My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Same-sex marriage is now safe...

Stephen Harper has said the magic words. He will NOT use the notwithstanding clause to eradicate the right to same-sex marriage. So, even if SSM is overturned by Parliament (which is unlikely), it cannot be overturned. As long as protection for gays is in the Charter of Human Rights & Freedoms, the Supreme Court will never allow a second-class status for gays on marriage. So, what Harper has done is historic - it really makes SSM firm, and it also shows that this is NOT an issue that he is willing to expend a significant amount of political capital on.


Blogger ferrethouse said...

The Supreme Court of Canada did NOT rule that the traditional definition of marriage violated the charter. I challenge you to prove me wrong. The court told parliament that it was up to them to decide this issue.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess my comment is that your finding is in fact correct. Harper said what he did. However, I think that the 'work-around' is that it is Harper's (and the CPC) position that currently the rights for Gay's to marry hasn't been entrenched into the the constitution. It is currently only an 'act' of parliament.

From this position, it would only take another act to reverse the earlier decision. Of course then in time someone would take the issue to the Supreme court to seek a ruling on whether it was a right to be protected. That is why I think that he made the statement he made.

A point though, not really related to the SSM issue.

I don't understand why people (conservative's) aren't trying to corner Martin over the not withstanding clause. He has stated many times that he won't override a 'right' by invoking it. What is he to do about the delayed Supreme Court of Canada ruling that basically claims that a Canadian (as far as I recall, Quebecers are still Canadians) has the right to access private health care (using his/her own money or insurance) to be able to receive timely healthcare.

I think that this is a perfect way to Martin in the corner and shut him up!

Am I missing something here or is the brain-trust for the CPC saving this one for later?


11:01 PM  
Blogger OttawaCon said...

I wouldn't entirely say it is safe, because I think there is more play in the Supreme Court reference (not a judgement, but an opinion) than most Canadians realize.

That being said, Harper did put a stake in the ground tonight.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Fred but constitutional law is obviously not your strong point.

Read Egan and then read the reference. Parliament is sovereign. Section 1 applies.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Bryan G. Cowell said...

Well, first I'll say that a reference is a binding opinion of the Supreme Court.

The fact is, the only thing the Supreme Court said was that the legislation was compatible with teh charter, not that the legislation was required to comply with a charter right. In that way, Ferrethouse is right. However, now that the legislation has been passed, and it was passed in the context of making SSM a charter right. As such, it is unlikely that any bill to overturn the current law would not survive a charter challenge, which would almost certainly come about.

I agree with the original post, Harper's announcement tonight means that SSM is probably here to say.

11:29 PM  
Blogger HisHighness said...

Hmmm, for some reason the phrase "Read my lips, no new taxes" kept leaping to mind when I heard Harper say that.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Shameer Ravji said...

Nice try His Highness, but your puppetmaster Paul Martin has no credibility on anything he says these days so Harper and Bush Sr. are more credible at making promises and living up to them then Mr. Dithers.

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don;t know what kind of fools paradise that you live in but Harper and virtually al of the CPC is committed to killing SSM. If you think Harper is in favour of it or that SSM is safe then you are silly beyond words. Harper hates you and people like you. You are in the wrong party.

12:08 AM  
Blogger Shameer Ravji said...

Don't swallow that kool-aid all at once anonymous otherwise you might end up choking on your own rhetoric. Btw., cowards such as yourself and terrorists love to work anonymously as well.

12:22 AM  
Blogger eugene plawiuk said...

You are right and I say this from the Left. I came to the same conclusion from both the debate and the scrum comments by Harper. I have linked to your comments at Same Sex Marriage is here to stay
Now will Paul Martin get the message...somehow I doubt it...he will still want to flog a dead horse. Expect it in the English language debate tonight. However be prepared for the gnashing of teeth and rending of cloth from the homophobic religious right once they catch on. So shhh lets just keep this our little secret.;)

5:51 AM  
Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own said...

You know, Harper has also said that even if he manages to get the votes to change the marriage act again, he will still respect the marriages of gay couples who have been married under the current law. And that is why the Supremes will NEVER say that taking same-sex marriage away would be constitutional.

Even if you believe that the Supremes would overrule the rulings of 8 different appellate courts and rule that the opposite sex definition of marriage is constitutional (which I don't, but it's the only thing opponents of SSM have to hold on to anymore, so let's accept that point for argument's sake) I don't see how the SCOC could EVER rule that it is consistent with the Charter to have one group of gay couples who are legally married, and a second group of gay couples who are barred from getting legally married. That would be an inequality that I just don't think they could get around (even if they wanted to, which I don't think they would anyway...).

Stick a fork in this. One way or another, it's done. And congratulations to all my gay friends, and all gay couples from coast to coast.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Vek said...

Bryan G. Cowell, how does passing it make it a charter right? They didn't change the charter, they passed a law based on a false presumption about the charter. So unless they have changed the charter, it still states the same thing that is stated before.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Gary said...

I don't understand why the SSM crowd believes that shoe horning a bill through parliament without a free vote on SSM "enshrines" a right. In the same way that the GST can be rolled back the SSM can also be rolled back. The SCOC will have to agree with a parliaments right to govern. On the issue of equality between those alrady with a SSM the SSOC will defer to the fact that it was not the will of the people that conformed this but only the arrogant Liberal mindset of Paul Martin whose only interest, I beleive, is to enshrine his right to another term, not the brader intersts of Canadians. After all, only 35% of 55% who voted (18%) agree with him.

12:22 PM  

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