From the Toronto Globe and Mail:
A federal proposal to extend marriage rights to gays and lesbians would be constitutional, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Thursday in a unanimous opinion.
Prime Minister Paul Martin responding by saying that his government would introduce the new legislation “as soon as possible” in the new year. It will be a free vote, except that cabinet ministers will have to support the government position.
“I do believe it will pass the House,” Mr. Martin told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
Same-sex marriage is already legal in seven provinces and territories and, while Thursday’s Supreme Court opinion is not binding, activists urged quick action by Parliament.
“Equal marriage is something whose time has come,” said Gilles Marchildon, executive director of the gay-rights group Egale Canada.
“Just last week, South Africa expanded civil marriage to include same-sex couples. Spain will soon follow. Around the world, people are realizing that discrimination against lesbian and gay people is just plain wrong.”
Legislation allowing same-sex marriage was drafted by the Liberal government under Jean Chrétien. The proposal was referred to the Supreme Court for an opinion after lower courts in several provinces declared the traditional definition of marriage violated equality provisions in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
No gnashing of teeth, no threats of fire and brimestone from the halls of televangelism, no gasps of horror from the keepers of the Sacred Scrolls of Moral Values; just a good common-sense approach to the fair and equitable application of the provisions of the Charter. If they could just settle the hockey lock-out and annex some territory in the tropics, I’d live there.