The majority of Canadians now support the expansion of the country's non-discrimination laws to include gender identity, according to a new poll released just four months after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party introduced a bill that would punish transgender discrimination with up to two years in prison for violators.
The Angus Reid Institute survey conducted from July 26 to Aug. 2 that questioned a sample size of 1,416 people found that more than eight-in-10 Canadians, or 84 percent of the respondents to the survey, support expanding non-discrimination laws to include gender identity, with only 16 percent opposed.
Over 48 percent of those who responded to the poll said they would describe themselves as "trans allies," 15 percent said they are "trans opponents," while 38 percent said they are "sympathetic but uncertain."
According The Huffington Post and TeleSur, the poll's results mean that the majority of Canadians support the controversial Bill C-16 introduced in May by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould of Trudeau's Liberal Party.
If passed, the bill would amend the Canadian Criminal Code to expand existing "hate speech" prohibitions to include any public speech or communication that "promotes hatred" on the basis of "gender identity" or "gender expression," and also the Canadian Human Rights Act, to cover transgender people, The Christian Post reported earlier this year.
Trudeau said in a speech announcing the bill on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on May 17, "As a society, we have taken many important steps toward recognizing and protecting the legal rights for the LGBTQ2 community — from enshrining equality rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to the passage of the Civil Marriage Act."
He added, "To do its part, the government of Canada today will introduce legislation that will help ensure transgender and other gender-diverse people can live according to their gender identity, free from discrimination, and protected from hate propaganda and hate crimes," he added.
When it comes to the bathroom debate, however, only 41 percent of Canadians said they believe men should be allowed to go into women's bathrooms if they identify as female. Twenty-two percent said people should use bathrooms that corresponds with their birh sex, while 37 percent said that it depends on a case by case basis.
President Barack Obama has also pushed a Department of Education directive that would require public schools to allow boys to go unto girls' bathrooms and locker rooms if they identify as female. The president has even attempted to cite the Bible as justification for his stance.
"My reading of scripture tells me that that [the] Golden Rule is pretty high up there in terms of my Christian belief," Obama said in June.
"What happened and what continues to happen is you have transgender kids in schools and they get bullied and they get ostracized and it's tough for them."
Evangelical leaders, such as the Rev. Franklin Graham, have strongly condemned such actions, saying that God created people as men and women.
"Who does President Barack Obama think he is? The sultan of Washington? Does he think he can just make a 'decree' and we will bow down and simply obey?" Graham wrote on Facebook back in May.
"This opens up bathrooms to sexual predators and perverts. A decree does not carry the force of law — that's the job of Congress. The president obviously must have no fear of God, who made us and created us male and female," he added.
"I hope that school districts across this nation will defy President Obama and his administration's radical progressive agenda to promote and advance the sin of homosexuality and the LGBT agenda."