Mr. Michel Gauthier
Mr. Speaker, the questions my colleague has raised are interesting ones.
As far as the rights of homosexuals and of those whose religious convictions oppose gay marriage are concerned, I will say that one person's religion must not become another person's law. Everyone agrees on that. We have the deepest respect for those whose religious convictions cause them to oppose same sex marriage. Nevertheless, it has never been our intention in any way to oblige any religion or religious belief to perform religious marriages. This is about civil marriage. No religious denomination must be pressured into having to perform same sex marriages. This decision is up to them, it is their right, and I agree with that.
Moreover, a motion on this has already been presented and supported by us. We would be open at any time to the addition to the bill of provisions stating that no religious denomination shall be pressured or in any way obliged to celebrate or authorize marriages between two persons of the same sex.
This is a civil matter. We respect all religious denominations and their members and we want their rights to be respected. We just do not want their religion to become the law for others. It is as simple at that.
As far as our support for the closure motion is concerned, it is simple. It is our firm conviction that those who are watching us now, or have followed our actions throughout the year, are a bit impatient to see us pass the pieces of legislation we will be called upon to vote on. No one wants to see Parliament drag on needlessly until August at the cost of $35,000 an hour. I think people want to see us settle these matters once and for all.
That is why we believe that, as an exception, it is acceptable for us to be able to vote on the bills after a regular debate. This is unusual, I know, but the intention is not to take away anyone's right to speak, only to limit the time of the debates that we are going to be engaged in here. Extension until the end of June seems to us reasonable and sufficient. That is all.
Subtopic: Extension of Sitting Period