Canada just became the third country to legalize same-sex marriage. The Netherlands and Belgium are the only other two nations that allow gay marriage nationwide.
Bill grants same-sex couples same legal rights as heterosexual couples
Canada’s House of Commons passed landmark legislation Tuesday to legalize gay marriage, granting same-sex couples legal rights equal to those in traditional unions between a man and a woman.
The bill passed as expected, despite opposition from Conservatives and religious leaders. The legislation drafted by Prime Minister Paul Martin’s minority Liberal Party government was also expected to easily pass the Senate and become federal law by the end of July.
Martin praised Tuesday’s vote as a necessary step for human rights.
“We are a nation of minorities,” Martin said. “And in a nation of minorities, it is important that you don’t cherry-pick rights.”
There are an estimated 34,000 gay and lesbian couples in Canada, according to government statistics. Before the measure passed, gay marriage was legal in seven provinces.