I wrote previously on an almost identical issue, but that which needs to be said generally needs to be said again.
Apparently Conservatice Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to re-open the debate about gay marriage. At present, it is legal for same-sex couples to get married in Canada. This is a good thing for precisely the same reasons that it is good that couples of different races can get married: it is a simple requirement within a just and equitable society. The fact that homosexuality makes some people uncomfortable is no excuse whatsoever for discrimination. Likewise, the existence of certain traditions about what marriage has meant to some people must not preclude a societal definition that is blind to arbitrary factors. Particular churches can decide for themselves what kind of unions they want to bless and what kind of ceremonies they want to host, but under the law there must be equality and the protection of minority rights.
I am entirely confident that we will look back upon this issue in fifty years time the same way we look back on racially segregated schools today. That is to say, we will see it as a matter where governments took an astonishingly long time to accept a policy that is obviously a moral imperative. Canada’s legal history with regards to homosexuality is certainly not a sterling one. As recently as 1967, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Everett Klippert could be jailed as a ‘dangerous sexual offender’ simply on the grounds that he was likely to engage in consensual homosexual sex with adults. He was still in prison until 1971: two years after the Trudeau government decriminalized homosexuality. (See the CBC Timeline)
As regards the Harper government, this is indirectly a positive development. His only hope of getting a majority government in the next election is to prove that the Conservatives can be trusted with one. People are rightly distrustful, because of exactly the kind of political currents that have led to this announcement. Now, we just need the Liberals to clean themselves up quite a bit, get a strong new leader, and turn themselves back into the best option Canadians can hope for at the federal level.