National Newswatch is carrying a link to a Star article: "Liberals Will Have Free Vote on Gay Marriage".
Andrew Coyne's National Post editorial is also highlighted. He endorses a true free vote, even though he is a self-proclaimed "long-time supporter of gay marriage"
...I was for gay marriage before gays were -- I'd say the Lifesite version of events was closer to the mark. Parliament is entitled to decide any matter it pleases; on "divisive" issues, it is more or less obliged to. (The Star's "spectrum" would presumably exclude the 38% of Canadians who told a Strategic Counsel poll this week they want the law permitting gay marriage scrapped in favour of the traditional definition.)
(Golly gee! A supporter of SSM who still thinks that Lifesite is a credible source of information! Who knew?)
..But the Supreme Court, whose views on that score count rather more than either of ours, has yet to decide the issue -- in fact, it pointedly refused to do so when asked -- and while it is highly likely the court would rule any attempt to restore the traditional definition of marriage was a violation of the Charter, until they do so no one can say with certainty.
...Putting the matter to a truly free vote would send an important signal: that the 40% or so of my fellow Canadians who do not feel the same way as I and my liberal friends do about gay marriage are not pariahs or bigots, but on the whole are decent people with legitimate concerns that are entitled to be represented in Parliament.
Thank you Mr. Coyne for that bit of non-partisan sanity.
I truly do believe that an actual free vote could satisfy the concerns of many Canadians that democracy was somehow circumvented by Paul Martin. I don't expect the motion to pass, but at least the "people" will have had some kind of representation in this debate.
On a personal level, I feel that anything that strengthens the family unit is a positive step. Whether or not gay marriage will do that remains to be see. Certainly monogamy is preferable to promiscuity.
From a purely strategic POV, Stephane Dion would be wise to listen to the voices of cultural minorities in Toronto. He may lose their support if he doesn't allow a free vote.
Update: He is!! Dion to Allow Liberals Free Vote!
Further Update: Conservative M.P. Harold Albrecht just gave an awesome speech tonight! I wish he was my M.P.