An attempt to force a lower age of consent for homosexual sex in Canada has failed at the committee stage, after Canadian MPs rejected two proposed amendments to a bill scheduled to come before the House of Commons in early May. Bill C-22 was introduced by the Conservative government to raise the age of consent for heterosexual sex to 16 from 14, where it currently stands as one of the lowest ages of consent in the developed world. NDP Joe Comartin (Windsor-Tecumseh, Ont.), at the request of homosexual lobby groups, proposed an amendment that would simultaneously reduce the legal age of consent for homosexual sex to 16, compatible with the age of consent for heterosexual sex.

The current age of consent for anal sex is set at 18. Homosexual activist groups, including EGALE Canada, argued that a higher consent age for anal sex was discriminatory against the homosexual community. The Canadian Federation for Sexual Health (formerly Planned Parenthood) and the Canadian AIDS Society also made presentations to the committee in support of the amendment. Supporters of the current law warned that lowering the consent age would open the door to an increase in homosexual pedophilia. As well, the serious health risks of engaging in anal sex, considered a highly dangerous sexual activity because of the increased likelihood of transmitting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, were considered a significant factor in maintaining the current law.

A second amendment would have modified the Evidence Act, effectively creating a loophole for sexual predators. Both amendments were rejected by the chair of the justice committee, Conservative MP Art Hanger (Calgary Northeast), who ruled the proposals out of order. Despite challenges by some members of the committee who wanted further discussion, a majority on the committee backed Hanger’s ruling. While amendments to Bill C-22 have been rejected, the measure has yet to be voted in as law.
Pro-family groups, such as the Canadian Family Action Coalition and  4MYCanada, a Christian youth activist organization, have asked supporters to contact their MPs and urge them to vote in favour of the bill.

The Conservatives on the committee, as well as Liberals Larry Bagnell (Yukon) and Derek Lee (Scarborough-Rouge River. Ont.), supported Hanger’s decision.

A version of this article appeared April 19 on and is reprinted with permission.