Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Gay Marriage: There were two free votes, people

Okay, this might be stretching the definition of "free votes", but no more than the mandatory-homophobia party has already tortured the English language.

Last year, the Parliament of Canada decided that the word "marriage" could apply to any two people, not just a man and a wife. That vote left the Liberal Party free to vote their conscience, so long as an MP was not a member of Cabinet or a Parliamentary Secretary. Why this should matter, when other parties (like mine) whipped their MPs, has always been a mystery to me. But whatever.

Meanwhile, last month, Prime Minister Harper whipped his caucus for the Quebec nation motion. Michael Chong, obeying his conscience, resigned his position as Intergovernmental Affairs minister rather than vote for the motion.

So exactly where were the Liberal MPs who left their cabinet posts rather than vote in favour of equal marriage? The first SSM vote was actually far more free than the Quebec Nation motion - Liberals actually had the option of voting against the motion, not merely absenting themselves. And if there was no rash of MPs leaving their cabinet posts, why not? This is, we are told, a matter of grave importance to preserve our discriminatory way of life.

So either a) no Liberals were so committed to this issue they were willing to resign a cushy job that wasn't long for this world anyway, or b) it was, but all of them were voting their consciences anyway. Either way, it means holding a second vote was totally unnecessary, and in no way was it "the proper process." All it did was add to the concerns of same-sex couples that Canada might not be as welcoming the next day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anyway, since when does a whipped vote delegitimize a piece of legislation?