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Editorial cartoon by Brian Gable (Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)
Editorial cartoon by Brian Gable (Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)

Former PM

Paul Martin laments Tory 'tampering' with same-sex marriage law Add to ...

Paul Martin says the Harper government’s “tampering” with same-sex marriage law is “fundamentally wrong.”

As the prime minister who brought in the law allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, the former Liberal leader said Thursday his government recognized that it was the “right thing to do.”

He called the position taken by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives “absolutely ridiculous.”

“We validated those marriages and you cannot retroactively invalidate marriages that you validated,” he told The Globe an interview. “... The government’s position, certainly as reported, is causing an enormous amount of consternation around the world. And I just think for the government to put people through that is wrong.”

His decision in 2005 to bring in legislation to legalize same-sex marriage came at a cost. His caucus was deeply divided; a minister quit cabinet over the issue; and two dozen MPs broke ranks to vote with the Conservatives and a handful of Bloc Québécois members who opposed it.

“We recognized that this was a Charter right,” Mr. Martin reacalled. “I feel very proud of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I think it’s one of the foundations on which modern Canada has been built.”

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