OTTAWA -- It was fought in courtrooms, in legislatures, in street protests, and one of the most turbulent debates in Canadian history was settled Tuesday with a vote in Parliament.
The House of Commons voted 158 to 133 to adopt controversial legislation that will make Canada the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.
Several Liberals marked the occasion by invoking the memory of their party's philosopher king, Pierre Trudeau.
It was the late Liberal prime minister who decriminalized homosexuality in 1969, and whose Charter of Rights and Freedoms became the legal cudgel that smashed the traditional definition of marriage.
Barely two years ago the Liberal government was still fighting same-sex couples in courts across the land.
It changed its tune amid an onslaught of legal verdicts in eight provinces that found traditional marriage laws violated the charter's guarantee of equality for all Canadians.
"(This) is about the Charter of Rights," Prime Minister Paul Martin said earlier Tuesday. "We are a nation of minorities. And in a nation of minorities, it is important that you don't cherry-pick rights." "A right is a right and that is what this vote tonight is all about."
He's correct: that's exactly what it's all about. Congratulations to our gay and lesbian friends in Canada, and to our friends around the globe as you (incrementally) finally achieve acceptance and equal protection of the law! Details here from Canada.com.