Canada has become the third country in the world after Belgium and the Netherlands to allow same-sex marriage. MPs voted by 158-133 to support the bill, despite fierce opposition from conservative and religious groups. The minority Liberal government led by Paul Martin drew up the legislation after courts in eight of Canada’s 10 provinces ruled a ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.
“We’re a nation of minorities,” said Martin, “and in a nation of minorities it is important that you don’t cheery pick rights. A right is a right.”
One Liberal minister resigned over the issue and other liberal MPs admit they fear a voter backlash in elections due early next year. The gay community is celebrating though. Thousands have already been wed in Canada, and people even go there from the US to tie the knot. American President Bush is pushing for a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriages in his country.