society. They should be afforded the same dignity, respect, and freedom from discrimination as any other person. What we must oppose however, is special status for individuals based on lifestyle.

In the wake of the final vote, Prime Minister Chrétien said he was proud of the way the government handled Bill C-33. Chrétien’s pride notwithstanding, we suggest Bill C-33 and its aftermath will further erode the respect Canadians hold for their political leaders.

In the words of Reform Party member Mike Scott just prior to the final vote: “It is certainly a sad day for our nation that the government is moving with as much speed as I have ever seen on any piece of legislation to ram this through and make it a done deal before Canadians even realize what is going on… Politics in Canada in 1996 is a dirty, rotten, slimy business.”