We realize that you may not have had the opportunity to closely follow the Committee debate up until this point, so we are enclosing some briefing materials we have prepared for the Committee, in particular a letter summarizing the impact of the unanimous decision last Thursday of the BC Court of Appeal that it is unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the equal right to marry.
In particular, we would draw to your attention the following key points:
Only same-sex marriage will fix the unconstitutionality. As the Court noted, “the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples … is the only road to true equality for same-sex couples. Any other form of recognition of same-sex relationships, including the parallel institution of registered domestic partnerships, falls short of true equality.”
Religious freedom is not threatened. Those religions that want to marry same-sex couples will be able to do so; those religions that don’t want to marry same-sex couples won’t have to.
The Canadian public supports this. A majority of Canadians favour extending marriage to same-sex couples (Leger, 2001; Environics, 2001). In a July 2002 poll commissioned from Pollara by the Liberal Party of Canada, the government pollster Michael Marzolini noted that support for same-sex marriage is highest amongst young Canadians and is expected to continue to increase.
We appreciate your support on this important issue. It would be very helpful if we were able to connect, even for 5 minutes, before tomorrow’s meeting. I may be reached on my cellphone at 613-291-5187.
With sincere regards,
Director of Advocacy, Egale Canada
cc: The Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, PC, MP