Forty years ago, Canada’s House of Commons decriminalized homosexuality with the passage of Bill C-150.
The omnibus bill — first introduced by then-justice minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau — touched on a wide range of social issues, including gay sex, abortion, gambling and divorce.
“It’s bringing the laws of the land up to contemporary society I think,” Trudeau told reporters after introducing the bill in the Commons on Dec 21, 1967. “Take this thing on homosexuality. I think the view we take here is that there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”
C-150 amended the buggery and gross indecency sections of the Criminal Code to ensure that anal sex between any two consenting adults (including two gay men) would no longer be a crime — as long as it took place in private and between participants aged 21 years or older.
“Something very momentous took place,” says NDP MP Libby Davies, looking back at C-150. “The fact that laws criminalized people because they loved each other and they happened to be of the same sex — it’s a horrific thing.” Changing those laws was an important milestone in Canadian queer rights, says Davies.
Xtra.ca asked gay politicians on the Hill what they think about the legacy of C-150. Check out their responses below:
(Watch and share this video on YouTube)
Don’t miss Xtra’s two-part series on C-150 by Senator Laurier L LaPierre, starting next week.