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Canada legalizes gay civil marriage

Alberta’s Ralph Klein and Stephen Harper have to suck it up.

Oh what a glorious day. Barring any last issues, Canada will be the fourth country to make it legal, following the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.

The last four hold-outs, according to — Alberta, Prince Edward Island, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories — will then strike down their traditional marriage laws to accommodate same-sex civil marriage. One of the adament holdouts, Canuck wingnut Alberta Premier Ralph Klein backed down on this last week, accepting the inevitable. Conservative Stephen Harper is still railing about bringing it to a public vote if he ever comes to power.

Canada’s same-sex marriage bill could be signed into law as early as today after it receives royal assent.

The bill was passed by the Senate, 47-21, in a late-night vote Tuesday, a couple of days ahead of schedule. Three of the 95 sitting senators abstained. Parliament passed Bill C-38 in late June ending years of heated debate.

As the debate on the legislation dragged on, Liberal senators threatened to invoke closure and call a snap vote. But the debate ran its course with the last word coming from Liberal senator Ione Christensen who read an e-mail from a Yukon constituent.

You have no idea what a difference it makes to the human spirit to know that you are treated equally under the law,” Christensen said.

There was fierce opposition to the bill from the Conservative Party, religious groups, and even members of the government’s own ranks.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has promised he won’t let the issue rest. He says he’ll bring back the same-sex marriage law for another vote if he becomes prime minister. “There will be a chance to revisit this in a future Parliament,” Harper said last month. “Our intention is to have a free vote.”

Thanks to Canadian House Blender Cat for the pointer (and for following this whole ordeal so closely).

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding