Canada Legalizes Same-Sex MarriageMonday, July 26 2010
Canada is now the fourth country in the world to have legalized same sex marriage, after the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.
The issue split the Liberal party, with the Cabinet minister for economic development in Ontario resigning over the bill. However, it was supported by most members of the Liberals, the Bloc Quebecois and other allies, and the legislation passed easily.
Canada's opposition Conservative Party and religious groups lobbied strongly against the bill, and Conservative leader Stephen Harper has threatened to revisit the question if his party is ever in power.
The legislation puts Canada on a quite different course to its powerful neighbour to the south. In the US, President George W. Bush is seeking a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Hundreds of foreigners, including Americans and Israelis, have visited Canada for civil unions since gay marriage was first allowed in some provinces in 2003.