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Canadian Gay Marriage Bill To Die May 19

It’s not good news at all, though take solace in the fact that gay marriage is legal in much of the country. (

Canada’s minority government is expected to be toppled next week and with it same-sex marriage legislation. Prime Minister Paul Martin announced Wednesday that he has scheduled a vote on his government’s budget for May 19. Loss of a budget vote is considered a loss of confidence in the government and would force an election.

If the government loses the vote next Thursday, I will seek the dissolution of this Parliament,” Martin told reporters following a caucus meeting. The earliest date for an election would be June 27. The Liberal government has been on life support for months – mainly the result of a political scandal involving allegations of kickbacks, payoffs, and judicial appointments to party hacks.

Earlier this week the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebec held a dress rehearsal for the defeat of the government. In a key vote the rightwing party and the separatist party teamed up to defeat the measure 153-150. If as expected, the Liberals expire next Thursday, all pending legislation would die with it.

The same-sex marriage bill passed second reading in the Commons earlier this month. Committee hearings mean it could not return to the House for a final vote for weeks. It would then need Senate passage and royal assent. “There’s a growing consensus the current government is in its final days,” Gilles Marchildon, the executive director of national LGBT rights group Egale told Wednesday. With an election on the horizon public opinion polls are divided over who might win. A Decima Poll shows the Liberals would return to power, but a Gregg Poll shows it would be the Tories. Both polls, show whoever wins they would form another minority government.

A new Liberal government would most likely quickly reintroduce the same-sex marriage bill. But, a Conservative government is pledged to fight gay marriage. Conservative leader Stephen Harper has proposed legislation defining marriage as between a man and a woman but allow for civil unions.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding