Express your support for equal marriage to:
Express your support for equal marriage to:
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insulting ... I'm tired, as a gay man, of this kind of innuendo and insult."
Read letters to Stephen Harper
The Coalition For Marc Hall includes:
Canadian AIDS Society
Advocacy - Letters
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, 2006 the Conservative Party formed a minority government
in Canada, vowing to revisit the issue.
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.
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.
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.
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.
October 23, 2002 (updated Apr. 16, 2004)
"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."
Ottawa - 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.
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.
Read the parliamentary record of Harper's apology (he still claims his slur had no relationship to sexual orientation).
April 24, 2003 (updated June 27, 2003)
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.
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).
1. Write a letter to the Durham Catholic District School Board. Be sure to address it to "All Trustees," as follows:
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: