Skip to main content

The Ontario Legislature approved same-sex legislation yesterday that transforms the definition of traditional marriage, but not without a protracted debate that exposed deep divisions within the Progressive Conservative Party.

Both Conservative and New Democrat members attempted to derail an earlier accord among all three parties to have members of the legislature vote on the bill by simply calling out yea or nay.

Three Conservative members opposed to the legislation demanded a formal vote that would record every MPP's position on the issue. In doing so, they broke ranks with many other party members, including PC Leader John Tory.

Story continues below advertisement

Bill Murdoch, one of the Conservatives calling for the recorded vote, said many people in Ontario are against the bill and want to know how their MPPs voted on it.

If the government does not let members vote on bills, "then democracy is lost," he said, at which point a member of his own party, John Baird, heckled him by shouting: "You stood up and told us."

New Democrat Peter Kormos also wanted a recorded vote, but he told reporters he failed to get the support of his party's caucus. While he said he supports the legislation, he said he wanted the recorded vote to expose those Liberal members attempting to divorce themselves from party policy on the same-sex legislation.

"I became disturbed and upset at Liberals who want to have it both ways, who want to be Liberals at Queen's Park but Tories when they go back down to their riding," he told reporters. "That is repugnant behaviour."

Many Conservative members have spoken against the legislation, but they were short of the necessary five members needed for a formal vote on the matter.

The legislation, which passed third reading yesterday, extends the definitions of spouse and marriage in Ontario to include gay and lesbian couples. It also makes it clear that a religious official is not required to perform a marriage or to allow a sacred place to be used for such an occasion if doing so would be contrary to the parties' religious beliefs.

The legislation comes after rulings by courts in seven provinces and one territory that say preventing same-sex couples from marrying is a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Story continues below advertisement

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in June, 2003, that excluding same-sex couples from the definition of marriage cannot be justified in a democratic society.

Report an error
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter