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Soggy equal marriage protest on the Hill

Meanwhile, no vote likely until November

SLOW START: The Christian Right's rally opposing same-sex marriage got off to a slow and soggy start Sep 28 and only attracted some 70 participants despite advance national coverage. Credit: (Marcus McCann)

It was a day of bad timing for those gathering on Parliament Hill to protest same-sex marriage.

First, there was the rain. Then it became increasingly obvious that the buses of supporters from Toronto were going to arrive up to an hour after the advertised 2pm start time.

But that wasn’t the worst of the bad timing. The date of the protest — Sep 28 — was chosen weeks ago because pundits had indicated Sep 28 as the most likely day for a snap vote on whether to reopen the same-sex marriage debate.

But activists on both sides now suggest a vote is more likely right before Christmas than in the next month.

Despite the rain, the tardiness, and the rescheduling of the vote, about 70 people listened to Warren Booth, the organizer of Man And Woman Union, speak through a megaphone about wanting to repeal C-38, the same-sex marriage bill that became law of the land in July of 2005. Stragglers wandered over as Booth spoke.

“Children are our future and right now they are scared and confused,” Booth told the crowd.

Earlier, the Religious Coalition For Equal Marriage met for a quiet vigil over lunch inside the Centre Block. Openly gay MPs Real Menard, Libby Davis, and Bill Siksay attended.

Davis reminded the gathering that in the House of Commons members were debating women’s equality. She referred to the gutting of several key women’s rights groups as a result of Monday’s announced $1-billion spending cut. Women’s groups and other minority-rights groups were among those axed.

“We’re debating women’s equality right in the House, and it’s crazy right now, so it’s a relief to come here for a little bit of peace,” she says.

A choir sung hymns including “This Little Light of Mine” and members of both the United Church and Unitarian Universalist congregations spoke.

“It’s time to put the matter behind us,” Laurie Arron from Canadians For Equal Marriage told Capital Xtra in an interview.

Arron suggests that the Conservatives were convinced to postpone the vote by those who oppose equal marriage, in order to prolong the lobbying period. It is widely believed that if a vote were held today, it woud fail.

Danny Wilson, a Catholic priest who attended the anti-rights protest, seemed to agree that postponing the vote would be help his cause.

“That’ll give us more time; that’s good,” he says.

Arron warns that MPs are currently hearing mostly from those who oppose equal marriage. He encourages all those who support gay marriage to contact their MPs.