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Workers listen as Prime Minister Stephen Harper details the completion of the government's deal with Seaspan shipyards to to build non-combat Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy vessels in North Vancouver on Jan. 12, 2012. (ANDY CLARK/Andy Clark/Reuters)
Workers listen as Prime Minister Stephen Harper details the completion of the government's deal with Seaspan shipyards to to build non-combat Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy vessels in North Vancouver on Jan. 12, 2012. (ANDY CLARK/Andy Clark/Reuters)

Tim Powers

Same-sex marriage is here to stay under Harper Add to ...

If anyone thinks Stephen Harper is going to do anything to reverse, alter or diminish same-sex marriage in Canada they truly need to get a grip on reality.

Regardless of one's perspective on the issue – and there remain many, mine being supportive – there is absolutely no political win for the Prime Minister in revisiting same-sex marriage or reversing it, as some would desire. From a policy perspective, stepping back after a right is gained and entrenched would be extremely difficult. Perhaps people should take Mr. Harper at his word when he repeatedly says he has no interest in revisiting the issue.

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His opponents do the country, and in particular those in same-sex marriages, no favours when they stoke fear and suggest the Conservative government is about to do something it is not – undo legal marital unions. This Prime Minister is more interested in economic policy that any form of regressive social engineering. He has had a history of no tolerance for intolerance: Just ask former Alliance MP Larry Spencer, who Stephen Harper kicked out of caucus in 2003 for suggesting homosexuality was some sort of disease.

Certainly, there a members of the Conservative Party – and other political parties for that matter, who do not support same-sex marriages – just as there are members of all parties who do. But most acknowledge this debate has passed and same-sex marriages are here to stay.

The Prime Minister has worked too long and too hard to make his opponents’ fabricated notion of a hidden agenda real. I suspect when he awoke in Halifax Thursday morning he was a surprised as everyone else to see Kirk Makin's story. Thereafter, both he and his Justice Minister responded rapidly, communicating clearly the government's intention to fix anomalies that exist in Canadian law. As noted in some of the coverage, the couple at the centre of the legal proceeding that produced the media storm said they believed there had been “unintentional” actions not considered with the existing laws.

The federal Department of Justice handles umpteen cases that elected officials are never briefed on. Industrious lawyers abound in all areas of practice. Having seen friends go through a variety of family law and divorce proceedings, no legal tactical approach surprises me. What does cause me pause is anyone who actually thinks this government is going to undo same-sex marriage. It is not going to happen.

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