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Canadians for Equal Marriage
Anti gay marriage stance will hurt Harper in election, group warns
Source: The Canadian Press, Apr 12, 2005 16:48
April 13, 2005
OTTAWA (CP) _ Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s bid to ‘’vaporize’’ same-sex marriages will cast him as a social extremist in any upcoming election, warns a gay rights group.
‘’He wants to annul people’s marriages,’’ Alex Munter, spokesman for Canadians for Equal Marriages, said Tuesday on Parliament Hill.
‘’He wants to say that gays and lesbians are not protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Those are extreme positions not shared by most Canadians. And in an election campaign, he’ll have to answer for those positions.’’
Munter made the comments amid growing expectation of a Conservative-forced election by late June. Party officials did little to quell rumours that they’ll tap into public disgust with the Liberals over the sponsorship scandal.
Same-sex marriage could once again be a flashpoint issue on the campaign trail.
Harper supports economic rights for gay couples, but says most Canadians want traditional marriage preserved for heterosexuals.
In fact, pollsters say a volatile public is still almost evenly divided on the emotional question.
A Conservative motion to derail the government’s bill to legalize same-sex marriage was expected to be quashed Tuesday in the Commons.
Munter said Harper is flouting the desire of most Canadians for Parliament to finally vote on the contentious matter. Often raucous debate has dragged on for almost two years, he said.
An independently commissioned Environics poll released Tuesday suggests 76 per cent of Canadians say it’s time to settle the issue in the Commons. The results are based on a recent survey of 2,022 Canadians and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Gay weddings are allowed in seven provinces and the Yukon after court judgments said excluding homosexuals violates equality rights.
More than 3,000 same-sex couples have tied the knot across Canada.
The Conservatives want to introduce a bill that would reaffirm marriage as the exclusive domain of one man and one woman. They say Canada’s highest court has not yet ruled on whether such a restriction violates the charter.
© 2005 The Canadian Press
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