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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Canadian P.M. pushes ‘gay marriage’ bill; DOMA lawsuit heard in Calif.; Kan. amendment advances

FREDERICTON, New Brunswick (BP)–Even though some in his own party are staunchly opposed, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin said Jan. 27 that plans to legalize same-sex “marriage” nationwide will move forward soon — perhaps as soon as the first few days of February.

“I am very confident that we will win the vote,” he told a news conference, according to Reuters.

Martin and Liberal Party legislators met in New Brunswick over three days to discuss their legislative strategy for the upcoming session of Parliament. Same-sex “marriage” — which has divided Canadians as well as Parliament — dominated the agenda.

Thanks to a series of court rulings, same-sex “marriage” already is legal in seven of 10 provinces and in one territory. Martin’s legislation would legalize it nationwide — even in Alberta, where most oppose “gay marriage.”

During the Liberal caucus Martin reportedly gave an impassioned speech, urging Liberty Party members to stick together and vote for the bill. While members of Martin’s cabinet will be required to vote for the legislation, the rest of Liberal MPs (members of Parliament) will be allowed to vote their conscience.

The Liberal Party has minority government status and holds 133 of 308 seats in Parliament. Most if not all of the members of two other parties — the Bloc Quebecois and the New Democratic Party (NDP) — are expected to vote for the bill. Most of the Conservative Party members are expected to vote against it.

“[Martin’s] speech was a barn-burner,” Toronto MP Jim Karygiannis said, according to Canadian Press.

“But I will be voting against the legislation. I have difficulty with the word ‘marriage.’ If it was anything else — a civil union — I would be OK with it.”

Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper reportedly will put forth a compromise bill that would legalize civil unions but not same-sex “marriage.”

In Canada’s political system, legislation must be given initial approval before it goes to a committee, Reuters reported. After the committee examines it, the bill goes back to Parliament for a final vote.

The problem for Martin is that the Liberals do not control the justice committee — which will be responsible for examining the legislation.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see it [the committee stage] drag on till June,” Liberal legislator Paul Szabo, an opponent of the bill, told Reuters.

Delay in the committee could result in a vote on the bill taking place at the end of this year, Reuters said.

DOMA LAWSUIT HEARD — A federal judge in California heard arguments Jan. 27 in one of the few remaining lawsuits against the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

California Attorney Richard C. Gilbert asked U.S. District Judge Gary Taylor to overturn both the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the California law that bans same-sex “marriage.” Gilbert called homosexuals “the most oppressed minority since slavery.”

“It now falls to you to uphold the principles of liberty,” Gilbert told the judge, according to the Associated Press.

The Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law in 1996, gives states the option of not recognizing same-sex “marriages” from other states. If overturned, then all 50 states presumably would be forced to legalize “gay marriage.”

Although a handful of lawsuits against DOMA were dropped in Florida Jan. 25, lawsuits are still pending in federal courts in California and Oklahoma and in a bankruptcy court in Washington state.

“Each of you are a part of evolving history,” Taylor said after the hearing, according to The Orange County Register. “This kind of discussion is good for the country.”

Lawsuits against California’s marriage laws also are pending in state court. But Gilbert insisted that the case must be won in federal court. He said he would appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Even if [the homosexual couples] did win [in state court], then the state Constitution would be amended,” Gilbert said, according to The Orange County Register. “This case can only be won in federal court.”

KAN. AMENDMENT ADVANCES — A marriage amendment to the Kansas Constitution advanced out of a House committee Jan. 27 and will receive a vote in the full House soon. It already passed the Senate.

Amendment supporters hope to see the amendment placed on the April 5 ballot. For that to happen, it must pass the full House by a two-thirds majority by Feb. 11.

“We’re fairly certain we have the numbers with a small cushion,” House Speaker Doug Mays said, according to The Wichita Eagle. “Marriage is the foundation of our society. This would protect traditional marriage in Kansas.”

The committee vote was a victory for pro-family leaders, who feared the amendment would get stalled and not make it on the ballot until 2006.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit https://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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  • Michael Foust