Ottawa, Canada, Jul 19, 2005 / 22:00 pm
The Canadian Senate has passed Canada’s same-sex marriage bill late Tuesday by a vote of 47-21; three senators abstained in the late-night vote. Governor General Adrienne Clarkson is expected to give the bill royal assent today, the formal process that officially makes the bill become law in Canada.
This will make Canada the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage after the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.
The passage of the bill in the Senate brings to an end the nearly three-year national debate, which saw dozens of organizations and individual citizens express their views on the issue.
The Canadian bishops made their final appeal against same-sex marriage before the Senate hearing committee last week. They argued that the majority of Canadians are opposed to the bill and that the proposed legislation did not provide enough assurances that Canadians’ freedom of religion and conscience would be protected. They warned that same-sex marriage would have negative and unforeseen consequences on children and on society as a whole. Their nine-page statement is available at www.cccb.ca.