Some clarification on the same-sex marriage debate


Iqaluit Pride and Friends of Pride would like to commend Nancy Karetak-Lindell for her position in the parliamentary vote on Bill C-38: The Civil Marriage Act.

Ms. Karetak-Lindell’s letter of April 13, 2005, in which her reasons for supporting Bill C-38 are presented, is among the most clear and poignant discourses I have seen on the issue of same-sex marriage and the necessity of ensuring minority rights and equality in Canada.

It is disappointing, however, that all parties entering the public debate on same-sex marriage have not exercised the same careful scrutiny of their facts and arguments. I say disappointing, not because of the end opinion expressed, that is, agreement or disagreement with same-sex marriage. Every individual is entitled to weigh the issue according to their values and beliefs and reach their own conclusion.

Rather, I say disappointing because there has been incorrect information contained in some of the arguments presented to date. As a result, the energy and resources that might have been devoted to meaningful debate must now instead be devoted to fact clarification. To this end:

1. Bill C-38 pertains only to civil marriage. That is, the recognition of two persons as legally married in the eyes of the state. Religious marriage is, and remains, the jurisdiction of religious institutions. Religious institutions are under no obligation to marry same-sex couples, a protection in accordance with that of religious freedom under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
2. Iqaluit Pride and Friends of Pride has not criticized religious institutions that have chosen not to extend marriage to same-sex couples. We respect that this is the prerogative of the religious institution and, provided the decision is not accompanied by an agenda aimed at propagating homophobia or limiting civil LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered) rights, is really none of our business.
3. Pride events are held annually around the world in June. The key message of Pride is that each and every individual is entitled to live a life of dignity, respect, and equality. This message extends beyond the LGBT community, and Pride celebrations welcome and include anyone who wishes to be part of celebrating human diversity. The remarkable growth and success of the Iqaluit Pride and Friends of Pride Picnic over the past five years is testament to the extent to which the values celebrated at Pride are consistent with those of Nunavummiut, and we again thank everyone who has attended and supported this event.

The passage of Bill C-38 through the House of Commons does not, of course, signal the end of discussion on same-sex marriage. Iqaluit Pride and Friends of Pride believe that respectful debate is an important component in addressing any social issue, and we look forward to participating in the ongoing dialogue on same-sex marriage.

Should anyone wish to contact us directly, comments or questions are always welcome at

Stephanie Hawkins
President, Iqaluit Pride and Friends of Pride

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