Liberals Voice Opposition To Canada’s Marriage Bill

Members of Canada’s Liberal Party are voicing their opposition to a proposed bill legalizing same-sex marriage supported by Party Leader and Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Bill C-38 would grant civil marriage rights to same-sex couples throughout Canada. The measure was introduced by the Liberal government earlier this year, in response to several court rulings saying that bans on same-sex marriage violate equal rights.

The Conservative Party, led by Party Leader Stephen Harper, has spearheaded the opposition to Bill C-38. Recently, however, members of Martin’s Liberal Party have begun to raise concerns over the issue, as Martin pushes for passage of the bill before the House of Commons breaks for the summer.

A group of Liberal MPs met with Martin to discuss the bill, but no decisions were finalized.

The main concerns of those opposed include guarantees that churches and justices will not be required to perform marriages against their religious beliefs. Some members of Parliament may oppose the government on budget bills to show their opposition to Bill C-38.

Member Pat O’Brien took a more dramatic route, resigning from the Liberal Party on Monday and declaring himself an independent. His departure from the Liberal Party has motivated other Liberals in opposition to same-sex marriage to speak out and join the Conservatives against Bill C-38.

O’Brien stayed with the Liberals when Martin promised a thorough debate over the marriage bill. The debate, however, has not come up, and the government seems to be forcing the bill through Parliament, said O’Brien. O’Brien has pledged to do whatever he can to defeat the bill.

Conservatives tried to topple the Liberal government with a confidence vote last month, but their attempt was defeated when the government won by one vote. If they had been successful, the Conservatives would have taken control of the government and the bill would most likely have died.

The next vote on Bill C-38 is scheduled for June 16.