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Canada's Senate

Debates of the Senate of Canada

 

"Remember that law is not static. I hope that individual senators follow closely the Ontario court case proposing recognition of same sex marriages. Among other things at stake is the continuing violation of basic human rights for a number of citizens of our country."
Senator Lois Wilson

 

Photo by: Kevin Bourassa
The Ontario Hearing Daily Reports
(November 5 - 9, 2001)

November 5, 2001
November 6, 2001
November 7, 2001
November 8, 2001
November 9, 2001

Judgement is expected in March 2002

 

 

 

 

"The Supreme Court declared in 1999: 'The capacity to form conjugal relationships characterized by emotional and economic interdependence has nothing to do with sexual orientation.' "
Senator Laurier LaPierre

 

 

 

Link to learn more about how you can contribute to  a trust account in aid of all five marriage cases underway across Canada (British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec)

 

 

 

 

"Marriage is no longer exclusively the institutional instrument for the procreation of children, an argument always put forward by proponents of this bill."
Senator Laurier LaPierre

 

 

 

 

 

"They are telling more generations of young Canadians that we should not treat homosexuals equally: Homosexuals must not use the word 'marriage' to describe their relationships. They are also teaching that intolerance of homosexuals is both proper and righteous."
Senator Mobina Jaffer

 

 

 

Please join us in a letter writing campaign to demand our rights from politicians - Click here to learn more

 

 

 

 

"Honourable senators, we have an obligation and a duty as members of the Senate of Canada to bring honour to this institution. Honour is brought by demonstrations of tolerance."
-Senator Mobina Jaffer speaking to the Senate, November 22, 2001

 

 

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Advocacy: Bill S-9

Link To Sentor's Government Web PageMarch 13, 2002

Senator Lois Wilson warned her colleagues against running Canada as if it was a church state. A bill, sponsored by Senator Cools, seeks to reinforce discrimination against gay and lesbian families and their children. Senator Wilson, a Reverend, and the first woman moderator of the United Church of Canada, spoke with authority on matters of church and state while denouncing Bill S-9, an anti-gay initiative targeted against couples seeking same-sex marriage.

"We do not have a state religion in Canada, nor have we ever had a state religion," Senator Wilson said. "Parliament cannot choose sides in the religious debate by enforcing one religious view of marriage on all. Otherwise, we are on the path to state religion, a concept that is currently unconstitutional and morally repugnant.

Senator Wilson spoke candidly about being raised to think that homosexuality was unnatural. This use (and abuse) of spirituality to turn people against one another is difficult to overcome, but with greater exposure and reflection, Senator Wilson came to a new understanding.

"Can we not respect diversity and choice in this country where we constantly boast of tolerance and pluralism?" she asked. "Remember that law is not static. I hope that individual senators follow closely the Ontario court case proposing recognition of same sex marriages. Among other things at stake is the continuing violation of basic human rights for a number of citizens of our country."

Read a transcript of Senator Wilson's speech to the Senate

Read letters supporting Senator Wilson

Please support Senator Wilson
Share in her vision for a just society

Parliamentary Mailing address:
The Senate of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, KIA OA4

Parliamentary E-mail address: wilsol@sen.parl.gc.ca
(copy samesex@samesexmarriage.ca)

Bill S-9 Is Stuck In Time

Bill S-9 selectively utilizes, disingenuously, a portion of a definition from an 1866 British case involving polygamy, in order to bolster their case against gay marriage. You always have to stretch in order to contort logic. It is a similar tactic that was tried in the Ontario case heard in court (November 2001). It was "lame" then (said the lawyer for the Attorney General of Canada, who none-the-less gamely tried to present her case anyway) and it is lame now.

Bill S-9 says:

"Marriage has the meaning declared in 1866 decision of Hyde v. Hyde in the Courts of Probate and Divorce in the United Kingdom, and as understood in sections 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867, being a voluntary union of one man and one woman as husband and wife to the exclusion of all others."

The above "definition" from Hyde, however, is a half-truth conveniently constructed, and therefore flawed. The Hyde definition also said:

  • marriage was for life
  • the definition applied in Christendom, which of course does not include many Canadians.

Further, at the time of Hyde, divorce was extremely difficult to obtain, civil marriages were illegal, but it was legal for a man to beat and rape his wife. Marriage has long since left the Hyde definition behind. Unfortunately, its proponents remain with us.

"After a Bill receives second reading in the Senate, it will be referred to a Committee for public hearings," said John Fisher, EGALE, when we asked for a briefing on the legislative process. "If Bill S-9 were to proceed to Committee, it would probably be referred to either the Human Rights Committee or the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. Most Bills dealing with LGBT issues have gone to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, although this is technically within the discretion of the Bill's sponsor."

Bill S-9 is in its first reading, as we work to prevent it from every reaching a committee. In addition to Senator Wilson, two other Senator's have delivered courageous speaches defending equality and human rights for all citizens, free from the dogma and doctrine of faith groups.

Photo by: Tony WongOn March 6, 2002 Senator Laurier LaPierre urged his colleagues in the Canadian senate to vote against Bill S-9, an anti-gay initiative targeted against couples seeking same-sex marriage.

"To vote for this bill [Bill S-9] would be to accept the Neanderthal idea that common law is static and incapable of expanding to meet the changing needs of society," Sen. Laurier LaPierre said.

Please support Senator LaPierre
Let him know his example is appreciated

Senator LaPierre,
343, East Block
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A4
Email: laurier.lapierre@sympatico.ca
(copy samesex@samesexmarriage.ca)
Telephone: (613) 992-0081

Perhaps with your encouragement, more Senators will set the example of leadership this country dearly needs. End marriage apartheid.

Read a transcript of Senator LaPierre's speech to the Senate

Read letters supporting Senator LaPierre

Senator Mobina Jaffer - First To Defend Equality

Photo by: Tony Wong Senator Mobina Jaffer, was the first in the Senate to speak in favour of ending discrimination in marriage laws.

Senator Jaffer opposed Bill S-9: "This enactment amends the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees) Act in order to remove any doubts and uncertainties respecting the meaning of the term 'marriage'. It also amends the Interpretation Act in consequence."

Jaffer was quoted as saying Bill S-9 is "giving comfort to those who hate".

The Senator has personal experience with the subject of hatred, and how it is promoted in politics and law. Her own family had to leave President Idi Amin's Uganda 30 years ago. She is an Ismaili, the first Senator to take the oath of office using the Koran, and the first Muslim appointed to the Senate. The Right Honourable Jaffer has previously been involved in anti-apartheid campaigns.

The backers of Bill S-9 want to enshrine discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Please support Senator Jaffer and let her know that she does not stand alone. Perhaps with our encouragement, more Senators will join her in setting the example of leadership this country dearly needs. End marriage apartheid.

Read a transcript of Senator Jaffers speech to the Senate

Read letters supporting Senator Jaffer


Please express your opposition to Bill S-9 to:
(and copy samesex@samesexmarriage.ca)

The Prime Minister of Canada

Canada's Justice Minister

The Leader of the Government in the Senate

Senator Anne Cools (Sponsor of Bill S-9)

List of Canadian Senators


Read Letters to Senator Carstairs, Senate Leader


Read Letters to Senate Committees