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Same-sex marriage issue put to bed

Jason Unrau
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 18/06) - OutNorth President Simone Fournel hopes the Canadian government can get on with more important matters following the defeat of a motion to revisit a 2005 law allowing gays and lesbians to marry.

"It never should've come back to the fore but I'm happy to see there was sense in the house (of commons)," said Fournel. "There's still not a consensus in the country on the issue but (from the vote) it appears the majority have accepted it."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared the 175-123 result "decisive" and more Members of Parliament were in support of same-sex marriage than in 2005 when MPs voted 158-133 to re-write the traditional definition of marriage.

In the North, the issue was a contentious one. Prior to the passing of the Liberal bill legalizing same-sex unions across the country, a heterosexual couple intervened in a lawsuit against the territorial government when two gay men were seeking the right to wed.

Senator Nick Sibbeston also voiced his opposition to the Liberal bill, referring to homosexual behavior as "unnatural" and in conflict with Dene traditions and values.

In an interview with Western Arctic MP Dennis Bevington before the recent vote, Bevington said input he received from constituents on the matter were divided. "I've been lobbied on from both sides, one to re-open the debate and one demanding the debate not be reopened," he said.

The New Democratic Party voted against re-opening the debate as did the Bloq Quebecois. The Liberal and Conservative parties allowed their members a free vote on the issue.