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Advocacy - Letters - Letters to MPs

Letter's To Members of Parliament
In Support of Equal Marriage

February 9, 2005

A letter to Conservative MP, Mike Chong ~ Wellington-Halton Hills Ontario:

My husband and I are constituents of your Wellington-Halton Hills riding. We have watched with much interest the national debate around the same sex marriage bill. While we are aware that Conservatives generally are not supportive of the government's legislation on same sex marriage, we know that other Conservative party members like Belinda Stronach and Jim Prentice have taken a more liberal position and have indicated publicly their support of equal rights for gays and lesbians. We strongly urge you to do so as well.

Over the years our family has been fortunate to become friends with several gay and lesbian couples. In one case, two loving, successful and talented women have brought a beautiful child into this world. Anyone that might meet and know these couples and families would soon find out that they are just the same as anyone else and that the love they feel for each other and for their children is no different than the love in any married relationship or family.

We look forward to a Canada that furthers the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, where the rights of of all minorities in Canada, including those of the gay and lesbian community are respected in all institutions including that of marriage. We trust that you will work on our behalf and on behalf of Canadians to ensure this equality is achieved and embraced.

Sincerely yours,

Cathy Lennon & Kevin Davey
Ontario


February 8, 2005

Mr. Stoffer:

The issue of same-sex marriage is not the appropriate context in which to raise your objections to "whipped" votes. The NDP platform in the 2004 election campaign says that "Jack Layton and Canada’s NDP will respect equality by . . . Recognizing the equality of loving adult partnerships by extending civil marriage equality to same-sex couples, while respecting each religion’s right to determine its own definition of marriage." Given that the platform put before Canadians in the last election emphasized that the NDP party supports marriage equality for all Canadians, all NDP MP's should certainly be voting in favour of the legislation now before the house.

I have cc'd this email to Bev Desjarlais in the hope that she will recognize that this should not be a judgment issue with respect to personal morality. No doubt you are both familiar with Bishop Fred Henry's recent comments, that the government should use its coercive powers to proscribe or curtail homosexuality. Further, he indicated that such acts are evil, and he rejected the idea that private acts are the business of no one else. Surely this kind of diatribe evidences finally what I truly believe: those people who are opposed to equal marriage rights for same-sex couples are so opposed out of prejudicial, discriminatory, and bigoted attitudes. The issue is not really marriage equality. At its heart, the issue remains prejudice towards and intolerance of gays and lesbians.

I ask you to restrict your comments regarding your opposition of "whipped" votes to more relevant issues.

Respectfully,

Mari Bishop
Ontario


February 3, 2005

Dear: Ms.Stronach, Mr. Prentice, Mr. Moore, Mr. Keddy:

We would like to take a moment to offer you our thanks for publicly announcing that you would be supporting the government's legislation on same-sex marriage. You have done so in spite of stiff and often hostile resistance against our right to marry. You have truly struck a blow for justice and equality, in this wonderful country we all call home. During your caucus retreat in Victoria last week, your leader, Mr. Harper met with two friends of ours, Robin and Diana. This beautiful couple have lived in a loving relationship for 21 years and were married last year, a month after our wedding. By the way we have lived in a similar relationship for 37 years. As you can see, we are not kids, but mature adults who know much about the hardships of living our lives with same-sex partners. Returning to the meeting between Robin, Diana and Mr. Harper, he made it very clear that their marriage would be null and void and replaced by some other type of union. During the lower courts hearing of the cases of the 17 couples , 8 in B.C. 8 in Ontario and 1 in Quebec, the question of RDPs or any other form of "Marriage Lite" came up many times and it was made clear by all of the appellants that this was not acceptable.

We have read the new legislation and clearly the church will not have to > marry a same-sex couple if they don't wish to, however there are churches > that are more than happy to bless our relationships. As Christians we wanted to be married in church and were. We married at Ryerson United Church in Vancouver, in front of our families and friends. It was a joyous and sacred event that we will always remember. We are sad to say that Mr. Harper's approach to this matter has been one of ignorance and misunderstanding between sexual relations and sexuality. The former is an act, while the later is who we are, our complete being. We thank you for recognizing the distinction and applaud you for your courage.

Lloyd and Bob Peacock


February 1, 2005

Dear Mr. Steckle,

First off, we are not in your riding, but hope you will take the time to read our email. Unlike Mr. Lee who basically told us if we were not in his riding (and couldn't vote for him), he wasn't interested in hearing from us.

Today, the government finally introduces the Same Sex Marriage bill in parliament. It's long overdue! We were very disappointed to hear your recent comments made to the media at the Liberal meetings here in Fredericton on the subject of Same Sex Marriage. This morning we heard on CBC that you said supporting this bill would come back to bite those who support it in the ass in the next election.

I wish you could have heard a recent commentary on CBC Saint John's "Mainstreet" show. It spoke about how the religious community is so up-in-arms on this issue and putting pressure on MP's with a campaign, partly financed from the USA. In the commentary, it was pointed out that the "church crowd" are very organized and can stir their members to call and send email to MP's on this issue. However, consider this... only about 30% (approx) of people in this country even attend or are a member of a church. The other 70% of us aren't organized or have the financial resources to do this. Surveys show that a majority of Canadians support the issue. So who is going to "bite you in the ass" if you fail to support this bill? We would be more concerned about the silent majority than a vocal minority.

It has been made very clear that churches are not going to be forced to marry anyone they don't want to. This is civil marriage, not a religious one. The advice from the Supreme Court should have been the end of that discussion.

We are still wondering why this is even up for a "free vote". The Prime Minister has said this is simply a issue of equal rights for all Canadians. If so, we are wondering why it is coming up to a "free vote" in parliament? You and other MP's get to decide if we deserve rights? How would you feel if you had a gay son. Shouldn't he have the same rights and opportunities that you and other Canadians enjoy?

I met my partner in 1997 and we held a commitment ceremony in 1998. In 2001 we went to Vermont and had a civil union. We could have gone to Ontario and been married there, but we want to do it here in New Brunswick, our own province. It has been dragging its feet on this issue and won't change anything until they are forced to. But they will be forced to and we will marry here.

Look at the large number of Canadian courts that have ruled in favor of same sex marriage? Even the Supreme Court has said do it! Why is this even an issue? Don't we have more important things to do in this country?

We hope you will re-consider your position on this issue and do the right thing.

Sincerely,

Larry Dickinson and Jason Curl
New Brunswick


February 1, 2005

Mr Lunney

The Federal Government has introduced the expected legislation in the house today to make same-sex marriage legal across Canada.

While you have made your personal views abundantly clear on this issue, as a queer couple and constituents of yours, we remind you that you have been elected to represent all of the constituents in your riding, not just those who reflect your narrow view of society. As a member of parliament, we also expect that you will uphold the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You must support the rights of all minorities in Canada, including those of the Gay and Lesbian Community.

Your party has proposed that the government should give same-sex couples civil union rather than civil marriage. But setting up an institution separate from civil marriage is segregation. It would be a separate and unequal institution which would violate the Constitution of Canada, and the Charter of Rights. As to the argument of religious freedom, you know very well that this bill addresses only civil marriage, and very specifically protects the right of religious organizations from having to recognize same-sex marriages. As well, do not forget that some religious organizations are strongly in support of same-sex marriage, notably, among others, Canada's largest protestant denomination, the United Church of Canada.

When the time comes to vote on this bill, we expect that you will put aside your personal prejudices, and that you will vote in favour of extending the right to marry to all gays and lesbians across this country, affirming your commitment to equality for all Canadians.

Glen Hasslinger and Michael Musclow
British Columbia


January 24, 2005

Dear Mr. Casson;

To introduce myself ... I am a fourth-year Social Studies Education/History student at the University of Lethbridge. In April of 2006 I will graduate with my degree and will likely become a high school Social Studies teacher in this province. I would like to thank you for seeing me and take this opportunity to make a case to you to attempt to convince you to vote in the House of Commons for same-sex marriage. My view represents a growing number of Albertans who reside within your constituency, mostly among the youth, who would like to see the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms honoured and have equality granted to everyone who lives within our borders.

I realize that although I am in a minority within your riding, even if it is a growing minority, that the larger part of the people living here do oppose same-sex marriage. I do not dispute that. Having said that, to not have a single vote from any Conservative Member of Parliament cast supporting the legalization of same-sex marriage serves to completely alienate a significant number of the people residing in Conservative ridings, such as this one, where no other party has a realistic chance of competing. When no voice within government, a feeling begins to emanate among those in the minority of disenfranchisement, and then democracy has truly failed. There is much talk in Canadian politics of "Western alienation," but those claims are wrought with hypocrisy and invalid if Western Canadian politicians disaffect those who live within their own provinces.

Aside from just political reasons for you to cast your vote in support of same-sex marriage, I would implore you to examine the moral reasons for this vote as well. I myself am a newlywed heterosexual male. The only reason that this is of absolutely any relevance at all is because it gives me the right to say that as a married man, the meaning of my marriage will not be cheapened, defined differently, or negatively altered in any way should same-sex marriage be legalized. In fact, every time two people who love each other are joined in marital union, it elevates the meaning of it for everyone of us. It becomes the logical course of action for two people that love one another.

As far as the issue of religious freedom goes, the allowance of same-sex marriage will not infringe on anyone's religious rights whatsoever. No one is asking that churches be forced to allow same-sex couples to be united within their buildings. All that anyone asks is that same-sex couples be treated like human beings and be allowed to marry if they want to. The Supreme Court of Canada had this to say on the issue:

While the Court expressed concern about the provision in the Government's proposed legislation concerning religious freedom, the Court was equally clear that freedom of religion is also a fundamental right already protected by the Constitution and the Charter, and that religious institutions - churches and synagogues, mosques and temples, are not obliged to perform marriage ceremonies that are contrary to their beliefs. (Supreme Court of Canada decision on December 9, 2004, retrieved from http://canada.justice.gc.ca/en/news/fs/2004/doc_31322.html retrieved January 24, 2004.)

Nobody is trying to impose their beliefs on Canada's religious community, as their rights are also protected by Canadian law. There are also a variety of religious opinions on same-sex marriage, and as a person who believes in a higher power, I resent when certain individuals within the religious community group all of us in together in opposition to same-sex marriage. I find it vexing that these individuals within the religious community (who should be fighting harder than anyone to protect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as it is what guarantees their faith) have no problem imposing their own views of morality upon the rest of Canada. They are essentially telling same-sex couples that their love is immoral and that they should not be allowed to marry. If individuals within the Canadian religious community do not wish to enter into a same-sex marriage they do not have to, but why impose their view on those who do want it?

"Access to civil marriage is a matter of fundamental equality." This to comes from the December 9, 2004 decision from the Supreme Court of Canada concerning same-sex marriage. I am a member of the Liberal Party of Canada, have been president of the University of Lethbridge Liberal Association and of the Lethbridge Community College Liberal Association and have personally met and supported Paul Martin in both the Liberal leadership race as well as in the federal election. I did not vote for you. It may sound trite, but having said that, if you bravely stand for what is right and vote to allow the equality of all who reside in our fine nation, you will have taken at least one staunch supporter of your opposition and brought him onto your side. I guarantee that others will follow.

Paradoxically, there is a far more important reason for you to cast your vote for same-sex marriage than just to accrue more votes in a riding that, realistically speaking, the Conservatives are never going to lose. You need to vote for Paul Martin's proposal on same-sex marriage because it is the right thing to do. You have the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy of tolerance and bravery. You have the responsibility to assure "the right of the individual to equality before the law."

Protect us from those who would steal away the protection of right and freedoms within Canada. Protect us from those who would trample the rule of law. Protect us from those who cannot tolerate a lifestyle that is different from their own.

All of the best to you and yours as you prepare for this important decision,

Matthew B.
Alberta


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