Tories drop opposition to same-sex marriage
convention Saturday afternoon.
“To see those results come in, to see the party so overwhelmingly agree that two consenting adults should have the right to marry is incredible,” said Joseph Heap, one of the sponsors of the resolution.
The vote followed an intense debate in policy workshops Friday and on the floor Saturday with some social conservatives arguing any leadership candidate who supported it would automatically lose their vote.
That didn’t faze candidate and MP Maxime Bernier, who spoke in favour of the motion from the convention floor.
“It’s about freedom and respect. It’s about us and telling Canadians that you can love who you want and that you can be in love,” he said.
The resolution is not consistent with Conservative principles of faith, family and community, argued Manitoba MP Ted Falk.
“This motion is an attack on our values and principles,” he said.
Others argued it will drive away the party’s socially conservative base, though one self-proclaimed social conservative from a B.C. riding disagreed, telling the convention floor he saw it as a workable compromise.
The motion also adds to the policy book support for religious organizations to refuse to perform unions or allow the use of their facilities for events that are incompatible with their faith and belief.
“The most important thing we need to remember is we’re not redefining marriage here,” said Natalie Pon, one of the resolution’s sponsors.
“We’re just taking out a definition that is out of date and out of touch.”
The vote was a culmination of 2½ days of introspection and intense debate among Conservatives at a policy convention that was aimed at healing some of the wounds festering since last fall’s election defeat and figure out what’s next.
“It’s a demonstration of the maturation of our party,” former Tory cabinet minister Peter MacKay said of the vote.
“We’re clearly recognizing the law, the realities of people’s lives, and I’m heartened by the very open transparent way in which we dealt with this issue.”
Conservative MP Maxime Bernier (left) hugs delegate Natalie Pon as she celebrates the vote to eliminate opposition to same- sex marriage from Conservative policies at the party’s convention in Vancouver.