Mr. Speaker, I wish to share my time tonight with the member for Thornhill.
I am very happy and pleased to be able to rise tonight on this debate. The hon. member for Calgary Centre has put forth a motion for the consideration of the House that the institution of marriage is and should remain the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others and that parliament will take all necessary steps to preserve this definition of marriage.
Let me clearly state to the House, to the people of Canada and most especially to the people of my riding of Erie—Lincoln that I support the motion without hesitation.
The institution of marriage is clearly and unequivocally the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. This definition has been appropriate and has served us well in the past. It is appropriate and serves us well now. It will continue to be appropriate and serve us well in the future. There are no exceptions, no qualifications and no limitations. The statement is clear and concise. It is the union of two persons of the opposite sex.
Indeed, this position of the federal common law goes back to the 1866 British case of Hyde and Hyde v Woodmansee. This case has been consistently applied in Canada. This long-standing case simply states that no marriage can exist between two persons of the same sex or between multiple wives or husbands. This is the definition that has been acknowledged and accepted by the citizens of the country and by the courts. Yes, Mr. Speaker, by the courts.
Let us consider the Ontario case of Layland and Beaulne where the applicants sought to use section 15 of the charter of rights to bring a change in the commonly accepted definition of marriage. The court soundly and firmly rejected their arguments and reaffirmed the long-standing definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
The government has no intention now or ever of changing the legal and long-standing definition of marriage, or of legislating same sex marriages. Those who would suggest otherwise only serve to foment unwarranted fear and divisiveness.
Canada faces no social problem more important than the strengthening of a family, reducing the number of births outside marriage, cutting the rates of divorce and coming to the aid of children disadvantaged by broken homes. Every measure must be taken to reinforce and revitalize the institution of marriage, real marriage between men and women, mothers and fathers, lasting for life. The hon. member's motion is one step in this process and he has my support.
Same sex marriages do nothing to advance the position of family. Same sex marriages are the antithesis of family. The same sex marriage issue has come before the House previously and I and the House have unequivocally rejected the concept. It is unacceptable and will not and cannot be tolerated.
Hopefully the motion before the House today will clarify the position of the House once and for all. I encourage all members to support it.