September 18, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 12  

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Moral issues for the people

A vote was held in Parliament this week asking MPs to uphold the traditional definition of marriage. That is, marriage being between one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others.

The motion was put forth by the Canadian Alliance in an effort to embarass the governing Liberals who are attempting to legalize same-sex marriages. In 1999, the same motion was put forward and was easily passed by a majority of Parliament, including most Liberals, thereby upholding the traditional definition.

On Tuesday night, the same motion was defeated by a slim majority - 137 to 132 - with only 53 Liberals voting in favour this time. This means Parliament does not agree with the traditional definition of marriage. It also means the Alliance succeeded in making the Liberals look like hypocritical, wishy-washy fools.

The issue of same-sex marriage has been a hotly debated one across the country lately. Earlier this year, courts in British Columbia and Ontario made same-sex marriages legal in their provinces. The federal government decided not to appeal these ruling and rather has set about drafting its own legislation making these unions legal across Canada.

Whatever your thoughts are on same-sex marriages, one thing is clear. When it comes to moral issues like this, it is not the place of Parliament or the courts to decide what Canadian find to be moral, even though advocates of same sex marriage feel the issue isn't morality, but rather rights.

Rather, these issues should be taken directly to Canadians in the form of a referendum and left for them to decide. MPs - whether for or against same-sex marriage - have been saying time and time again they are voting based on their constituents views. The voters in their ridings have been expressing their views - mostly in the negative - to their representative. But are they really?

Is it really possible for one person to know how the 100,000 people they represent really feel on a specific topic? Can they really be listening to their constituents if they have received only 50 phone calls on the issue?

The truth is MPs are voting based on how they personally feel about the issue. This is based mostly on their religious or moral views, as this is far from a black and white legal issue. In some cases, including Jean Chrétien and his cabinet, it is about leaving a legacy (or a mess for Paul Martin).

Let the Canadian people decide what they find to be moral or not. It should not be left up to 301 individual who claim to be voting based on the views of Canadians, when realistically we know they are not. Canadians can decide for themselves what they deem to be moral or not. It should not be left up to the courts or even MPs.



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