I am a dreamer. I take pride in that. I am a dreamer in terms of what the country can be. Following that member is not my kind of dream.
I want to also make reference to the fact that religious freedoms have been protected. The Supreme Court has stated:
...the guarantee of religious freedom in section 2(a) of the Charter is broad enough to protect religious officials from being compelled by the state to perform civil or religious same-sex marriages that are contrary to their religious beliefs.
Concerning the debate about whether the feds have the jurisdiction to do that, in my home province of Ontario the government has already taken action and it is law at that level. That protection is clearly there 100% in Ontario. I know other legislation is being looked at across the country as provinces adhere to their Supreme Court rulings.
Let me also talk a bit about the notion of separate but equal, a compromise, which is often put by the members of the official opposition. We have seen this before. We know what happened with our neighbours to the south when they tried separate but equal with the school systems as a compromise approach to having to deal with their federal court, which ordered that separation discontinue. It made the case that separate was not equal.
One of our own courts, the British Columbia Court of Appeal, has said:
marriage...is the only road to true equality for same-sex couples. Any other form of recognition of same-sex relationships, including the...falls short of true equality.
There is no compromise on these rights. There is no nice, safe little political ground to go to where we can appease everyone. This is one of those where we have to stand up and state where we are. The notion that there is a compromise is not upheld in law. From a practical point of view, I do not see how one can say there are two tiers of rights in the country. We either have rights or we do not. Bill C-38 will allow all Canadians to say, “I have my rights”.
In closing, the young people of Canada will ask, what is the big deal? The big deal is that we are not passing this as easily and quickly as we should. Fellow members of this place believe Bill C-38 deserves to be law because all our constituents deserve their rights. We not only have that opportunity; we have that responsibility. I intend to cast my precious vote in favour of my constituents and their rights.