Mr. Speaker, first I would like to say that until 1999 and in the years immediately preceding, we were covered in our definition of marriage by the common law. In fact, superior court decisions at that time were upholding that definition. I do not have them here and I do not have time to quote them, but there were decisions such as the heterosexual definition of marriage being upheld.
In my view, both the courts of the country and the government were in contempt of Parliament, because in 1999, the party of which I was a member at that time, proposed its motion which said that marriage is and shall continue to be defined as “the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others” and that Parliament should take “all necessary steps” to preserve that definition.
When the courts ruled opposite to that, somebody should have said, “Whoops, the court cannot do that”. Yet the government--and I say it did so in contempt of Parliament--failed to carry through on a vote that carried with a huge majority in Parliament by failing to challenge those court decisions. It should have, it could have and it chose not to. The Liberals were sitting on their duffs and they failed the country. That is why we are in this morass now.
The member suggests that the bill should be withdrawn. I agree with that. He said the courts should continue to make the law. I disagree with that. I believe very strongly that this place, right here, where the people are represented by members of Parliament, should have the ultimate say in the law of the land and the courts should have the role of enforcing the laws made here.