Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke and Bill Siksay, who led this fight many years before. Bill Siksay taught me a lot because it was in the same sex marriage debate that Bill Siksay's speech on giving young queer kids a sense of hope really struck home. It made me realize the importance of standing up to vote.
When I said I would vote for those rights, I was targeted. The diocese in the region I represent told me that I would be denied communion in the church that I worked in, that I helped the kids in, that I ran the choir in. My children stopped going to church because of the attacks from the pulpit. A press release was sent out by the diocese to have me defeated in the next election if I did not change my vote.
However, I believed that the vote and standing up for individual rights was important. I never talk about that time at all, but I tell it here because what made me come through that period so strongly were the so many religious people who said that they believed in gender and gay equality and believed in caring for each other, the priests who stopped their cars on the streets and hugged me, the nuns who called me, the ordinary lay people who said that we could be better than being fearful. I went back to my riding after that period expecting this supposed blowback but it was not there. People told me I had done the right thing because when we stand on conscience we always stand on solid ground.
I would like to ask my hon. colleague what kind of message she thinks the bill will send to the next generation of young people who need to be affirmed. That is the role of what we are doing in Parliament. We are standing up and saying these young people are valued, they are loved, and they have a place in the heart of Canadian society. What does my colleague think about the symbolism of what we are doing?