4 min

Aunt Frances waits with bated breath

Lessons learned from Parliament's marriage debate

Credit: Jake Wright

John Godfrey, Liberal MP for Don Valley West and a former professor of history, called the House Of Commons debates about Bill C-38, the Civil Marriage Act, a rare historic debate that occurs “perhaps once every parliamentary generation.”

So what can we learn from the debates about making same-sex marriage legal nationwide? Well, Mar 21 was wall-to-wall marriage in the House Of Commons. One thing we learned was that Canadian citizens give very different answers to MPs than they give to pollsters. While professional polls put support for same-sex marriage at just over 50 percent, certain MPs – MPs who are themselves opposed to same-sex marriage – cite no less than 90 percent opposition in their ridings. Hmm, interesting. But wait, there’s more.

Our courts say fucking is more important than praying.

Rose-Marie Ur (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, Liberal): “The courts have ruled that protection for homosexual practices is part and parcel of the protection for sexual orientation. If homosexual practices have been protected by the courts without question but religious practices tend to be subject to some more rigorous standards, gay rights will always trump religious rights.”

Marriage as we know it has been around forever.

Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville, Conservative): “In a world filled with so much uncertainty, it is irresponsible for the government to abolish the definition of marriage. This definition has been in existence for as long as man has walked the earth and it has never changed.”

Yet marriage is easily ruined.

Dan McTeague (Pickering-Scarborough East, Liberal): “I ask Parliament to look at issues based on common sense and the virtue and value of this very fragile institution.”

Being straight is like having served in a war.

McTeague: “No more than I could ask to receive veterans’ benefits because I have not participated or donned a soldier’s uniform for this country, could I make a claim of opposite sex to enter into that relationship.”

Same-sex marriage will trim your electricity bill.

John McCallum (Markham-Unionville, Liberal): “To light a candle from another that is already burning does not diminish the light of that first candle, but rather serves to brighten the room.”

Vegetarians are not welcome in this debate.

McCallum: “Over 2,000 years ago the two greatest delicacies for the Chinese were the palm of the bear and the fish. Everybody wanted to eat both of these good things. When people could not have both, they had to make a very difficult decision. They could eat the palm of the bear or they could eat the fish. They could not eat both. Today the fish is traditional marriage and the palm of the bear is the protection of minority rights. My message is that one can choose one or the other, but we cannot have both.”

Marriage certificates destabilize human DNA.

John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood, Liberal): “The most devastating of all the changes are the consequential amendments that would delink a child from its biological heritage.”

Conservatives do talk to homosexuals; they just don’t listen to them.

Carol Skelton (Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, Conservative): “I have heard from my gay and lesbian constituents and I can honestly say I realize how personal this debate has become for them. I have heard devastating tales of workplace discrimination, social discrimination and most tragically, discrimination from within their own families. All of these are unacceptable and must not be tolerated, ignored or excused…. I also believe marriage, the “m” word if you will, should remain as a reference for heterosexual couples only.”

We don’t need the Charter when we have the Old Testament.

Werner Schmidt (Kelowna-Lake Country, Conservative): “I believe that seeking wisdom from God with all our hearts will be rewarded. Let us all seek it. I quote from Jeremiah 29:13: ‘You will seek and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'”

Hairdressers, figure skaters & interior designers don’t figure into Canadian society.

John Williams (Edmonton-St Albert, Conservative): “There are many kinds of sexual relationships today…. I will use the analogy of professionals. There are many kinds of professionals in our society. There are lawyers, doctors, engineers, accountants, architects and so on. Each one is a professional, but a lawyer is not a doctor and an engineer is not an accountant.”

Marriage is a bit like slavery; maybe more than a bit.

Gordon O’Connor (Carleton-Mississippi Mills, Conservative): “Marriage establishes the legal father of a woman’s child, establishes the legal mother of a man’s child. It gives the husband and wife control over each other’s sexual services, labour and property.”

You can’t put anything past Gordon O’Connor.

O’Connor: “There are two sexes, male and female. Humans evolved as two kinds for a purpose, otherwise there would have been a self-generating unisex human. We are not unisex. We are male and female. It takes the egg from the female and the sperm from the male to generate new life. Once the child arrives, it must be nurtured and supported until it is an adult.”

Change upsets Aunt Frances; our thoughts are with her.

Randy White (Abbotsford, Conservative): “My dear Aunt Frances from Lakeside, Nova Scotia, who is watching this with bated breath, is trying to understand why we in the House Of Commons are changing something that has been near and dear to her heart for 80-some years. I think a lot of people are thinking about that.”

There’s a connection between same-sex marriage & free-trade inequities.

Gerry Ritz (Battlefords-Lloydminster, Conservative): “Our primary food producers are abused by trade disputes, hammered by unreasonable restrictions and taxed off their land. Their crops are seized and sold, and they get nickels back while somebody else makes millions…. The Liberals claim to stand for a repressed minority, but this minority, which is really a small part of a minority, seems to have access to government and courts that most Canadians cannot even dream of.”

* Canadians For Equal Marriage is at; the site allows you to find your MP contact info by typing in your postal code.