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"It's insulting ... I'm tired, as a gay man, of this kind of innuendo and insult."
Svend Robinson, MP
Oct.23, 2002



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Svend Robinson - Thank you. ( manipulated from original CanWest photo)






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Fighting the abuse of the Catholic Church - Photo by Ryan Kraft




The Marc Hall 2002 Prom Case
May 6, 2021
May 7, 2021
May 10, 2021
The Decision (extract)
May 11, 2021


The Coalition For Marc Hall includes:

Canadian AIDS Society
Canadian Auto Workers Union
Canadian Federation of Students
Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives
Canadian Unitarian Council
Catholics for Free Choice
Challenge the Church
CLGRO (Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario)
EGALE Canada
Equal Marriage for Same-sex Couples
Foundation for Equal Families
Liberals for Equality Rights
Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto
Ontario Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
Ontario Federation Of Labour
PFLAG (Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
Pride York Region
Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)
Windsor Pride Committee


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Advocacy - Letters

A collection of letters written for equality

Link to letters to the Prime Minister of Canada - Please write!We began this page with letters calling on the Prime Minister to end marriage discrimination in Canada. On June 17, 2003, Jean Chretien said the government would accept the landmark Ontario victory for same-sex marriage, and he promised legislation that will bring equal marriage to the rest of Canada. Couples continued to win their rights in eight other regions before Parliament finally passed equal marriage legislation that became law on July 20, 2005. On February 6, 2021 the Conservative Party formed a minority government in Canada, vowing to revisit the issue.

Read letters.

Link to letters to Canada's Justice Minister - An appeal for Equal Marriage.  Please write!Canada's former Justice Minister, Martin Cauchon, called on the cabinet to support equal marriage, days after the June 10th, 2003, introduction of same-sex marriage in Ontario. The next Justice Minister, Irwin Cotler delayed justice, forcing couples to continue fighting in court for their rights, until Parliament finally passed equal marriage legislation on June 28, 2005. The new Conservative Justice Minister must be told to respect Canada's existing laws and rights.

Read letters.

Link to letters sent to federal members of parliament - an appeal for equal marriage.  Please write to end discrimination!Citizens from across Canada have written to their federal member of parliament, asking them to support marriage equality. In parliament and out, Members of Parliament spoke of the ineffectiveness of mass mailing campaigns. Individual phone calls or letters/emails worked best.

Read letters.

Link to letters written in support of the Ontario government's decision  to end marriage discrimination and support the Ontario court's decision.Ontario Premier Ernie Eves accepted the decision of the Ontario Court and he called on Ottawa to get on with ending marriage discrimination. Eves reversed his position during an election (he lost). The new Liberal government and Conservative opposition support equal marriage.

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Link to letters in response to Klein's posturing that same-sex marriage "will not happen in this province".Our report on Alberta Premier Ralph Klein's attempt to "draw the line" on equal rights for gays and lesbians has inspired some of you to remind Mr. Klein of his limitations.

Read letters.

October 23, 2002 (updated Apr. 16, 2004)

Canada's Official Opposition
The Alliance Party
New Leader - Same Old Homophobia?

"When this kind of homophobic innuendo rolls so easily off the tongue of one of our national leaders, it reinforces all the prejudices of the many bullies, both child and adult, who populate our communities ... Mr. Harper owes not just Svend Robinson an apology, but all of us who work so hard to end this kind of prejudice and harassment."
Joan Fisher (parent), letter to the editor, Vancouver Sun, Oct. 28, 2002

Link to Alliance Party  (now known as the Conservative Party) website - Leader pageOttawa - Any lingering doubt about whether a new leader of the Alliance Party would take the disreputable party in a new direction was removed today, when party leader Stephen Harper made yet another offensive remark from this party that has built a solid reputation as a bog of bigots.

Harper was commenting on the ethics of some members of the house of parliament, when he referred to how their "mug shots" might be found in police stations across the country. MP Svend Robinson rose to object to the implication of criminality in Harper's remarks. Harper responded by implying that photographs of Robinson (who is gay) would be found in far more "wonderful" places than a police station.

Robinson was outraged. "It's insulting ... I'm tired, as a gay man, of this kind of innuendo and insult," he said (Robinson lleft politics after he stole a ring).

Former Prime Minister Joe Clark, leader of the Conservative party rose to object to Harper's comment too. The slur was even too much for some members of the Alliance party, who later communicated their regrets to Robinson.

This is a continued pattern of oration from the Alliance party based on bigotry, prejudice, and homophobia.

Will the Alliance Party ever change?  Cheryl Gallant  - following in her leader's homophobic footsteps?On April 10, 2002, Alliance Party member of parliamentCheryl Gallant, who represents the Ontario riding of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, heckled Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister with anti-gay sentiment in parliament's House of Commons.

"Ask your boyfriend," Gallant shouted at Bill Graham, a reference to the Foreign Affairs Minister's sexual orientation, during debate on middle-east policy.

Alliance Party house leader John Reynolds said no one was complaining about the remark and therefore it hadn't happened as far as he was concerned. Gallant, meanwhile, went underground, refusing to speak to reporters while she remained absent in the House of Commons.

The Alliance Party's (then) new leader, Harper, also remained silent, until mounting pressure caused him to order Gallant to apologize. On April 14th, Gallant emerged defiant, speaking to the Ottawa Citizen, blaming the media for the controversy surrounding her offensive behaviour.

But on Monday, April 15th, Gallant stopped blaming the media, and responded to national outrage in the House of Commons. She admitted that her comment was "inappropriate" and she expressed "regret".

"If anyone was offended by the remark, I offer my sincere apologies," she said. However, her web site's feature, Cheryl In The News, which had noted, until her offense, Cheryl's monthly appearences in the news, failed to include her latest appearances, and eventually the plug was pulled on her website. Like John Reynolds told the press, it didn't happen.

Harper, too, refrained from comment. The party is associated with bigotry, due, in part, to past remarks of its members, including one Reform member (the party subsequently changed its name to Alliance, in an attempt of a make-over) who said that he would move gay or black employees to the back of the shop if they were bad for business. The party has consistently voted as a block against rights for gays and lesbians.

In a letter to Gallant, equal marriage advocate Michael Hendricks wrote,"This little incident will be Mr. Harper's first test, his first opportunity to prove to us voters that the old, hate-bound Canadian Alliance is dead, that your party is starting on the long road to joining the vast majority of the Canadian public who are neither racist nor homophobic. And, we are sure you are aware that Canadians, at least in Québec, do not vote for avowed bigots."

After today's slur against Svend Robinson, and the people who stand with the gay politician for equality, it is now clear that Harper has failed the test.

Related Links:

Write to Stephen HarperWrite a letter to Stephen Harper

Read letters to Stephen Harper

Read the parliamentary record of Harper's comments

Read the parliamentary record of Harper's apology (he still claims his slur had no relationship to sexual orientation).

Link to our media coverage of related issues.

April 24, 2003 (updated June 27, 2021)

Catholic School Board Discrimination

EQUAL MARRIAGE FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES joined the coalition of groups that will participate in Marc Hall's case against the discrimination perpetrated by the Catholic school board in Durham, Ontario. This alliance made sense, as the Canadian Catholic Bishops have attacked our own important "right of passage" - marriage.

The coalition's legal team is led by Douglas Elliott with Victoria Paris, of McGowan Elliott & Kim.

Photo of Marc Hall (left) and PJ by Ryan KraftIn At its April 8 meeting, the Catholic school board barred 17-year-old Marc Hall from attending his high school prom, on May 10, with his same-sex partner. The decision was upheld despite an enormous outpouring of public support for Marc, including prominent politicians, human rights advocates, labour union representatives, students, and many others. An Ontario judge ruled in Marc's favour and he went to his prom. The broader issue of a Catholic School Board's interference in a prom dance has yet to be tested (a court date has not been set, and Marc Hall's personal lawyer was appointed a judge in June 2003).

What You Can Do:

1. Write a letter to the Durham Catholic District School Board. Be sure to address it to "All Trustees," as follows:

ATTN: All Trustees
Durham Catholic District School Board
Catholic Education Centre
650 Rossland Road West
Oshawa, Ontario L1J 7C4
Fax: (905) 576-0953

2. Make a donation to the Coalition to Support Marc Hall, care of PFLAG York Region, for upcoming legal expenses pertaining to Marc's case. Make cheques payable to:

PFLAG York Region
PO Box 87586, 300 John St.
Thornhill, Ontario L3T 7R3

Link to letters to Anne McClellan, photo taken from her constituency website.
Read letters to Former Federal Justice Minister Anne McLellan, calling for protection of gays and lesbians under the federal 'hate crimes' legislation.

Read letters opposing RDPs

Read letters opposing RDPs instead of marriage
in British Columbia

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MailLink to our media coverage of related issues.