Canadians Choose Equality over Extremism: Election Increases Support for Equal Marriage in Parliament

Monday, July 26 2010

Toronto—Canadians have overwhelmingly rejected the extreme views of Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party and have instead voted for parties that embrace the Charter and will respect the human rights of gay and lesbian Canadians.

“Yesterday was a great day for equality,” said Alex Munter, Co-Chair of Canadians for Equal Marriage. “Canadians have overwhelmingly voted for parties committed to equality for all Canadians, including lesbian and gay people. Now Parliament needs to move forward with equal marriage legislation. One-quarter of Canadians still cannot access equal marriage, and they must be put on an equal footing with the rest of us.”

“Canadians got the message that the Conservative Party is dominated by those with regressive Reform Party values,” said Laurie Arron, Political Coordinator for Canadians for Equal Marriage. “Canadians soundly rejected those values as being anathema to the kind of society people want.”

“Support for equal marriage in Parliament has increased,” added Mr. Arron. “The loss of a handful of supportive MPs was more than compensated for by the election of NDP and Bloc MPs who support the Charter and support equal marriage for same-sex couples. It’s also heartening that the only Conservative elected in the Greater Toronto Area, Belinda Stronach, supports full equality for lesbian and gay people in all laws. Clearly there is no political advantage in opposing equal marriage for same-sex couples. In fact, the results of the election show that MPs who supported equal marriage for same-sex couples did better than those who opposed it.”

“Many Conservative candidates outside the major cities attacked incumbents for their support of equal marriage,” continued Mr. Arron. “All but 6 supporters were re-elected. We are thrilled that supportive MPs like Andy Scott, Yvon Godin, Paul DeVillers, Andy Mitchell, Peter Adams, Paul Macklin, Sue Barnes, Lynn Myers, and Andrew Telegdi were all re-elected.”

“Incumbents who had opposed equal marriage suffered many defeats,” said Cicely McWilliam, Outreach Coordinator for Canadians for Equal Marriage. “Twenty-one MPs who opposed equal marriage were defeated. These include Liberals like Defense Minister David Pratt, Agriculture Minister Bob Speller, Heritage Minister Hélène Scherrer, John O’Reilly, Murray Calder, Ovid Jackson, Robert Lanctôt, John Herron, and Carmen Provenzano. Conservatives defeated include Democratic Reform Critic Ted White, Rex Barnes, and Andy Burton. Defeated independents opposed to equality include Jim Pankiw and Larry Spencer. Also noteworthy was the clear rejection of regressive values demonstrated by the near defeat of John Reynolds.”

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