Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Legal and Constitutional Affairs
Issue 22 - Evidence
OTTAWA, Thursday, July 14, 2005
The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, to which was referred Bill C-38, respecting
certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes, met this day at 9:07 a.m. to give consideration to the
Senator Lise Bacon (Chairman) in the chair.
The Chairman: I call the meeting to order. Honourable senators and witnesses, I would ask you to rise and observe
one minute of silence for our friends from the U.K.
Honourable senators then stood in silent tribute.
We will resume our study of Bill C-38, respecting certain aspects of legal capacity of marriage for civil purposes.
As a panel, we will hear from Dr. Rubenstein, Senior Scholar at St. Paul's College at the University of Manitoba,
Ms. Dichmont and, from REAL Women of Canada, Ms. Landolt, National Vice-President. Welcome. Ms. Dichmont,
Ms. Diz Dichmont, as an individual: Senators, thank you for inviting me to appear before the committee. Please
accept that prejudice will not be a factor in any opinions and concerns that may be expressed. I grew up in a country
where bitter prejudice was rife and from a very early age revolted against such feelings and loathsome reactions to ones'
I have worked with grossly deformed, hideously grotesque patients suffering from long-term leprosy; with heinous
criminals in prison systems, and other unattractive human beings. Having been taught that anyone and everyone, even
the seemingly repulsive people whose behaviour patterns had no appeal, had intrinsic value and deserved my respect as
a fellow human being, I have assiduously sought people's positive traits, even through singularly unpleasant
characteristics and I have always been able to find some endearing feature. I have made this a steadfast rule of conduct
in my life. This being the case, I do not appreciate it when even in an official letter I am accused of being prejudiced and
discriminatory when, as one of the marriage commissioners who felt uneasy with being involved in conducting same-
sex marriages, I was required to resign my position. For seven years I had been happy with offering the desired services
in that role to some 50 for more couples, some from our own province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and some from
other parts of Canada, the United States and Europe. It was a joy to be of service to people from many walks of life,
while at the same time augmenting my sadly inadequate pension.
May I quote from my letter of resignation and subsequent letter to the provincial Minister of Justice about some of
my deep concerns? I will not read the quotations in full because of time constraints. I will mention some excerpts.
Let me state clearly that I do not in any way criticize homosexuals. Indeed, their chosen lifestyle saddens me as
they dismiss the norms and mores of time immemorial and virtually all worldwide cultures, faiths and civil codes.
In fact, I wish them well.
As one goes back through the millennia in history, we find that peoples and civilizations that espouse such
patterns as norms subsequently faded from the scene, often by tragedy. It makes my blood run cold and it seems
that we are now beginning to regress rather than progress in many ways in this country as we change our mores
and even legislation to accede to minority pressures, although it is fully recognized and acknowledged that the
will of the majority would not endorse the actions. Are we seeking to be avant-garde or are we, in fact, being
The incredible haste that was displayed last month, once the court decision was made on the subject of same-
sex marriage, gives one pause to wonder about our respect for law and its value. I refer to the flouting of the
normal time requirements in regard to the issuance of a marriage licence and also the time normally and legally
required after receipt of the licence by the commissioner prior to performing the marriage ceremony. It would
seem that those time constraints were not waived for some extreme health emergency nor other dire extenuating
circumstance, but merely to satisfy the wishes and whims of the parties... Bending of law, willy-nilly, for the sake
and satisfaction of a couple of people, concerns me deeply.
If I may explain the time factors, the law of the province was that you had two days to get a marriage licence and the
licence had to be in the hands of the commissioner or minister for four days before the ceremony was conducted. The
court ruling came down on Tuesday afternoon, and the wedding ceremony was conducted about five o'clock on
Thursday afternoon, completely flouting the laws of the province.
Further, if by a stroke of a pen, the legal Solemnization of Marriage Act, 1974, can be changed now, what
assurance do we have that by the same token and almost perfunctory means that laws regarding incest and
polygamy could not be changed by the same means and as easily in the future? This would surely bring about
further eroding of the rock foundation of stable and ethical society, the nuclear two-parent, two-sex family,
would it not? Does this auger well for our social fabric? I think not.
While those who offer this service in a religious setting, of whatever faith, are permitted to have personal
convictions, concerns and conscience, such a privilege, or is it perhaps a right, is not allowed for civilly appointed
At the very least, does that not almost presuppose that any civil appointee is expected or perhaps even required
to be devoid of scruples?
In my letter to the Minister of Justice, dated February 7, I said:
I fully understand that as a civilly appointed officer or, for that matter, merely the law-abiding citizen, I should
uphold the law. However, I feel very strongly that my right to freedom of conscience and conviction has been
denied and, in fact, this cannot really be justified and no one else has benefited thereby. The service that a small
minority is demanding is impinging on the rights of a very large majority.
Further in the letter,
Could it be that in the undue haste that seemed to trigger knee-jerk reactions to accommodate the minority,
the law could have been more sensitively and yet legally and effectively applied by other means?
On television recently, I noticed that a lesbian who had apparently been the chief proponent of changing the
law in regard to marriage in Newfoundland said that she planned to apply for appointment to the commissioner
as she felt that members of the gay community would prefer to have a fellow gay official to conduct the
ceremony. I fully concur that this could be the case. However, in fairness and working on the principle of what is
good for the goose, would that not apply equally to the majority of couples, namely those in the straight
community? Would they not prefer one of their own to conduct their marriage ceremony?
It seems to me that the need of equality of service being offered could have been met, and at no increased
expenditure to the government, by having two lists of provincial marriage commissioners, one from each group,
from which all couples seeking official recognition of their relationship could make their choice. Is this not
paralleled by provision of bilingual services to differing language groups, which does not of necessity require that
each civil servant be fully bilingual, but that service in alternate language be available, albeit not necessarily by
the same individual? Both sides of society could be served and those involved would be able to choose which
commissioner they approach to solemnize the ceremony.
It seems passing strange to me that although lip service is given and assurance repeatedly stated that religious
officials would be permitted to have scruples, this right is denied to civilly appointed officials. Is there not a
dichotomy here as well? Are civil appointees expected to be void of concerns, conscience and personal
Further in the letter,
Does this not establish a precedent for a two-tiered legal system? A minority, it seems, is allowed a flexibility of
the law, which is denied to the majority of the population. Is this providing equality of service and recognition of
rights for all? It would seem that the law must be upheld in regard to following the court decision, but the same
law can or may be waived as a matter of convenience and personal whim when it comes to the issuing of licences
and conducting marriage ceremonies.
While there is repetition of some points in these two quotations, it was requisite in order to point out another major
concern, which has been underlined by the doggedly determined forcing through the House of Commons of Bill C-38.
It seems evident that there was and is a hidden agenda — perhaps with conspiratorial undertones — to impose the
changed definition of marriage on the unsuspecting Canadian public.
Presented as a requirement of equality, laws have been broken by the powers that be in order to ensure that the
demands of a very vocal and even at times violent group of gay activists, in contrast to the majority of the homosexual
community, be foisted on the country.
Gay activism historically started in Germany during Hitler's regime under the umbrella of the disco scene. It has
grown in intensity and even in violence through the years, camouflaged by a variety of fellow travellers to the point
that no major demonstration by objectors and even anarchists is without the presence of the gay pride flag being
One need but see the television coverage of rampaging crowds, which all too often are violent — even at Gleneagles
most recently — to observe this phenomenon. Albeit masking their requirements that all society conform to their
demands. It is their way or no way. It seems to predominate the thinking and actions of such extremists.
It is a sad day that a supposedly democratic government, such that we have had in the past or at least have
purported to have, has bent over backward to accommodate the demands of a small, noisy minority to the detriment
and the will of the vast majority of Canadians of the straight or gay persuasion. Is that not contrary to even basic
elementary school civics and the definition of democracy?
Are we moving into a period of suspended animation of democracy in this country? Has the legislative power of
government given way to the judicial process? Parliament supposedly makes the law of the land and courts uphold it.
Has this principle been set aside?
New drugs require extensive field tests before approval. The construction of new dams requires an environmental
impact study and statement. Where are the equivalents for this dramatic change of natural mores and principles?
A full report of the study of the social impact of equivalent changes, some sadly very negative, in the Netherlands
and Belgium should, at the very minimum, be available and made known to Canadians, who should then be able to
voice their support or rejection of such far-reaching changes to our social fabric and traditional way of life.
Even at this late hour of one minute to midnight, surely it is not too much to ask that this courtesy be extended to
our citizens. Our future hinges on the social engineering that is being introduced in a tragically high-handed way.
We appeal to the chamber of sober second thought to uphold the treasured traditions and principles of our nation
and its people. You have a vital part to play in the history of Canada.
In the name of the Supreme Being, God, Jehovah, Allah or whatever you perceive a force greater than yourself to
be, may you not forfeit this opportunity and privilege for paltry party politics.
Ms. Gwendolyn Landolt, National Vice-President, REAL Women of Canada: It is a great pleasure to speak to you
today on Bill C-38, a bill that is of fundamental importance to the future of our country. Bill C-38 proposes to change
one of the great constants across time, culture and faiths, that is, the definition of marriage as defined as the union of a
man and a woman.
English, American and European law, with the recent exception of the Netherlands, Belgium and, last week, Spain,
have all confined marriage to the union between a man and a woman. This is also the position taken by the European
Court of Human Rights and the European Commission of Human Rights. In addition, many UN treaties, such as the
UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is the international standard of rights, as well as several other
human rights treaties have recognized that the legal status of marriage and spousal relationships applies exclusively to
married opposite-sex couples.
A reasonable person should then ask why marriage defined as a man and a woman only has remained such a
constant throughout time, been given such intense protection by all cultures and religions and been reflected in human
rights treaties. The answer is that the traditional definition of marriage serves as the adhesive that holds a society
together. Changing the definition of marriage destroys that adhesive and leads to the undermining and ultimate
destruction of society. That is why Bill C-38 is so unacceptable to a majority of Canadians. There are many reasons it is
unacceptable. First, same-sex marriage results in decreased marriages. An analysis over a 15-year period of the
recognition of same-sex relationships, whether legalized by marriage or other equivalents, such as in Scandinavian
countries, has found that these changes have led to a marked decline in marriage, along with a greatly increased
proportion of children born and raised out of wedlock.
It is beyond dispute that children thrive best in the opposite-sex family environment where they can learn gender
identity and sex role expectations from the biological parents. These children do far better academically, financially,
emotionally, psychologically and behaviourally. We know this because Statistics Canada has told us so. They
conducted the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth study of 23,000 Canadian children and youth, the
results of which were released in 1996 and 1998. The study found that children thrive best in two-parent families.
Even without same-sex marriage, some young people today regard marriage as just a piece of paper. Granting
virtual marriage status to same-sex couples seems like it should be a numerical gain for the institution of marriage, but
in reality few same-sex couples actually apply for marriage, and those who do divorce at a higher rate than
heterosexual couples. Meanwhile, the overall trend among heterosexual couples is away from marriage, and the result
is a decline in the institution and a decline in children born in the best environment, which is with a man and woman,
their biological parents.
Our organization is a women's organization nationally dedicated to the protection of women's human rights and
those of their families, especially their children. We must make clear that children are not status symbols for couples
nor used to further a political agenda. Children are human beings who are owed responsible, loving care and dignity in
their own right. Therefore, their best interests must be given priority. However, due to pressures, some jurisdictions
have ceased basing adoption and foster care on the best interests of children. Instead, focus has shifted to the supposed
right of adults. This is an enormous concern because comprehensive control studies indicate that children are at far
greater risk of harm if raised in same-sex relationships. The reason harm is caused to such children is because same-sex
unions are not equivalent to opposite-sex unions, and these differences cause the harm.
The differences causing harm to children include factors that have been carefully documented by studies and are
referenced in our brief on pages 23 and 24. I would be grateful if the members of the committee would look at the
summary in our brief of the research that has been done that indicates the damage that will be caused to children raised
in same-sex families. Same-sex relationships have a much shorter period of duration, roughly 1.5 years. Even
homosexual researchers agree with that figure. There is a high rate of infidelity in same-sex relationships.
We all know that sexual fidelity is axiomatic to a stable marriage, but fidelity is not part of same-sex relationships,
even in those relationships that are supposed to be committed. Sexual actions outside of that union are accepted and
are not regarded as detrimental as they are in heterosexual relationships.
There are increased mental health problems within the homosexual community. This is also indicated in research by
homosexuals. There is increased risk of suicide and increased substance abuse, to which homosexuals themselves
admit. Homosexuals experience a significantly reduced life expectancy because of their lifestyle. Studies done by
homosexual researches show that homosexuals experience a higher level of violence.
Same-sex parenting influences children's sexual orientation, and there is a much higher incidence of sexual
interference with children by same-sex parents. Like it or not, that is what the research shows.
It is acknowledged that there are studies that purport to establish that same-sex parenting is equivalent to
heterosexual parenting. However, experts in psychometrics and empirical research in psychology have extensively
reviewed the so-called supportive studies in favour of same-sex parenting and have determined that such studies fail
scientific standards and that the conclusion that there are no adverse consequences for children due to the sexual
orientation of the parents is unjustified.
This was confirmed by the Attorney General of Canada in arguments before the Ontario Court of Appeal in 2003
on the same-sex marriage issue. The Attorney General submitted evidence indicating that studies supporting
homosexual parenting were based on unreliable research and flawed methodology and, as a result, provided a tenuous
basis on which to set public policy.
I am well aware that the Canadian Psychological Association has said that there is no problem. They have forsaken
science for political expediency. The Canadian Psychological Association should be embarrassed and humiliated that
they are not adhering to their responsibility to children and society by honestly stating what is happening to children in
Same-sex marriage also leads to other relationships demanding marital status. The characteristic that defines same-
sex partners as a group and as couples is not belief or biology but behaviour. Sexual and sex-like behaviour is not an
inherent personal characteristic such as race or gender, nor is it an exercise of conscience like religion or speech.
Homosexual behaviour is not comparable to race as a basis of marriage regulation since race is irrelevant to the
capacity to marry. However, heterosexual behaviour is directly related to the fundamental purpose of marriage laws
that regulate sexual behaviour and protect the mores that define the core of identity, boundary, structure and order of
society and, most important, the raising of children.
In short, skin colour is a benign, non-behavioural characteristic, whereas sexual orientation is a human behaviour
characteristic. Comparison of the two is clearly not valid.
Moreover, if the guiding rule to marriage is behaviour, then there can be no valid, reasoned or principled argument
to dispute other sexual relationships from the definition of marriage, such as bother and sister or father and adult
daughter. I note that, of course, Bill C-38 says, No, no brothers and sisters cannot marry. That is just fine, but that is
subject to change. If the federal government can change legislation that has been there since time began, that marriage
is a man and a woman, and change it to two persons, anything can happen.
We know the Minister of Justice says, ``Oh, no, no, that is criminal law, too, and we cannot change it.'' However, if
this government can make the revolutionary change in the definition of marriage by opening it up to two persons, there
is no reason why it would then be incapable of making further amendments through legislation at a later date to have
two loving couples, regardless of their relationship to one another, whether brother-sister, father-daughter or
We know that the Criminal Code has been amended many times. For example, we know that prior to 1969, all
homosexual acts were prohibited. That was changed in the Criminal Code. Laws on pornography, abortion and
prostitution have all been amended over the years. It seems clear that the definition of marriage can and will also be
changed to expand to other relationships if this legislation is passed into law.
The truth is, by keeping the label and the legal status of marriage, but changing the meaning and concept,
legalization of same-sex marriage necessarily involves rejection of what marriage means and has meant for millennia.
Indeed, it has been replaced by private choice and personal intimacy. The legalization of same-sex marriage entails a
radical rejection of marriage and re-definition and replacement of marriage means everything and includes anything
that means nothing.
I would like to give you a quote from one of the leading writers and thinkers in the U.S. promoting homosexuality.
Professor William Eskridge, a prominent U.S. homosexual advocate states:
The gay experience invokes the reconfiguration of family, de-emphasizing blood, gender and kinship ties and
emphasizing the value of interpersonal relationships.
That is not what marriage is about. Marriage is about a union of a man and a woman, open to children, and the
creating and raising of these children.
The other problem, apart from the detrimental and horrendous effect on family and children of Bill C-38 is the fact
of its horrendous effect on religious freedoms. Both the preamble and clause 3 of Bill C-38 state that,
3. It is recognized that officials of religious groups are free to refuse to perform marriages that are not in
accordance with their religious benefits.
We all know that religious beliefs and freedom of religion are matters of provincial jurisdiction. That was reiterated
by the Supreme Court of Canada in reference case of December 9, 2004. Any reference to religious freedom in this bill
is totally without substance; religious groups are not protected by this legislation.
The point should also be made that religious freedom is not restricted to who can or cannot marry anyone.
Religious freedom is much broader; it is teaching in the schools; it is the use of religious properties; it is the
interpretation of religious text. All of those will be affected. We have already seen the writing on the wall.
I have followed every one of the decisions and in every case when homosexual rights have come in conflict with
freedom of religion, the Supreme Court has ordered the trumping of homosexual rights over religious rights. I refer to
the Trinity Western University case, the Brockie case, and the Mark Hall case to name just a few.
Religious freedom is already restricted and how much more so when we have this legislation coming through when
public policy will recognize and legalize the same-sex sexual behaviour and patterns and agree that it should enter into
the term ``marriage,'' which it is not equal to in any sense.
Why is there this demand for legalizing same-sex relations into marriage? We should take a careful look at that. We
have, for example, a statement in an editorial from a homosexual magazine, fab, May 5 to May 18, 2005. This is what
the homosexual community says:
The gay marriage movement in Canada has been spearheaded by a handful of lawyers and a few homosexual
activists who most queers couldn't name if their lives depended upon it.... There has been no mass gay movement
supporting same-sex marriage here in Canada.
We have to say we know according to Statistics Canada 2003, that 1 per cent of the Canadian population,
approximately 310,000, is homosexual. Of this number, according to the 2001 census, only 0.5 per cent of same-sex
couples cohabit in Canada. Since so few same-sex couples wish to legalize their unions by way of marriage, the
important question that everyone should be asking is why, since same-sex relations are so different in values, structure,
practice and longevity from legally married man and woman relationships, why are homosexual activist's — not the
general homosexual community — demanding legal marriage for their partnerships?
According to testimony before the House of Commons justice committee on same-sex marriage, Bill C-38, on May
12, 2005, a justice official stated that there have been about 3,000 same-sex marriages performed in Canada in the past
two years of which approximately 65 per cent to 70 per cent were Canadians. That means that only 1,950 same-sex
marriages were performed for Canadian same-sex couples and it would appear that very few are taking advantage of
The effect of legal marriage for same-sex partners forces the law and public policy to realign marriage and family to
accommodate very few numbers who wish to participate in legal marriage. This bleaches out the central features of
opposite-sex marriage that now provides cultural affirmation, support and encouragement to married couples who
make the tremendous sacrifice to give birth to and rear children, which is of such crucial importance to the future of
Opposite-sex marriage is also the affirmation of the unique bonding that arises from a heterosexual relations that
serves as a bridge between past, present and future generations. The deconstruction of opposite-sex marriage leads to
the unravelling of society.
Public benefits should not be awarded to promote personal or special-interest agendas. Public laws are intended to
protect and promote public interests, not private lifestyle preferences. Legal marriage is a public institution established
to achieve public purposes, which is to encourage the birth and the raising of children; it is not meant to promote
The children of Canada, the future of this country, are at stake because of the fact that Bill C-38, which has been
brought forward in such tremendous haste, without such circumspection that is required, that has been pushed through
by all sorts of flukes and parliamentary procedures and manoeuvres. That is detrimental.
It is not that we do not like homosexuals, nobody cares what they do, with whom and why. We do care about the
future of our country and we do care about our children. That is what is at stake with Bill C-38.
Dr. Hymie Rubenstein, Senior Scholar, St. Paul's College, University of Manitoba, as an individual: Honourable
senators, I hold a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Toronto. I recently retired from the University
of Manitoba, in the Department of Anthropology at the rank of full professor. I am currently a senior scholar at one of
the colleges at the University of Manitoba.
One of my research interests has always been kinship and family life. The debate about whether Canada should
legalize marriage between two persons of the same sex has, as far as I know, neglected one critical feature: namely, the
absence of fully equal same gender marriage anywhere in the traditional world.
Since the June 10, 2003, Ontario Court of Appeal decision abrogating the common-law definition of marriage as the
voluntary and lawful union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, and reformulating it as the
voluntary union for life of two persons, I have scoured the ethnographic literature for cross-cultural justification for
Some might say that introducing descriptive material from other societies, especially pre-industrial ones,
unnecessarily exacerbates the confusion that already surrounds the redefinition of marriage in Canada. That is not
so. Just three other countries — Belgium, Holland and Spain — have recently legalized same-sex marriage. Only if we
blindly subscribe to the illogical and narrow conceit that we are continually at the end of culture and history can we
ignore the lessons of other times and other places. More particularly, this government's hasty but radical
transformation of an age-old institution makes it difficult to assess same-sex marriage's long-term public policy and
social welfare implications.
Still, we can look back to the past and across to other peoples and other places for some clues about what the future
may hold for us in this critical area of public policy.
My field of academic specialty, cultural anthropology, has amassed an enormous body of material from thousands
of past and present societies and has much to offer to the great Canadian same-sex marriage debate. Among other
things, looking at the ethnographic record tells us under what conditions societies permit same-sex marriage. It also
reveals how and why same- and opposite-sex marriages resemble or differ from each other in form, content and
Most important, looking at marriage from a cross-cultural perspective helps us evaluate whether same-sex unions
have any adverse effects on such critical issues as human survival and reproduction.
I may say here that I only received an invitation to appear before you — and I am honoured to be here — on
Monday morning. I made my longer written submission on Monday afternoon. I assume it has not been translated yet
and is not available to you, but I can comment on it.
I see you do have it. It is kind of you to have done it so quickly.
Senator Prud'homme: So that people get the message, I want to repeat what I have been saying since 1970, that
witnesses in Canada do not need to present their briefs in both languages. This is a fallacy. A Canadian can come here
and speak only English or only French, and can introduce their brief only in French or only in English. That is their
right. It is our duty to let the machinery take care of everything else, so that everyone is treated equally. We take a lot
of acrimony away from people who misunderstand what bilingualism is all about. Your right is to make your
presentation in English only. I assure you as French Canadian, I will be the first one to stand next to you if someone
thinks you have not done the right thing.
Mr. Rubenstein: Looking at marriage from a cross-cultural perspective helps us to evaluate — and this is key —
whether same-sex unions have any adverse effects on such critical issues as human survival and reproduction.
There is abundant evidence that biological same-sex marriage — that is between individuals who are biogenetically
male or female — is indeed allowed for some people in some societies under some conditions. That is prior to the
Dutch case and other European and Canadian examples. These people who are allowed to marry nearly always belong
to different socially constructed genders. Where they belong to the same biological sex and the same socio-cultural
gender, as in a few examples of women marriage in Africa, the relationship never involves erotic release. This means
that same-sex marriage along the lines of the Canadian equal marriage model is an institution that no known
traditional society has ever invented or adopted. In other words, it is a very recent, very modern, perhaps a post-
For example, wherever male-to-male marriages are recognized and publicly sanctioned, the following conditions
hold. First, one of the partners is either older or of superior rank to the other. Second, one or both partners are what
the psychiatric literature refers to as ``voluntary or opportunistic homosexuals.'' Third, the types of erotic activities
allowed are closely circumscribed. More specifically, only one of the partners, the bio-cultural male, achieves regular
sexual release in activities that mimic sexual intercourse between biological males and females that can and do satisfy
Sexual activity among same-sex female spouses is even more strictly circumscribed and is universally tabooed
between the married partners themselves.
I assume that Mr. Cotler would say that that this is irrelevant because he seems to suggest that sex is irrelevant to
marriage. At least, that is my reading from a quote that I read in The Globe and Mail this morning from Denise
Rudnicki, his communications director, who said, ``Bill C-38 has nothing to do with sexual behaviour.'' Perhaps one of
you can enlighten me on the meaning of that comment.
Though many western homosexuals, especially European males, also practice restricted forms of carnal release, it is
unlikely that most same-sex spouses in Canada would acquiesce to such discriminatory restrictions on their behaviour.
It is unlikely that Canadian homosexuals would accept the near-universal cross-cultural requirement that one of
partners in a homosexual marriage accept or embrace a measure of gender reassignment, becoming a boy/wife or
female/husband. Canadian homosexuals are demanding full equality of conjugal treatment.
Not only do these sorts of gender transformations reaffirm, even celebrate the primacy of traditional male-female
sex and gender roles, they make a mockery of the notion of equal marriage. In fact, my conclusion from a review of the
cross-cultural literature, most of whose exotic and erotic case studies are so well documented and accepted by
anthropologists that they are cited in nearly all introductory level textbooks, is that equal marriage is unknown in
traditional societies. This tells me that same-sex/same-gender marriage is maladaptive.
This assertion is based on the anthropological notion that most of the long-established core customs people practice,
especially those like marriage that are found in all or nearly all societies, are adaptive, meaning that they enhance
group survival and reproductive chances at least within the context of the specific physical and social environments in
which they occur.
When it comes to marriage, the universality of husband-wife unions, on the one hand, and the complete absence of
forms of same-sex marriage that are identical or nearly identical to their opposite sex counterparts, on the other hand,
suggests that in the course of human biological and cultural evolution, marriage between males and females has been
highly adaptive while same-gender marriage was universally viewed as culturally inconceivable or was so maladaptive
that it was either weeded out by social selection or was never institutionalized long enough to survive historical or
If these assertions are correct, this means that we may be playing with fire by further weakening an already anaemic
institution. Conversely, from a cross-cultural perspective, there is much more empirical and supporting theoretical
justification for allowing polygamous unions, group marriage, incestuous marriage, and even what in Canada would
be considered involuntary pedophiliac marriage than there is for institutionalizing same-sex marriage.
First, one well known survey of 862 of the world's traditional cultures found that a majority — 83 per cent — permit
a man to be married to two or more women at the same time. Second, several well-known societies, ranging from
traditional Hawaii to Inca, Peru to ancient Egypt have prescribed brother-sister marriage for members of the royal
families. Third, many peoples have allowed, even arranged, marriages between mature, sometimes elderly, men and
pre-pubescent girls. For example, Muhammad, the founder of Islam, one of the world's great religions, is believed to
have consummated his marriage to a six-year old girl when the child reached the age of eight.
In sum, this means that of all the queer marital customs human beings have managed to invent or adopt, the
Canadian and western European model of equal marriage is not one of them. Rather than succumbing to the myopic
and ethnocentric political correctness of the moment, we would do far better to stand back and ask ourselves why this
Senator St. Germain: This situation, without question, is complex, and if we study the history of sexual behaviour, as
Dr. Rubenstein has, it becomes even more complex.
One of my main concerns is the moral aspect, but I do not see the moral aspect as any different from the point of
view of my faith. Misbehaviour is misbehaviour. If you do not live by the teachings of your faith, if you are
heterosexual or homosexual, it does not matter.
The big issue here is the children. Dr. Somerville and Dr. Young pointed out in previous hearings that we have not
considered children in the issue of same sex marriage. The concern that many of us have is how this legislation has
evolved through the system. It is now at a point where proper study cannot be given to the issue of the impact this will
have on children who end up in these situations.
Dr. Rubenstein could you elaborate further on what you feel the impact would be on a child in a homosexual family
of two men or two women?
Have you done any research on that subject? Is there any data that you know of that could assist us in this area?
Mr. Rubenstein: I have not done any research as such. I am familiar with the research in North America and
Western Europe. It is sparse, it is contradictory, and it is only coming out because this is a fairly recent phenomenon.
You need a generation to look at long-term effects of these sorts of issues.
Again, from a cross-cultural perspective there has been debate among anthropologists about the meaning of
marriage because of the variability I have indicated. There are dozens of overlapping definitions. Most anthropologists
recognize that one of the primary functions of marriage is the not just childbearing and reproduction but the
reproduction of legitimate offspring. The goal is to produce legitimate offspring recognized by society who will
inherent from one or both parents, extended family, the lineage or the clan. This inheritance connects to the issue of
socialization in terms of gender roles and that sort of thing. Children and reproduction have always been key to the
definition of marriage from a cross-cultural perspective.
I do not want to get into sociological or psychological studies in Western society because that is not my area of
expertise. There is evidence and some of it is anecdotal.
I will make a general comment. The argument made by the same sex side in terms of the marriage debate is that
there are many very bad opposite-sex parents and many terrible kids in long-term, stable, monogamous unions; they
are delinquents and psychologically damaged and so forth. Then there are many kids in same-sex unions, even maybe
unstable ones, who turn out to be fine, outstanding citizens. To me that is no argument. You cannot take those
particular cases. You cannot take micro data and use it to contradict macro analysis.
In general, we know it is best for children to have both a mother and a father. I do not know who would deny that.
That generalization does not contradict what I said earlier, that there are many cases of really bad parents among
same-sex people versus opposite-sex people. We have to be very careful about logic and scientific evidence in these
Senator St. Germain: There are bills going through our Senate now about people trying to find out who they are and
where they came from. How significant is this in the development of a society? This could theoretically be threatened
with new technologies and the various aspects of not identifying parents. Do you have a comment on that?
Mr. Rubenstein: Again, from a cross-cultural perspective, just to turn your question on its head a bit, adoption is
widespread in many societies. Normally the adoptive parents are close relatives of the natural parents through death,
desertion or whatever. All those adoptive relationships are patterned on the real thing. They are all patterned on
biological relationships between parents and children. People in different societies use different images, such as blood,
in terms of inheritance. Inheritance of substance from ascending generations is absolutely critical in every society that I
am aware of. There is one possible exception, and that is the Trobiand Islanders. They have no idea of conception and
believe that when a woman gets pregnant it is a ghost that impregnated her and the mother is just the receptacle for
nurturing the child until it is born. Every society, however they define nature, recognizes their own quasi-scientific view
of reproduction and recognizes some natural association.
There are studies that indicate a long-known maternal instinct among females of all mammalian species. We know
for certain, that it is very strong among human beings.
We are also now beginning to understand there may be also a paternal instinct. We are getting some evidence that,
for example, men suffer from post partum stresses as well as their female partners.
Whether children have this natural, inborn desire to know their parents, I do not know. It may be there. It may be
something that, in terms of natural selection, evolution, survival, was very adaptive for human beings. A desire to want
to know their parent today through adoption may be an outcome of that instinct.
Senator St. Germain: Sir, many of us believe that there has been decay in our moral values. In the early 1960s, when
I was a policeman, we were shutting down places because they had strip bars. Since that time, strip bars have become
accepted in our society.
In your studies, and you have done extensive studies, does anything we are doing in this country equate to any
decadent societies of the past?
Mr. Rubenstein: Anthropologists would have a difficult time dealing with your question. Decadence is in the eye of
the beholder. We are the authors of the notion of cultural relativism, which came out of anthropology, though it has
been twisted and distorted in contemporary usage.
Cultural relativism traditionally means that if you want to understand peoples' behaviour, even their attitudes and
so on, you have to look at it in the context of their own society. You cannot take it out of that society and compare it
to our moral strictures or our forms of behaviour. It should be objective. You should try to get inside other people's
My view on morality, and I guess it is generally shared, is that it stems from practice. It is the institutionalization of
good practice. Things that people felt worked out were institutionalized
Many of the societies we study are small-scaled, tribal societies. They would have notions of decadence. Incest is
generally taboo in all human societies. I cannot think of an exception, except in cases of some royal families where it
was felt there was no one good enough outside the royal family with which to have children. You have to keep the
blood pure, as it were.
Some societies would define a union between a man and somebody considered it be a fifth cousin sixth removed as a
horrible taboo, and people would be violently punished for that. I have a bit of a difficulty with that.
My problem with this kind of legislation is that the state is going well beyond its mandate in terms of good
governance and upholding and protecting territorial boundaries, all the traditional functions of the state, in meddling
in these areas. These issues should come from the people. If they change, they should change and evolve slowly,
incrementally, over long periods of time. That is how societies have always changed for 50,000 years. We are rather
arrogant in feeling we know best about these issues in 2005. We are at a small moment of history, and this to me is a
very radical change from an anthropological perspective. It is unprecedented, although other social scientists might
differ with me on the interpretation of my evidence.
We could sit here for months and could not conjure up all the weird things people have done and invented in
different societies and different historical eras. It seems to me almost unbelievable. Why, in all this variability, can we
not find at least a handful of cases of same-gender marriage, where two individuals of the same sex married in exactly
the same way as a man and woman? Why in just a handful in the last few years have we seen this development?
Senator Milne: Ms. Dichmont, you started in the middle of a presentation. I do not really know your situation. Are
we to understand from your presentation that you were a marriage commissioner in Newfoundland?
Ms. Dichmont: Yes.
Senator Milne: Were you fired?
Ms. Dichmont: I was not prepared to take same-sex marriages. I was not prepared to be involved. I would have to
resign. I believe this happened in B.C. as well, but they had to renege on that and say that was not right. They have now
allowed commissioners to move either way.
Senator Milne: Have you resigned?
Ms. Dichmont: I had to. It was worded in such a way that if, by January 31, I had not given them my response, I
would be decommissioned anyway.
Senator Milne: You resigned before you were fired. When was this?
Ms. Dichmont: In January. The ruling came down on December 22 from the courts in Newfoundland that same-sex
marriage was to be recognized, and by December 24 the first marriage had been conducted, contrary to all provincial
regulations and timing.
Senator Milne: Was the letter you received from an official of the government of Newfoundland?
Ms. Dichmont: Yes. It was mailed the same day that the court ruling came down, because the letters were out before
Senator Milne: It appears to me that your main problem is with the Government of Newfoundland and how it has
treated you. You do realize that the federal government cannot interfere in a matter that is under provincial
Ms. Dichmont: I fully realize that, and I wondered whether our Prime Minister realized that about a month ago
when he said he would see this and that and the other about commissioners and so on. I wondered whether he was
trying to have another head-on with Premier Williams.
Senator Milne: I will leave that to the two of them. They are well able to have a head-on by themselves.
Ms. Dichmont: I do not mean to be facetious. What I am dealing with concerns the provincial government, but my
point is my reason why I would not feel comfortable in conducting same-sex marriages. I am having a problem with the
Newfoundland government. That is their knee-jerk reaction, and I am dealing with that locally. However, I have a
great big problem the whole concept of Bill C-38.
Senator Milne: I understand that. I do want to set your mind at ease about one particular matter. You talked about
laws and whether the Government of Newfoundland could change the laws concerning incest and polygamy. They
cannot be changed by the government of Newfoundland, as you know. In this bill, it says very clearly, in clauses 13 and
14, that no person shall marry another person if they are related lineally or as brother and sister or half-brother or half-
sister, including by adoption. A marriage between persons who are related in the manner described in the above clause
is void. Those laws are not being changed and, as far as I am aware, and as far as I am interested in, they will not be
changed in this country.
Ms. Landolt, what is your source of information that so few same-sex couples apply for marriage?
Ms. Landolt: An official from the Department of Justice gave the figures in testimony before the House of
Commons committee. Since the Ontario Court of Appeal decision in June 2003, there have been approximately 1,950
Canadians involved in same-sex marriage; and all the rest have been foreigners. As you know, Bill C-38 has no
residential provisions, so people can travel here from another country to get married. That is unlike the legislation in
the Netherlands or in Belgium, where people require residency status to be married.
Senator Milne: My Unitarian Church in Toronto has performed many same-sex marriages. I do not know the exact
numbers because we do not keep a count. The minister who appeared before the committee yesterday representing the
United Church of Canada said that they do not count either, but they have performed many since it became legal in
Ontario. Are you aware that about 40,000 people have signed Egale's website petition calling for gay marriage?
Ms. Landolt: Out of a population of 31 million, 40,000 is a limited number. The polls show that the vast majority of
Canadians, from the outset, have resisted. That resistance has grown, not levelled off or become more favourable. That
is significant. The longer people have to consider this, the more the polls indicate that the majority do not want this
bill. One poll showed 67 per cent, and most Canadians would like a referendum on this. It is being pushed through
undemocratically, and that is dangerous to society and democracy.
Senator Milne: Ms. Landolt, I cannot see how this has been pushed through because it has been under discussion for
many years. It was brought to the floor of a Liberal Party convention about 12 or 13 years ago. It was accepted last
year by an overwhelming majority of grass roots Liberals at the convention.
A committee of the House of Commons travelled across the country and heard from close to 600 witnesses a couple
of years ago. How many witnesses have appeared in respect of Bill C-38 in the House of Commons? The bill is not
being pushed through in any way. We are listening to you today although you applied only last week to appear before
Ms. Landolt: With respect, senator, the first legal move was made by then Minister of Justice, Martin Cauchon,
when he wrote a letter to the Commons Justice Committee in November 2002 requesting them to look at it. The justice
committee subsequently looked at but did not complete a report because the British Columbia Court of Appeal and the
Ontario Court of Appeal, who always take at least six months to hand down a decision, rapidly put the decision out in
six weeks, which the justice committee did not hear. I do not have to bring to your attention the manipulation of
procedure when 39 cabinet ministers pressured the Liberal backbenchers to vote for the bill in the House of Commons.
The procedure and questionable behaviour, including closure in the House of Commons and the Senate, could hardly
be considered a democratic process. It has not been a reflection of what people want, although it may be a reflection of
what the Liberal Party wants.
Senator Milne: Thank you for your opinion, Ms. Landolt. I have before me a printout of part of a publication called
Reality. Is this your organization's publication?
Ms. Landolt: Yes, it is.
Senator Milne: I would like to read into the record what it says:
Quebec is a dying society. Its dreams of maintaining its language and culture can no longer be regarded as
realistic. Bill 84 is simply the formal signing of a death warrant for Quebec society...
Senator Prud'homme: Am I dying?
Senator Milne: I will continue to read.
...because the bill threatens the existence of traditional families, weakens society, goes against the fundamental
law of the land and contradicts thousands of years of common wisdom, all for the sake of special interest
Do you agree with that statement?
Ms. Landolt: I have no hesitation in confirming that statement.
Senator Milne: Enough said, Madam Chairman.
Ms. Landolt: We are worried about Quebec and the culture because they will not reproduce themselves, and Bill C-
38 will exacerbate the problem. Already we have 30 per cent of Quebec couples living common law, not legally married,
and we know that is detrimental for children from data supplied by Statistics Canada. Our concern is for every
province, including Quebec, which is a major concern. We want Quebec to be part of Canada. We want its culture. We
want its language. However, we will not have it when its population is being decimated. Bill C-38 will lead to much
more destruction of Quebec, as well as the rest of Canada.
Senator Prud'homme: Thank you for the considerable sympathy you have expressed for Quebec and my French
Canadian people. I am French Canadian and a Quebec nationalist. Perhaps the only thing I should be pardoned for is
that I have always been a federalist.
Personally, I have always defended the right of REAL Women. In any case, in looking around this table, I see
REAL Women, real women like you, and that is nearly usurping the name ``REAL Women'' which is what the others
are. Was my mother not a real woman? She had 12 children, and I assure you she was a real woman. In 1944, she
fought, against my father, for women's right to vote, and she won. She voted in the election of André Laurendeau,
when my father was in the opposing camp, on the other side of the street.
My father delivered 9,500 children. Half of those mothers never paid for those deliveries; and, in many instances, the
other women paid with bag of potatoes, carrots or vegetables. That is the way it was at the time.
Personally, I would like to see more people like you in society. I believe you are entitled to grants from the
government. Sometimes in society we need a compass to guide us and remind us of certain facts. If everyone's on the
same side, I get concerned. So imagine my concern if everyone shared your opinions!
I have been in Parliament for 41 years and across Canada on many trans-Canada committees. I have heard the
predictions of the end of Canada many times, and yet Canada is livelier than ever.
Canada reminds me of a nice, old woman — apply a little make-up and she looks pretty good. Canada is doing well.
The kinds of statements we are hearing today are more sophisticated than last evening's statements. Even REAL
Women would have been offended, I hope.
We live in constantly changing times and there is always someone ready to predict the end of Canada. We went
through the flag debate during the Pearson years. I was with former Prime Minister Pearson in Winnipeg at a Royal
Canadian Legion hall where 2,000 people booed him and only seven applauded. The same people who fought so
vigorously because they were convinced that was the end of Canada as we knew it, distributed flags by the thousands
only a few years later.
I have always had great affinity and friendship — but no political friendship — for Marcel Lambert. He was giving
flags out like candy and I was smiling. He said why are you smiling? I said I just remember the speech you made when
we had the flag debate.
The same happened with the national anthem; it was the end of Canada. The same occurred during the debate over
the metric system. Then there was the death penalty; I went through it three times. In my district, 96 per cent of the
people were for the death penalty, and we managed to survive. It is the same thing with abortion. I happen to believe in
life, so you can see where I stand, but who am I to impose my views — I do not know.
Then came Meech Lake and Meech Lake was defeated. Its defeat created what some people would consider a
monster. I would say it created what we are stuck with now, the Bloc Québecois.
I think you should have more faith in people. I would not be offended if a lady like you was appointed to the Senate.
I am campaigning vigorously at the moment to have 53 women in the Senate and 52 men because the Prime Minister of
Canada has the option. It is difficult to elect women. When I arrived there was one woman in the Senate and one in the
House of Commons. There are now close to 100 women in the both Houses. I would like to have 53 women to
represent the diversity of Canada to make us reflect before we take a decision.
You are part of that reality. Therefore, I am not that upset by your statement. The only thing that makes me worry
is to hear —
Cassandre is a man of letters who always announces things.
I do not know how you translate it in English, but it is getting tiring for an old man like me to be surrounded by
Cassandras. You have to watch your language today to be correct.
Have faith. I have not taken a position; that is what is troubling me and I will vote next week. I do not know. I am a
traditionalist. I am attached to certain values, but after listening to two witnesses like the ones I heard last night, that
would be enough to swing my vote rapidly. However, I do not want to be influenced by that so I am listening gently to
your views; but I ask you not to be distressed for us in Quebec. Do not worry. We are kicking. We are doing very well.
We are doing it differently — under the Canadian flag, but differently.
There is no doubt that Quebec is a different province. What is so shocking about that? It is not dying; it is vibrant. It
is helpful to Canada. I think you have a very pessimistic approach to our survival. Leave it to us to see how we can
manage in Quebec.
I have never seen more babies where I go during the summer — but babies from multiple families. You and I were
accustomed to the old days, and I say that with all respect, because you could probably be my younger sister, but we
are close in age.
In the old days that we have known, parents had many children. I am surrounded now by children who have many
parents. It is quite difficult to absorb that, but it is a fact.
It is a pessimistic view that you have — that everyone is going to jump to go down the aisle, one dressed like a man
and one dressed like a woman.
If you do not like it, look at it like something that is on television and just switch channels if it is too tough for you
to absorb. Even for me, sometimes I think there are exaggerations; but have faith in Canada. Canada will survive
You should have been here yesterday afternoon. I even said to my neighbours, this is the new Canada. You had a
Sikh and you had the minister of a church and you had a beautiful, young, articulate lady with black skin. This is the
new Canada that many people do not like. It is the reality.
Ms. Landolt: I would like to respond. We go back a long time. I am sure you do not remember, but I first met you in
1971 when you were on the constitutional committee and you were as charming then as you are now.
Senator Prud'homme: Be careful; you may get the same answer I gave to Senator Fraser when she used that phrase.
Senator Fraser said that once in the Senate. She said your charm will not lead you anywhere. I said it led you to the
Ms. Landolt: I wanted to make the point about leaving Quebec to Quebec — Quebec is Canada. It is part of us. I
was born and raised in British Columbia and I love everything about Quebec. I think it is up to all of us to try to
I look at the facts. Quebec has one of the lowest birth rates in the Western world. Its adolescent suicide rate is the
highest in the Western world; it has the lowest marriage rate. It is troubling to me to see those figures.
I look at the facts, not just for Quebec but for Europe. In Germany and France, with the lowering of the birth rate,
they do not have enough people, and the social benefits are eroding. There are riots in Germany and France because
they are trying to decrease the benefits because there are no young people to keep and maintain those benefits. I see this
happening to all of us.
Then we see Bill C-38, which the studies indicate will make even less children be born. The best ideal, according to
Statistics Canada, is a man and a woman, and I am deeply troubled as a Canadian. Maybe I am a Cassandra, but I am
also a lawyer and I look at facts. I am disheartened by this, because it will dramatically change Canada — and Quebec,
British Columbia, Ontario and the rest of the provinces.
We only have a birth rate of 1.49 now for fertile women. That is not enough to replace us and immigration will not
solve our problem. When immigrants come in, the second generation is exactly like Canadians; they do not have
children — or they will have only one or two children. This is all troubling.
Bill C-38 seems to be exacerbating this problem. Fewer children will be born; fewer children will be born within the
ideal situation of a mother and father, and our future is at stake.
I know times change. When I went to law school, there were three women and 110 men: I just loved it, but now it is
more women than men. Times change, but some we must be realistic about the fundamental issues. I am trying to be
realistic. I am saddened and I want to say, let us look at things; let us stop and take a breath and analyze it.
Senator Joyal: I would like to come back to a legal approach. Madam, I do not think the notwithstanding clause
would be enough for you in consideration of the Supreme Court protection of sexual orientation and the rights of
access to marriage and the benefit of marriage to same-sex people. We must consider the interpretation of the Charter,
section 15 in the Supreme Court's consideration. As you know, the notwithstanding clause has a five-year life span, so
in five years from now we would have another debate of this nature.
Would it not be more appropriate to amend the Canadian Constitution and state therein that marriage is the union
of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others? Is that your solution?
Ms. Landolt: Going back to your initial comment, the decisions in the eight jurisdictions have been in the lower
courts and only applied within their provincial jurisdictions. The Supreme Court of Canada brought down a decision
on December 9 that is not binding since it was on a reference. It is interesting that the court did not deal with the issue
of whether marriage between a man and a woman is discriminatory. That was the fourth question, to which the court
did not respond. The court said that the government could, if it wished, enlarge marriage to include, but it was a matter
of social policy. The court never said it was an equality right or demanded that, under section 15, it be compulsory or
We do not have a definitive ruling on whether opposite-sex marriage is contrary to section 15. I know that the
notwithstanding clause must be renewed every five years. I would certainly accept a constitutional amendment, but
knowing Canada's long history with constitutional amendments, I think I will be long dead before any change is made.
No one wants to open up the Constitution because of the difficulties associated with doing so. Under the present
provisions of the Charter, constitutional amendments are extraordinarily difficult to achieve.
I would prefer to have the definition of marriage remain as the union of a man and a woman and let the Supreme
Court of Canada make a binding decision. If need be, we could then exercise our only option, that being the
notwithstanding clause. The Conservative Party has said that, if elected, they will revisit Bill C-38. Since Bill C-38 is
simply a law created by Parliament, it is subject to change. We will not know whether it is unconstitutional until the
Supreme Court of Canada addresses it. If the Conservative Party becomes the government in the next election, let them
reverse Bill C-38, if it is passed, and have the Supreme Court deal with the matter.
I think it is premature to deal with that at this time, because the matter is in legal and constitutional disarray.
Senator Joyal: I am surprised that you are not looking for a permanent solution to this subject. If the consequences
of same-sex life are so dire, as you and other witnesses have stated, should we not be looking for a permanent solution
by amending the Canadian Constitution? Yours is a pressure group and, as such, looks to the long term.
Ms. Landolt: An organization of which I am a part, Enshrine Marriage Canada, is currently working on that issue.
You were co-chair of the joint committee of the Senate and House of Commons on the Charter of Rights. You, of all
people, know what is in it and you know how extraordinarily difficult it is to amend the Charter. Enshrine Marriage
Canada does have a long-term plan to enshrine traditional marriage in the Constitution. However, in the meantime we
must deal with other problems.
Senator Joyal: Are you supportive of the Tory preference for civil unions, which would recognize the union of two
persons of the same sex who can have children through assisted procreation or adoption and who can be promiscuous,
and which would subject Canadian society to the same risks that you have denounced this morning?
Ms. Landolt: First, civil union is a matter of provincial jurisdiction. The only civil unions that would be acceptable
would be those that Alberta has sanctioned, that is, economically dependent relationships. They would have no sexual
component and would not mean marriage. The state is involved in marriage in order to encourage it so that more
children will be born and raised for the future benefit of the country. Civil unions without the sexual component are
totally different and are a provincial matter.
I do not think civil unions can be considered federally, because it is not part and parcel. I am not privy to what the
Conservatives think, but I do not know why they mention it, as it is not within the jurisdiction of Parliament.
Senator Joyal: Dr. Stanley Hartt, a very well known Tory and the former executive assistant to the Right
Honourable Brian Mulroney, has proposed such an alternative to marriage for people of the same sex who want to
unite their life before society.
I am struck by the consequences you draw from the promiscuity of two persons of the same sex and the fact that the
solution you advocate this morning is not a final solution. It follows from your arguments that we should ban civil
unions of two persons of the same sex in the way that the Quebec government and high profile Tories before this
committee have proposed, because civil unions entail the same kind of consequences you have described this morning.
Ms. Landolt: This is one reason our organization has not supported civil unions. However, we would accept what
Alberta and New Brunswick have proposed, that is an acknowledgement of economic dependency that has nothing to
do with sex, is order to provide support for people. However, we do not accept legalized civil unions between same-sex
couples because they are same-sex couples. You are correct; that would have the same consequences. I do not agree
with Stanley Hartt and I do not think REAL Women or many others would.
Senator Joyal: Are you of the opinion that the Canadian government should criminalize abortion considering the
declining birth rate and the numbers of abortions that are performed on a yearly basis? I am trying to follow your logic
to draw the right conclusions for the public policy of Canada.
Ms. Landolt: To be perfectly logical, over 1 million future tax payers have been lost through abortion since the law
was changed in 1969. Much of Canada's future has been destroyed in that way. I have been involved in the pro-life
movement for many years, objecting to the wilful destruction of human life through abortion.
We believe in the dignity of everyone, no matter their culture, faith, religion, orientation. However, there are certain
premises, one of which is to protect the well-being of society. We are perfectly opposed to killing unborn children, just
as we are opposed to killing the handicapped and the aged. Everyone has dignity.
Senator Joyal: Would you accept the same logic that we should recriminalize sexual relations between two
consenting adults of the same sex? It was removed from the Criminal Code in 1968 by Mr. Trudeau.
Ms. Landolt: I do not care what people do sexually in private, providing that a minor in not involved. It is irrelevant.
That is personal, private, sexual business and the state should keep out, but they should not legalize it and make it a
matter of public policy because then it is no longer a personal thing.
When a man and woman marry legally, they are making a public statement that they are open to having children if
they so choose. There is a binding agreement between generations. However, when two men or two women have sexual
relations, making it public policy means that they would be recognized as being different. I do not care what people do
privately. They can do what they like, however they like and when they like. That is their business. The state should
keep out of that and not legally recognize it. They do recognize relationships between a man and a woman because it is
crucial to the future of society. The state only has an interest in those relationships because they need children to carry
on the nation.
Senator Joyal: What is your position on adultery? Do you think that we should legislate in that regard?
Senator Cools: Madam Chairman, we are all waiting to ask questions.
Senator Joyal: We are discussing marriage. Adultery is a sexual relationship outside marriage. We have been told
this morning that there may be dear consequences to not honouring marriage. The witness understands very well all of
the issues pertaining to women. I think it is up to us to fully understand the position of REAL Women on that issue.
Ms. Landolt: I do not have to tell you that adultery is one of the reasons for divorce in Canada. Again, if people do
not want a divorce and want adultery, that is their business, but is it destructive. It is axiomatic to a heterosexual
relationship not to have adultery. It is extraordinarily difficult to carry on a marriage when one partner is in an
adulterous relationship with someone else. I do not have to tell you that.
I could care less if someone has been adulterous and does not want a divorce. That is their own private business,
unless the state is involved and says that is reason to separate them. That is up to the couple. It is not up to the state to
order them to be divorced because of adultery. It is a decision the couple makes. It is personal.
Senator Cools: I would also like to take this opportunity to tell honourable senators that Ms. Landolt, in addition to
being a lawyer, is the mother of five children. In addition, her grandfather was a Liberal minister with Sir Wilfrid
Laurier. This woman has deep roots in law.
I would like to thank the three witnesses, in particular Dr. Rubenstein and Ms. Landolt, for bringing forth many of
the questions and the important issues that seem to frighten a lot of people. In particular, I would like to thank you for
bringing forward the widespread opposition to homosexual marriage that is held among homosexuals in Canada. My
friends tell me that they do not understand why this is happening.
Ms. Landolt, you recorded a statement from fab magazine, a gay publication. At page 6 of your brief, you also
noted the strong objections of Xtra West, particularly the words of Managing Editor Gareth Kirby, who essentially
says that he wants the gay lawyers, a small minority of people, to lose the marriage fight. This has been a source of
concern for me because no real evidence has been put before us as to what homosexuals perceive as their need for
marriage or even of their wishes for marriage. I just wanted to thank you for that information.
I would also like to thank you for bringing forth the issue of the high level of domestic violence among homosexual
couples. We had similar testimony from Dr. Donald Dutton, who is one of the primary authorities on domestic
violence in Canada. This is a subject I know a lot of about because I have counselled large numbers of homosexuals in
respect of domestic violence. I thank you for bringing this forward because I believe we should give all these issues a
For years and years I did a lot of work with such families. I recall situations where a couple would divorce and one
or the other would declare that they were homosexual. The children would continue to visit with both parents, live with
one or the other, and some of those individuals in divorce then lived with their homosexual partners. The interesting
thing is they never referred to themselves as homosexual parents. Homosexuals with those children always viewed
themselves as heterosexual parents. The children always knew that the homosexual partner was a step-parent of some
kind. What I am trying to say is that new couples never viewed themselves as gay or homosexual parents. The parents
of the child always remained the mother and the father. I did a lot of work with such families. A lot of men used to
come to me — and I will be frank — because they were being threatened by the wife. The homosexuality was used as a
bartering tool to obtain larger spousal and child support payments. I did a lot of work on that front. It is something I
have a lot of knowledge of and a lot of compassion for because that homosexual parent was doing his darnedest to be a
good father against pretty adverse conditions.
At what point did that new couple become homosexual parents? I still do not understand how this happened. Even
now, with respect to this debate about two mothers or two fathers, I do not understand how it can be accomplished
because previously that other partner was always treated as ``step.'' You do not hear children saying that they have two
mothers or two fathers. They say that they have a mother and a stepmother, for example. In the case where both
parents have remarried, they would say that they have a stepmother and a stepfather. The language has been tilted
against the children. The law is actually reversing so that the relationship will no longer be a relationship of kin — in
other words, parent/step-parent — but a legal relationship. Do you have any knowledge of that situation?
One of the disturbing things to me about this entire debate is that marriage historically has been a hallowing of the
sexual union between a man and a woman because of the public interests of the reproduction of the species. The entire
debate has gone forward without the courts or anyone telling us what the sexual union is that this new regimen will be
hallowing. I have a lot of trouble with that. I have never been able to understand. You cannot ask the public interest to
support sexual activity without telling the public what that sexual activity is. I have done a fair amount of reading on
this and you are an anthropologist.
I do not believe or understand how any government can choose to impose a notion on the public that says, for
example, that the alimentary canal or other parts of the body are sexual organs.
Could you address that, Dr. Rubenstein?
This is preoccupying many minds. We all believed that if human beings wanted to swing from chandeliers for their
sexual gratification that was their private business as long as no one came to say that we believe that swinging from
chandeliers is a form of sexual behaviour that is open to every young person. It is very worrisome.
Mr. Rubenstein: That is why I was somewhat perturbed by Ms. Rudnicki's comments — I assume she was quoted
accurately this morning — in regard to the larger context. I did not hear the debate yesterday in this committee.
I suppose her response was that Bill C-38 is not about sex; it is about human rights. This is what the government has
reduced it to, that the issue is of human rights and not about marriage. It is about giving other individuals rights that
certain individuals already have.
Again, marriage in all societies with which I am familiar, including our own, gives either a restricted or a privileged
aspect of sexuality to the married couple. There are some societies in which adultery is either inconceivable or does not
exist. It has not been recorded or it is severely punished. Usually, as we know, the harsher punishment is always against
the woman who often suffers the ultimate fate.
In societies that tolerate adultery or extramarital relations there is still this privileging of sex within marriage. In
other words, the ideal arena for the expression of sexual desire continues to be within marriage even in societies where
it is permissible to have other kinds of relations.
All of my work on family and marriage has been conducted in a small society which probably only Senator Cools
may have some familiarity with, St. Vincent, in the Grenadines. I have spent, over the past 35 years, almost five years
living in St. Vincent, conducting research. For males especially there is a great deal of liberty in regard to sexuality,
single males and even married males. Sometimes or at least in early parts of my research if a man was well off it would
be expected that he have some girl friends, maybe even another family outside. This was tolerated. However, the ideal
was still sexuality within the family. Outside children over time, just as in Canada, became recognized and given
support, but this was always differential to the support, to the inheritance among lawful children. There is quite a
My research also indicated that on any index you want in terms of satisfaction within the relationship, the economic
well-being of the individuals, the education of the children and upward mobility, all of this was enhanced by marriage.
Marriage continues to have a particular meaning in Caribbean society. In many ways it is taken more seriously than in
Canadian society. It is not just a matter of romantic love. It is a matter of maturity, responsibility. In the old days,
especially, it was the ability of a man to support a wife, to give her a home, to provide for the wife and the children.
Among peasant peoples, especially, it was not expected and even somewhat frowned upon for women to work outside
of the household. They are supposed to be home with the children. I am not saying that that is a pattern that we should
consider or adopt for ourselves. I am talking about the old European pattern as well in Canadian society.
I am saying that sexuality in all societies with which I am familiar is a privilege within the marital relationship.
Senator Cools: I know a lot about Black families. As a matter of fact, my interest in fatherlessness came from my
work from what I saw in many of those families. What I am really driving at here is that this bill is telling us that
certain homosexual sexual activities are the same as heterosexual sexual activities. I know a little about the law and I
know a little about human beings and I know what happens with people.
One of the concerns brought forward to me is that eventually, since all sex is the same, we will have enormous
problems within marriages where certain partners will now demand certain sexual forms from spouses and this is
something that no one has contemplated since these sexual forms will be ``blessed'' by all of society.
If you have read the divorce law and the old case law, you could see endless cases where marriages came apart
because one or the other was demanding or expecting certain sexual activities that the other one was not prepared to
give. The law has always dealt with this because the marriage the ceremony of marriage hallowed one form of sexual
activity and there were grounds for divorce and so on. No one has asked this question.
What will happen, for example, when certain individuals are married and, in law, can now demand and expect
certain sexual duties from the partner?
I tried to engage the minister in this subject and asked just what sexual union do we bless, sanctify and approve? He
dodged the question, quite frankly. This is a very serious matter for anyone who has canvassed the divorce or marriage
law for hundreds of years.
Mr. Rubenstein: I have seen many examples, again, in terms of my work in the Caribbean, most of which has been in
small towns of less than 2,500 people. In several broken marital unions the contributing factor was that, the husband
demanded certain sexual behaviour from his wife. In all cases that I am familiar with, the man was ``bisexual.''
Senator Cools: That is a big problem.
Mr. Rubenstein: He wanted from his wife the same privileges that he had from his outside relationships and the wife
would not tolerate that and that led to the break up the union.
Senator Cools: This is emerging as a big problem in the U.S.
Mr. Rubenstein: I am not familiar with that problem.
Senator Cools: It is a problem among Black Americans.
Senator Mitchell: Ms. Landolt, I have always thought that in order to be a successful and good public policy maker,
one must be able to imagine what it is like to be somebody else. It seems to me that you and I can only imagine what it
must be like to be homosexual in this society or what it must be like to be child and homosexual in this society.
You make the point in your brief that somehow there is a correlation between homosexuality and increased mental
health problems, substance abuse problems, and increased risk of suicide. You make that point in the context of saying
that these are an argument against the homosexual ``lifestyle'' — I hate to use that word.
Can you appreciate that the reason that these problems occur might just be the way they are treated in our society,
because of the onslaught of negative and often abusive rhetoric and action against these people?
Would you not agree, therefore, that in itself is not an argument against what you are against but in fact, it is an
argument for extending in any way we can evidence to homosexual people in our society that they are welcome,
accepted and seen to be full and contributing members of our Canadian society?
This kind of brief and your perspective seems to me to send exactly an opposite message, which is demeaning and
detrimental to this group of people.
Ms. Landolt: First, you have to look at these studies. We did a tremendous amount of research and we do not pull
the facts out of the air; they are facts.
I am glad you raised the question of the problems with substance abuse and mental health. A comprehensive study
was done in the year 2001 in the Netherlands, which is certainly the most liberal and accommodating to homosexual
practices of any society in the world. They said these problems do not stem from societal pressure because no one in
this world is more open to homosexual behaviour than the Netherlands. They studied over 2,000 people. They have
seen it repeatedly.
It is argued that the high suicide rate among homosexuals is due to societal pressure. Look at the documents.
Statistics Canada finds the highest suicide rate amongst adolescents is in the province of Quebec, which is the most
open and liberal concerning homosexuality.
The homosexuals themselves in their own literature make it clear that their lifestyle is to blame. I do not have it
handy but I could send to you an article written within the past two years in Xtra, the homosexual newspaper, that
We homosexuals have to live with the fact that it is our lifestyle that is causing the problems. We were young
and cruising and enjoyed our lives, but there comes a time when we are too old and we become more involved in
I will make a point, Senator Mitchell, of giving you this documentation from their literature. Do not blame society;
blame their lifestyle, blame what they way they want to fulfil themselves. Do not say that society causes their suicide
rate, mental health rate and substance abuse. We do not. That has been disproved. I will be more than happy to send
you these references and the material.
Senator Mitchell: I would have to take exception with your statement that, first, it has been disproved and, two, that
you have facts. You have one study in one country.
Ms. Landolt: No.
Senator Mitchell: Let me go on. I am making this point.
You conclude this statement about suicide,
While unable to explain the increase in Quebec of suicide, psychiatrists do not attribute it in any way to so-
called anti-gay sentiments in that society.
There is no reference to studies there; it is a sweeping dismissal. It is something that I think is very demeaning and a
very dangerous statement to make without being able to back it up.
However, you make a point with some statement by a gay person that loneliness is one of the consequences of the
homosexual, as you say, ``lifestyle.''
I do not know how you would solve the problems that homosexuals encounter. They are homosexual. They cannot
change. You may believe they can. There is plenty of evidence that they cannot. We should be looking for ways to send
an inclusive message.
The other thing is that loneliness is one of the consequences. If we gave some evidence of acceptance of their
relationships, it seems to me that, de facto, by definition, that would address the issue of loneliness, would it not.
Ms. Landolt: It does not. The average length of time they stay together is roughly two and one half years. This is
from studies in the United States done by homosexual psychologists and psychiatrists. The Netherlands study indicates
they stay together 1.5 years. It is part of their culture, if you will, that they like other partners. That is their business.
One of the ramifications of not staying in a committed relationship, unlike the vast majority of heterosexual couples, is
that there is loneliness. They choose that lifestyle.
I know homosexuals who have different lifestyles. They do not go into substance abuse. However, the majority do
and they are creating the problems. They have a choice not to cruise. They have a choice not to take crystal
methamphetamine, that terrible drug that has been so detrimental to the homosexual culture. It sustains sexual
feelings, but it has very long-range complications. They do not have to do that, but they do because they want what
they want, what they want. That is their business. Do not blame society. Do not say we have to acknowledge that that
is okay; it is not.
Homosexuals are entitled to all the dignity and respect you are and everyone else is. We have to say, ``Fine, you have
the freedom to behave the way you want, but do not blame us if you chose that particular culture.'' If they want to have
many assignations, that is their businesses. Do not blame us.
We do know. I want to make the point that those studies are not just one study. If you look at our brief, you will see
that mammoth research around the world that confirms that this is detrimental to them.
I wish they would not get involved in all these things. I do not want to see them die. I do not like to see the high rate
of AIDS. There is a new serious component of AIDS coming out. Do you think anyone in Canada wants to see that?
We do not want it. We feel for them, too, but please do not blame society for the problems they have created
Senator Mitchell: Mr. Rubenstein, the premise of your paper is that there are no anthropological precedents for
same-sex marriages as we are contemplating in Bill C-38. At the same time, you say there are all kinds of
anthropological precedents for polygamous marriage; 83 per cent of world cultures have had polygamy.
I assume you are not arguing that that would drive a conclusion that polygamous marriage would be okay. If you
are not arguing that, how is it that you are arguing the power of anthropological precedent in the other case?
Mr. Rubenstein: I am not calling for the establishment of polygamous marriage in Canada. We know there are cases.
Again, I would appeal to anthropological reasoning that suggests it would not be something we would want to
entertain in Canada. There are difficulties if a man with many wives migrates to Canada with those spouses.
It is not something that would be, from a public policy point of view, anything that the state would want to
encourage. There is no utility to it. Indeed, most people in Canada would not want to have multiple wives for economic
reasons. There would be no benefit to them and it would be expensive. You would have to have a house in different
suburbs for each of the wives.
It is a very practical and beneficial practice in many subsistence-based horticultural societies, as anthropologists
have discovered over the years.
I am saying from a global historic and prehistoric perspective, the majority of societies have been polygamous,
including our own heritage, if we go back far enough.
I am countering the argument of people saying that same-sex marriage will usher in polygamous marriage and
people saying that is nonsense. As Mr. Cotler said, that is against the law. Same-sex marriage is against the law
currently or is not embraced by the law.
I do not think there is a fundamental contradiction there, nor is there a contradiction in incest. Many
anthropologists have been saying that we should abolish the incest taboo in western society because it has no more
utility due to birth control, genetic engineering, and we do not live in lineages and clans any more where there are
alliances between groups. It is important to marry widely and out of your family. None of that is important any more,
so why cannot two brothers and sisters marry? There is no logical, theoretical or practical reason for that not taking
Many people are trying to introduce the scare taboo here. I am saying why were all those practices widespread in
ancient times, and yet we cannot find a single example of same-gender marriage. That is intriguing for me as an
anthropologist. Maybe some societies did invent same-sex, same-gender marriage along the Canadian model and they
are no longer around to tell us why they practised that because somehow it was terribly maladaptive and they died out.
There are a couple of societies in the highlands of New Guinea where homosexuality is the preferred form of sexual
expression for men. It is taboo to women, but men will engage in homosexual congress and have little to do with their
wives. They have to resort to kidnapping from neighbouring tribes to keep their population up because they are so
committed to homosexuality. I am not saying we are going down that road. I would say there are adverse effects to
widespread homosexuality. I support Ms. Landolt.
The state should keep out of certain areas of public policy. We cannot create a perfect society, as Senator Joyal is
suggesting, that we have all of these problems, homosexuals have problems, and we have to endlessly tinker with social
relationships and re-engineer society until we produce perfection. That is really beyond belief and reason. That is not
attainable anywhere. Humans are imperfect. We make mistakes; do wrong things. We have to live with it.
Senator Chaput: We have been hearing witnesses for a number of days, and some have spoken in favour of the bill,
I would just like us not to lose sight of the fact that the bill currently under discussion proposes an extension to the
definition of civil marriage. Religious marriage remains at it is currently defined by religious institutions and will
continue to be so.
Nor should it be forgotten that Canada has some 30 religions, at least 20 per cent of which support same-sex
marriage. I increasingly see that the differences between the two views are irreconcilable, for two reasons.
The first is the vocabulary used by the two parties. The second is the conclusions that they submit to us. Groups in
favour of the bill use a respectful vocabulary and a terminology that acknowledges differences. Those groups are
prepared to support the bill so that we can work together so that people concerned will at last feel that they are part of
The groups that oppose the bill are not prepared to include homosexuals in society. They even go so far as to use a
vocabulary that suggests homosexuals are responsible for increasing the ills that currently exist in our society, such as
suicide and disease. Those groups are not even prepared to consider the fact that discrimination and intolerance
ultimately amplify those social problems.
Someone said that some people choose this kind of life for a few years and ultimately fall into it. I am a mother and
a grandmother, and I know young people who do the same thing when they are trying to find out who they are.
However, after years spent accepting their homosexuality, they find it easier to be themselves because they are accepted
within a society. Later, when they are ready to develop a lasting relationship, there is a place where they can do that.
In the other case, young people who discover their homosexuality and accept it are not accepted in society when
they want to get involved in a lasting relationship.
I now come to the differing conclusions of the various witnesses. Yesterday, one group representing 2.8 million
Canadians testified before the committee. That group told us that it was in favour of same-sex marriage and that,
based on their experience, homosexuals also want to make long-term commitments and to be faithful to their spouses.
They want to be considered as forming families.
That group — which is not to be neglected — also spoke about the support the community offered couples who had
decided to be faithful to one another and who were trying to live happy lives in society and to make their own
Your conclusion is entirely different. You said that homosexuals do not want to make long-term commitments and
do not believe in fidelity. Do you have any comments to make on these differing conclusions?
Ms. Landolt: We can only look to what happens. They can say they want that. One study indicates that less than 2
per cent of homosexual couples remain monogamous and faithful to their partner. They can say they would like to, but
it is not part of the culture. It is not part of it. You can only look at the studies. You have raised the issues Senator
Mitchell has raised.
You are suggesting that if we just accept their lifestyle, everyone would be happy and all would be well and they
would not have a high suicide rate and they would not have substance abuse. The reality is that in countries that have
done that, for example, in Belgium and the Netherlands, it has not worked out that way. Their studies, done by people
who are committed to a long-term relationship, show that it is not working that way because of the differences in
In other words, they are entitled to have any kind of relationship they want, when they want, with whom they want,
providing it is not a minor. I have said that many times. However, it is not a marriage because it is different; they are
not equal. They have a different relationship and go to it, but it is not a marriage.
They cannot have children except with outside assistance. Their relationship itself cannot create human life. When
children are brought into that union, they are different from children who are raised in a heterosexual relationship.
There is the question of gender identity, gender practises, gender behaviour and all those things they miss out on. I
cannot change that. That is the reality of it. Although I know there are many who would like to be committed, it does
not work out that way because of whatever it is in their makeup and their behaviour patterns.
They can have any relationship they want, but it is not marriage. Marriage is something exclusive to a man and a
woman. From that union comes children, and children must be our priority. Everyone knows the best interests of
children should be a prime concern in any legislation. The best interests of children have not been considered in this
legislation. It is the best interest of adults, or some adults, but not the best interests of children. That is our major
concern. That is not what is happening with this legislation.
Senator Joyal: I am looking at the time. We had other witnesses scheduled for 11 o'clock.
The Chairman: Senator Eyton is not here, so he does not want to be part of the discussion.
Senator Cools: Are we doing a second round?
The Chairman: Not unless you want it.
Senator Cools: If there is a second round, I want in. If we all do not one, I am fine.
Senator St. Germain: We have other witness.
The Chairman: I have to respect that, too.
Senator Ringuette: I am still on the first round, and I have not asked questions, although I have been listening.
I want to make sure that I understand what Mr. Rubenstein has been telling us. As an anthropologist, you have
done extensive societal studies. All of your studies have indicated a tradition in certain societies for polygamy and
incest. There is a widespread tradition. I believe you said 80 per cent.
Mr. Rubenstein: It is 83 per cent for polygamy. Polygamy refers to plural marriage. There is something called
polyandry, where a woman is married to several men at the same time, but that is quite rare.
Senator Ringuette: Your findings indicate there is an 83 per cent tradition for polygamy and incest. You seem to
indicate to that us that it would be acceptable because there is a tradition, whereas homosexuality, from your studies, is
not widespread, and therefore there is no tradition and it is not acceptable.
Mr. Rubenstein: That is not what I said. Homosexuality is indeed quite widespread in human societies. It reaches all
the way to the cases where a whole society, all of the men, are engaged, indeed, preoccupied, with homosexuality,
almost to the exclusion of heterosexual contact, and anthropologists have found cases where it goes to the other
We are interested in family and kinship, and so this core institution in society is a core interest for anthropologists.
We have always delved into the sexual aspect, often in almost voyeuristic detail. There are societies in which
homosexuality in unheard of and just does not occur. There is everything in between. It is perhaps a majority of
societies in which homosexuality does occur, but there is variability in the treatment from total acceptance and
expectation to mild amusement, to contempt, to ostracism, the whole gamut across the board.
Senator Ringuette: When you say a majority, what is the percentage? You have a distinct percentage for polygamy
and incest at 83 per cent.
Mr. Rubenstein: We are talking about marriage. We are talking about polygamous marriage and incestuous
marriage, not just incest. Incest occurs in all societies, but there are only a few in which it is accepted, and only for a
very small number of people.
Senator Ringuette: We are talking about traditional marriage. In the case of polygamy and incest, there is a rate of
83 per cent.
Mr. Rubenstein: Not in terms of the acceptance of incest. It occurs in a few documented cases, I believe even the
ancient Hebrews, and amongst a small segment of the population, the royal families or the aristocracy, for reasons of
inheritance. These were demigods, to keep the royal line.
Senator Ringuette: Your 83 per cent is for polygamy and polyandry.
Mr. Rubenstein: It is 1 per cent for polyandry.
Senator Cools: They are both polygamy.
Mr. Rubenstein: Plural marriage.
Senator Ringuette: There is an 83 per cent acceptance rate. Your finding indicates also there is a majority acceptance
rate in regards to homosexuality, all in reference to marriage. That is what you said just a few minutes ago.
Mr. Rubenstein: There is a range. There are some societies in which it is tolerated and expected, for example, ancient
Senator Ringuette: The bottom line is that all these phenomena are nothing new. In regards to homosexuality, there
is a majority, from your research. Now I really understand what you were indicating to us.
Ms. Landolt, you mentioned that you have concerns in regards to the best interests of children since marriage is
directed towards procreation and homosexual marriage is not a procreation item. If you strongly believe that marriage
is an institution that has an obligation to procreation, how, then, do you feel about a former senator and former
Premier of New Brunswick, the late Honourable Louis Robichaud, who married for a second time at 70 years of age?
There was no procreation in those marriages. By your inference, you are indicating that those marriages should not
have taken place.
Ms. Landolt: Not at all. There is no obligation to procreate. Some people do not want children and some people
cannot have children. However, the state wants you to marry to encourage the birth of children. One of the primary
goals of marriage is to produce children.
In 1999, former Justice La Forest of the Supreme Court of Canada said that procreation is one of the primary
purposes of marriage. It is the institution of marriage that we are looking at. We do not look at the exceptions. If
someone gets married at the age of 95, that is fine. That has nothing to do with the whole institution and its purpose.
Senator Ringuette: If a person gets married at 95 years, you think that is okay.
Ms. Landolt: Allow me to finish. I would like to read into the record a very important article that appeared in Xtra
West, written by Managing Editor Gareth Kirby. This is why it is different. He speaks to the homosexual culture. The
In our culture, we haven't created the same hierarchy as has the heterosexual culture. We know that love has
many faces, and names, ages, places...
We know that a 30-year relationship is no better, than a nine-week, or nine-minute fling — it's different, but not
better. Both have value. We know that the instant intimacy involved in that perfect 20-minute...in Stanley Park
can be a profoundly beautiful thing.
Senator Ringuette: Madam, there are some —
Ms. Landolt: That is what I am getting at.
Senator Cools: The witness is —
Ms. Landolt: Madam senator, I am trying to make the point about one of the primary responsibilities of the
institution of marriage as stated by Justice La Forest and others.
Bill C-38 strips us and bleaches out the relationship between a man and woman that is to preserve society. The bill
reduces marriage to comradeship or a personal relationship, not a societal relationship, which is at stake. Society has a
responsibility to care about the institution of marriage because that is one of the primary ways in which children are
born and raised. We are talking about the institution of marriage. We do not look to the exceptions of someone who is
95 years old and getting married. The institution of marriage is primarily for the purpose of raising children.
The Chairman: Your time has expired, Senator Ringuette.
Senator Ringuette: That is fine. There is no use in asking more questions. It is useless.
Senator Cools: Would Ms. Landolt be allowed to complete the quotation she was reading before she was cut off?
Senator St. Germain: It might be better if she submitted the document.
The Chairman: Do you have the document?
Ms. Landolt: I have the document but I can read it to you.
The Chairman: We will table the document and attach it to the record.
Ms. Landolt: It should be part of the record on why we are so concerned about Bill C-38.
The Chairman: It will be part of the record. Thank you for accepting our invitation to appear today.
We resume the panel sitting with Ms. Evangiline Caldwell, Coordinator, Coalition québécoise pour le mariage civil
des couples de même sexe, Mr. Jean-Paul Tremblay, Centrale des syndicats du Québec, and member of the Coalition
québécoise pour le mariage civil des couples de même sexe.
We also have Dr. Ian Kroll, a lecturer from the department of psychiatry at the University of Calgary. Welcome to
Welcome everyone. We have met together for two hours. We will hear the presentations of Mr. Tremblay and Ms.
Caldwell, than that of Dr. Kroll. We will continue with questions from senators.
Ms. Evangiline Caldwell, Coordinator, Coalition québécoise pour le mariage civil des couples de même sexe: I just want
to mention that we will be presenting in French and then will be happy to answer your questions in either French or
English. I will let Mr. Tremblay begin our presentation.
Mr. Jean-Paul Tremblay, Centrale des syndicats du Québec, Coalition québécoise pour le mariage civil des couples de
même sexe: Madam Chairman, I would like to introduce the spokespersons of the Coalition québécoise pour le
mariage civil des couples de même sexe who attended the hearings today: Mr. Jacques Tricot, our representative from
the Confédération des syndicats nationaux, the CSN; Ms. Evangiline Caldwell, the Coalition's Coordinator and
President of the Fédération des femmes du Québec; and myself, representing the Centrale des syndicats du Québec.
I am going to present the Coalition and its achievements in recent years. Ms. Caldwell will then continue with the
essential part of our brief.
The Coalition québécoise pour le mariage civil des couples de même sexe was founded in 1998. Its mandate is to
eliminate systemic discrimination against gay and lesbian couples and their families in social legislation and policies
and in the workplace.
The Coalition was at the origin of the movement that led to the passage by the Quebec National Assembly in 1999
of the Act to amend various statutory provisions concerning de facto spouses. That act recognizes the same rights and
responsibilities for same-sex spouses as for opposite-sex spouses in Quebec's social and administrative statutes.
The Coalition also joined the campaign that led the Parliament of Canada to pass the Modernization of Benefits
and Obligations Act in January 2000. That legislation amended a large number of statutes in order to recognize both
same-sex and opposite-sex spouses in federal social and administrative legislation.
The Coalition also mobilized and coordinated civil society stakeholders and gay and lesbian groups in the studies
that led Quebec's National Assembly to pass the Act instituting civil unions and establishing new rules of filiation in
That act was unanimously passed by Quebec's National Assembly in order to eliminate the last remaining instances
of legislative discrimination against us in Quebec. That act was also passed to provide the children of single-parent
families with the same rights and protections as other children enjoy and of which they had previously been deprived.
The Coalition was also co-complainant in the Hendricks-Leboeuf case involving the gay couple by that name, who
wanted to be married civilly, and the Attorney General of Canada. Their purpose was to have the Civil Marriage Act
ruled discriminatory under section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but especially to give them the
opportunity to make their commitment to each other official in public.
In addition to organizations for the defence of gays and lesbians, the Coalition includes major players in civil
society, in particular Quebec's major labour federations, most of whose members, we assume, are heterosexual.
The members of all those organizations represent more than one million Quebecers. The authorities of each of those
organizations has passed a motion in support of civil marriage for same-sex couples. They have passed motions of
support, but have become actively involved in the struggle to bring forward the legislative amendment we're concerned
with here today.
In alphabetical order, our members are: the Alliance des professeures et professeurs de Montréal, which represents
approximately 7,000 teachers; the Association des mères lesbiennes, more than 700 lesbian mothers, the largest
association of lesbians in Canada; the Centrale des syndicats du Québec, which represents 11 federations and has
177,000 members, most of whom are involved in teaching and the health and social services sector; the CSQ represents
the vast majority of teachers in Quebec, the Confédération des syndicats nationaux. The CSN represents 10 federations
and has more than 300,000 members, including the employees of the health and social services sector; the Conseil
central de Montréal de la CSN, Gai écoute, a helpline for gays and lesbians; the Fondation Émergence, which fights
homophobia and lesbiphobia, organized the National Day Against Homophobia, in Quebec, the first Wednesday in
June every year; Egale Canada, a Canadian advocacy group for gay and lesbian, bisexual, two-spirit, transgendered
and transsexual persons; the Fédération des femmes du Québec, an association of more than 800 individual and 160
association members and women's groups, the largest feminist organization in Quebec; the Fédération des travailleurs
et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ), which has more than 500,000 members ranging from the health system to the
construction industry; the Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire, 17,000 school staff members, secretaries and
janitorial staff; the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, and the Table de
concertation des gais et lesbiennes du Québec, an advocacy group for Quebec gays and lesbians, bisexuals, two-spirit
and transgendered persons and transsexuals.
As you can see, the Coalition is broad and diversified, but united in its determination to put an end to legislative
Ms. Caldwell: We've come today to tell you about the situation in Canada, but also about love. Currently in
Canada, there are eight provinces and one territory where we've achieved legal equality with regard to civil marriage.
In a rare unanimous judgment more than one year ago, on March 19, 2004, five justices of the Quebec Court of
Appeal ruled that same-sex couples in Quebec could marry, finding the prohibition to marry unfair and discriminatory
under the Constitution that governs us.
According to the Institut de la statistique du Québec, 307 same-sex couples, 182 gay couples and 125 lesbian couples,
have married. In expressing their love for each other, they have sworn to support and be faithful to each other until
death. We know that the integration of civil marriage for same-sex couples into Canada's social fabric was done with
simplicity. We also know that religious freedom is being respected because no religion that refuses to celebrate same-
sex marriages has been compelled to do so. As a result, we now have a consensus in which it is up to each religion to
decide whether or not it wishes to celebrate same-sex marriages.
That's also the position of the Coalition québécoise. I'm not talking about assumptions here, but about facts,
because this is a Canadian reality, one that we've experienced for two years now. We have undone a form of legislative
discrimination that put gays and lesbians in a position of inferiority, while respecting freedom of religion. Apart from
greater equality among citizens in Canadian society, little has changed. Civil marriage for same-sex couples is an
official and public recognition that two men or two women can love each other and make a mutual commitment and
that that romantic relationship is as valid as a heterosexual romantic relationship. Gays and lesbians, particularly those
of my generation and those that preceded us, grew up being told that they did not deserve to love or be loved. When
some of us nevertheless managed to overcome that lie and to find a beloved being, people told us that we should not
have a right to have that love recognized, celebrated and approved by our state, our government. They said that the
marital relations of gays and lesbians wishing to marry were not as true, as loving or as meaningful as opposite-sex
conjugal relations. We tried to gain access to civil marriage so that we could say we are full-fledged citizens and to
enjoy legal equality with our fellow citizens. We want to offer this public recognition of our couples to our families and
also to the children of our families. This legal equality must be the prelude to the social equality we want above all, in
order to spare future generations the human drama that a number of us have experienced and so that we can all
contribute fully, openly and happily to the society we dream of.
The Coalition québécoise pour le mariage civil des couples de même sexe recommends that the Standing Senate
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, excluding any other solution, pass Bill C-38 so that civil marriage is
accessible to same-sex couples.
Dr. Ian Kroll, Lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, University of Calgary, as an individual: I am proud to be here this
morning. Ms. Wilson is with me today.
We are happy to be here today because there appears to be a lot of misinformation on this matter. It is very
important to know what the major professional organizations understand about same-gender relationships and how
they affect countries and children. We are here today to represent those who do not have a voice, for whom you are
also responsible, that is, the children of Canada who experience hardship.
I would like to explain what sexual orientation is and the impact that misinformation and stereotypes, some of
which we have heard this morning, have on children in our society. I will then make some recommendations and be
pleased to answer any questions.
Although there are many definitions of marriage, including ``rule of thumb,'' which was the width of the stalk with
which one could beat one's wife in English common law, polygamy and so forth, I will assume that we will discuss only
Canadian marriage law.
There are many myths with regard to sexual orientation and it is important to understand that gay and straight
people coexist in all races, cultures, age groups, religions and socio-economic strata, whether or not they are
acknowledged. It is estimated that between 8 per cent and 12 per cent of the population has a predominant same-
gender orientation and that about 800,000 children in Canada are gay. That means that two to three children in every
classroom of every school are dealing with this issue, and they remain ignored.
The statistics show that in a two-tiered family of four, or a three-tiered family, 40 per cent to 70 per cent of the
population has a direct family member who is gay or lesbian; that includes grandparents, parents and children. That is
only direct family members. When you include people you encounter each day — neighbours, friends, schoolmates,
clergy and so on — it is clear that every Canadian knows and interacts with many gay people every day, although they
may not know it because these people do not fit into the stereotypes. Again, this is not a minority issue.
One stereotype is that all homosexuals are promiscuous. That is nonsense. Another is that AIDS is a gay disease.
Internationally, AIDS is a heterosexual disease, and the group most at risk of contracting AIDS is young, heterosexual
females, because they believe that they are not at risk.
It is a myth that homosexuals believe they are women in men's bodies or men in women's bodies. That is trans-
sexualism and it occurs when the brain and the body do not match. It is the result of sexual differentiation that occurs
before birth. In fact, about half of the people in this room, that being the male half, underwent a sex change before
birth, although I am sure you did not realize it. The point is that most homosexuals are very secure in their gender, and
trans-sexualism is different from sexual orientation.
Cross-dressing is another myth. Six per cent of all men cross-dress and 1 per cent of homosexual men cross-dress.
Therefore, 98 per cent of cross-dressers are heterosexual. This is something we do not hear about. It is called
transvestism and heterosexual men do it for erotic purposes. They dress up in their wives' clothing and it drives their
Another myth is with regard to pedophilia. It is great to find a scapegoat for pedophilia, but the reality is that
research throughout the years continues to show that pedophilia is overwhelmingly a heterosexual phenomenon, and it
is usually the partner of the mother, that is, the new boyfriend, who is responsible for inflicting the situation on the
Finally, there is the myth that all homosexuals are gender non-conforming or effeminate. That is simply not true. As
adults, only 25 per cent of gay men display obvious effeminate characteristics.
The next slide is an example of how ridiculous some stereotypes are. Here is Gene Kuffel appearing on the cover of
The Advocate, a gay magazine, because he was selected as the all-American male in, I think, 1997. Obviously, they did
not know that he was gay, and he became their poster boy.
What is ``gay''? ``Gay'' is normal people in regular families trying to live normal lives. We must understand that
``gay'' is part of every culture and not some group out there. I heard one of your speakers saying ``they.'' It is not a
``they.'' It is part of our world together. These are our children. They are part of the fabric of society.
The question is how did this come to be? How did gay people get into Canada?
Another thing that has been overlooked is the pre-European Aboriginal approach. This is actually consistent with
what we now understand about child development.
How many of you have children or have had children? When those kids came into the world, were they all identical
or were they a bit different one from the other? Exactly — they all came into the world with their own temperament.
This fact was recognized by the original citizens of this land. Instead of trying to fit square pegs into round holes, as we
often do in the educational process, they looked at the temperaments of these children when they came into the world.
They educated the children to use those temperaments so that they could contribute to their society in the best possible
Gay children would oftentimes be encouraged to become healers. It was their duty to raise orphaned children. The
qualities of the left and right brain working together can lead to increased foresight, which is different from a linear
thought process, where people cannot see outside of the box. When people can see outside of the box, it helps leaders
plan and look toward the future. This concept fits exactly with what we understand about temperaments and
There are good reasons why God or Mother Nature gave us gay children. The sexual component is only a small part
of what that child brings to our society. Unfortunately, these reasons are often overlooked and that child has to bear
the brunt of discrimination.
Sexual orientation begins well before birth. It is understood that sexual orientation goes hand in hand with early
memories in children as young as three years old. The developmental milestones for gay children are exactly the same
as for straight children if they are provided the same opportunities to develop. In other words, when children are
developing their sexual orientation, the period at which the straight children are developing their little crushes —
having had children you probably remember that — is the same period when gay children are also developing their
little crushes. Straight children are encouraged because this is a societal norm, but gay children are stifled. The normal
child developmental theories help to explain why from this point on, these children have problems as a result of
misinformation from adults.
Looking at these situations, it is no wonder that these children do have problems. They are five or six times more
likely to be targets of violence at school or on the way to school; two times more likely to be threatened or injured with
a weapon; three times more likely to be injured in a fight severe enough to visit a doctor or nurse; and two times more
likely to report feeling unsafe and miss school, which affects the education of our youth and increases the dropout rate.
There may be drug or alcohol use among these children to numb the pain caused by the harassment issues they must
deal with every day. Ninety-seven per cent of those are not dealt with by the teachers. These children are bearing this
pain on their own shoulders, and the adults who are supposed to be responsible are not there.
Why are there gay hate crimes? The long and short of it is that gay children and gay adults are groups that a person
can hate and still get away with it. With respect to most of the things that appear in print, if you were to fill in the name
of any other minority, it would be disgusting and we would not allow it to be said in print. It is a way to make one feel
good through putting another person down.
Interestingly, quite a bit of research has been done on why there is homophobia. The University of Georgia
conducted an interesting study. They administered a quiz to 64 young, White, heterosexual males to see where they
ranked on a scale from being okay with gay people to being homophobic. They then showed them erotic videos of
homosexual and heterosexual occurrences. The results showed that 80 per cent of the homophobic responders had a
sexual response to the homosexual video while only one third of the non-homophobic responders did.
The results of this study are important. They show that homophobic men are more likely to be aroused by watching
gay videos than non-homophobic men. The conclusion was that men who are upset by being around gay men probably
have those tendencies themselves. The thing you dislike most in yourself is the thing you jump on anyone else for.
``Methinks he doth protest too much.''
Children have to grow up in this kind of environment, where instead of being nurtured and helped, they experience
hatred from all sides. If what is happening right now were about anything else related to a child, again, parents would
be absolutely disgusted; yet the statements that affect our children and how they feel are bantered around in the media
as if they do not mean anything.
This phenomenon causes a lot of problems. It encourages ongoing physical and verbal abuse, because if this can be
done at any level in our country we can do it in school. Due to violence, these children have to hide more, which causes
delayed or arrested identity development and becomes an issue later in life. A child may develop a shell and pretend to
be straight, engaging in risky behaviour. Yes, there can be adolescent pregnancy. As we heard a couple of years ago,
some people may feel it is better for their child to be pregnant than to be gay.
As I said, there are school problems. Many gay people are harassed and many gay children do not want to go to
There may be substance abuse to deal with these problems and prostitution to justify the sexual orientation they
have been taught to abhor. Then there are the issues of depression and suicide.
It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you have to live with this hatred every day of your life, that is a
lot to put up with and predisposes you for depression and suicide.
Homophobia, bigotry, discrimination and violence start in preschool. This is not something that all of a sudden
drops out of the sky when a couple decides to get married. We are talking about societal acceptance and a place for
children as they grow up. By the time children get to school, they are already experiencing 25 incidents of harassment a
day and 97 per cent of the time these are allowed and ignored by teachers.
Gay children are at high risk for attempted and completed suicide. They are four times more likely to make a suicide
attempt that is severe enough to warrant treatment by a physician or a nurse. This is high-risk behaviour.
No matter which developmental theory you use, whether it is Beck's triangle of hating yourself, not seeing any
belonging in the world and the future as being hopeless; or whether it is learned helplessness, where animals on an
electrified floor that could not escape just gave up even when escape was possible; or Durkheim's anomie, where the
effects on immigrants were studied who felt a dissonance between themselves and other people, a disconnection and
isolation and the resulting depression and increased suicide rate that that brought, the effects of this hatred are
There are other things we do not think of that are important in our assessment of the marriage issue. Homosexuality
will not go away; it has always been and it will always be. At the same time, if you try to push it out of your experience
because you do not understand it, you provide no place for these children to be in a relationship.
I do not know about you, but if my son or daughter were planning to be married, I would want them to marry
someone who was straight and not in the closet hiding, because this brings a significant amount of unhappiness to
heterosexual relationships. The spouses can oftentimes feel chronically depressed because they somehow know that
their partner does not love them in the way that they want them to. Again, there is a continued arrest in development.
It is important to understand that these risks apply to children who have not yet come to terms with their sexual
orientation. After they are at peace with it, their risk drops to below that of the general population.
When looking at this situation about eight years ago, we presented several recommendations. Many of them are just
as relevant today.
First, as we talked about, youth need the opportunity to develop a positive self-image so they can have good self-
esteem, positive role models and respect for their development and social institutions.
Families do not want to hate their children. They often need support and accurate information to understand that
the gay child is a gift from God the same as their straight child and there is nothing wrong. They have their special
temperament and blessings.
In regard to media, sound bites are great, but the media have the incredible power to unite people and promote
understanding, or to divide them in fear and mistrust. The only problem is that children are listening to the radio,
seeing the newspaper and watching TV along with their parents. Everything that is being said for the sound-bite effect
is also causing damage to these children. In a democracy we all need to treat each other with fundamental respect and
courtesy. That goes along with media responsibility.
In the educational system we need the school boards simply to recognize that these children will be in the school
system. On average, there are about three children per class, depending on the province and the class sizes. That has to
be reflected in school policy so these children have a safe place to learn and study and do not have to drop out of
school and land on the streets. It is estimated that 30 per cent of children in residential care are gay because of these
issues that they have to deal with.
In regard to helping professionals, no one can make a sexual orientation. I know some physicians think they are
God, but I do not promote myself that highly and I cannot make or change anyone's sexual orientation. What helping
professionals can do is provide a place for children or adults to come to terms with their sexual orientation. This is
supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric
Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Sociological Association and almost all relevant
bodies that deal with helping professions and their Canadian counterparts.
Ironically, people still have some difficulty because of their lack of education and old records. However, to try to
change children's orientation, because of the damage it causes to self-esteem — and we cannot change it; we can change
their behaviour but we cannot change who they are — can be considered as malpractice.
This subject applies specifically to what you are doing here today in your attempt to create equality for these
children. There are no studies to show that these people should be treated in any unequal form or be excluded from any
The same recommendations for everyone else apply to government. If people who are supposed to be the leaders
behaving irresponsibly as they are arguing in the House, this is a poor example for children in the schoolyard.
There is also the issue of what democracy is. This needs to be built in so that we understand. Democracy is not just
about getting elected; there is a responsibility that goes along with that.
In regard to churches or institutions of love, the golden rule is common to all faiths: Love your neighbour as
yourself, written in various forms. This is much harder when we have hate or fear in our own hearts. It is much easier
to go along with the emotion, but that does not help, and it is certainly not what the rules of the faith say when you
look at the fundamental commandments.
When you look at the emphasis on sexuality and faith, God made sexuality. Get over the hang-ups and learn about
it. It does not matter if you are a minister or in church. You must understand that this is something that God gave the
earth to understand.
In looking at the psychological profile, we also understand that many people who enter the seminary do so at an
early age in their life, and with psychological immaturity. As a result of also having to leave sexuality at the door, this
does not develop very much and leads to many continued misunderstandings and false statements about sex. I am sure,
seeing as how they know more about God than about sex, God would probably get a laugh out of some of the things
that are said. In any case, tolerance is necessary for all societies.
Returning to democracy, there are three parts to democracy that I learned as a Boy Scout. I remember that the first
part was about how people got elected, by majority vote. That is how we form our government. There are other parts
to a majority, although they do not guarantee a job.
There is the part where, after you are elected, you have a responsibility to ensure that the rights and freedoms of all
your delegates, everyone in your riding, are respected. When attention is not paid to this, we do not have democracy; it
becomes dictatorship by majority.
The third part of democracy is the golden rule: There are so many different groups in a democracy that if everyone
wanted it ``my way or the highway,'' you would not have a democracy; you would have civil war. That is why,
regardless of personal beliefs, the fundamental process of the democracy comes first.
This next slide has a quote by Erik Erickson, a person who worked extensively on child development theories. His
works are tremendously respected in regard to childhood well-being. It reads:
Someday, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well-considered, and yet fervent public conviction that the
most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child's spirit.
The next slide has a pertinent quote to close with from Martin Luther King:
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
We are trying to relay this information for the people whom this affects the most. It is their future and they have no
voice. Because we are dealing with so much information, it is difficult for them to be accepted at this point without
further education and work being done.
Senator St. Germain: I have a short question for Dr. Kroll.
You bring up statistics of 8 and 12 per cent. They are in conflict with other statistics that indicate 3 per cent. I will
not argue with you on this subject. A more comprehensive study in regard to this and the impact on children might
have been able to answer many questions some of us have in this area.
Dr. Kroll: I do not think this is the case. As long as oppression continues, you will not get people coming out and
saying, ``I am gay.'' I cannot imagine doing a survey in Hitler's Third Reich asking, ``Are you Jewish?'' That is the same
issue we have here when we talk about surveys. Some of the statistics are lower; some are higher. A study done in
Calgary puts the figure at 14 per cent. One might wonder if it is because children flock to Calgary to get out of rural
At the same time, it does not matter. If it is five per cent, it is five per cent of our population being oppressed. That is
what democracy is about.
Senator St. Germain: Mr. Kroll, I lived in a community where there were not many people. We were all basically
Catholics. There were gays amongst us. I can never ever remember them being discriminated against. They were viewed
as different. It was a Metis community.
Do you honestly believe that you can legislate wrongs into rights and deal with human reaction by way of
legislation? I do not care what kind of legislation we bring forward. I think we have a challenge. I heard the cardinal
here yesterday. It is wrong in my faith to have promiscuous heterosexual sex. That is totally wrong.
Dr. Kroll: I do not think anyone is arguing with that. I do not think people in established gay relationships, or gay
parents, would argue. They may agree with you on that matter because they probably would not support heterosexual
or homosexual promiscuity. There are significant risks that go along with that.
The reality is that if you had that experience in a small community, you were very lucky. It would be very good if
gay children did have that experience. I know for a fact that, at least where I come from, they do not have that
experience. You do not have to look far to figure that out. You just read the headlines in the newspaper and imagine
they were saying that of your children for something else. For example: ``Politicians' children are warped and twisted,''
or whatever else, and that statement being allowed.
Senator St. Germain: Our kids are attacked.
Dr. Kroll: Are you happy with that?
Senator St. Germain: You have to live with some of the reality. There is no form of legislation that could rectify that
I thank you for your presentation.
I would like to ask a short question of Ms. Caldwell.
Civil unions in Quebec seem to be working quite well. If the same thing were presented nationally, we would not be
sitting here today. I cannot for the life of me see how the adding of civil marriage will make any difference in the
Province of Quebec, seeing that, from what I am told, civil unions are such a success story.
Ms. Caldwell: Certainly civil union was a watershed event in Quebec. It brought us equality, so that all the laws, for
couples as well as for filiation, parenthood and adoption, were rendered equal. We are equal citizens with everyone else
in Quebec. Civil union in Quebec is not just about the couple; it is about the family. We are particularly proud to have
The question may be why we still want marriage.
Michael Hendricks, of Hendricks/LeBoeuf, the case that went to the Quebec Appeals Court, said it best when he said
that marriage is the golden standard. Marriage is recognition. It is recognition of your relationship. It is recognition of
your equality. It is recognition of you and your partner as being as committed as a heterosexual couple.
Civil marriage — and you will notice in our name it is civil marriage — is an institution of state. That is why we are
here in front of you and not in front of a religious group. We have never asked a religion to change its position. We do
come to the state, to Canada, and say: ``We are barred from this institution of state. We think that there is no justifiable
reason. Therefore, we want the same access to civil marriage as our heterosexual friends and family.''
If you want to speak in legal terms, the legal hurdles to institute a civil union across Canada are insurmountable.
That issue has been discussed in the reference to the Supreme Court and in other venues as well. Civil unions are in the
provincial jurisdiction. To try to coordinate that would be overwhelming.
That is not the reason. The reason is equality, that we, our couples, our families, be treated in the same way, with the
same respect and recognition, as heterosexual couples.
Dr. Kroll: If I may, I think that is also a principle for the children. Imagine saying to one child before age five, ``You
can have a future and you can marry,'' and saying to another child, ``You cannot.'' You are either equal or you are not.
Senator St. Germain: If it is a Catholic or evangelical family, they will not be equal because the one child will have to
be married in a different institution. I do not believe, Mr. Kroll, you will achieve equality.
You may achieve a certain amount of equality by virtue of the word ``marriage,'' but you will not be able to achieve
absolute equality by virtue of the fact that only one child may be married in the traditional Christian church.
Dr. Kroll: I do not think we are talking about any other kind of equality but that relating to Canadian marriage law.
You cite the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has been behind on issues before in history. Galileo Galilei's works
Senator St. Germain: Here we go.
Dr. Kroll: You have heard it all before.
Senator Stratton: You can bring out Hitler next.
Senator St. Germain: He did already.
Dr. Kroll: We are talking about state marriage, and there are many Christian churches that will marry people. I do
not think that is a fair argument.
Senator Joyal: I'll put my first question to Mr. Tremblay. I noticed on the list of associations that are members of
your coalition the Centrale des enseignants du Québec and a number of other education groups. As part of your
responsibility for education, how do you reconcile the diversity of religions that there can be and that concern the
sexuality of various approaches?
Yesterday, we heard from Cardinal Ouellet, who expressed his opposition to, in a way, recognition of
heterosexuality and homosexuality as being on the same level because, in his view, that message goes against the
doctrine of the Catholic Church, just as it may go against other doctrines and other choices as well.
How do you strike a balance in education and in presenting various attitudes toward religion, in a context in which
various faiths must coexist in the education system in Quebec?
You are quite familiar with the education system in Quebec. There used to be only one faith, and everyone learned
it. The situation is much more diverse today. How do you ensure that the various faiths can coexist, even though some
of them contradict each other on this question?
Mr. Tremblay: First, I would say that the Centrale des syndicats du Québec, the former Centrale des enseignants du
Québec, has lobbied government departments for the Church in Quebec to be no longer a religious Church, but to
become a secular institution in which religion no longer dominates education.
Second, there are frequent education reforms in Quebec, and I might add that there are in the health system as well.
Senator Prud'homme: That is even worse.
Mr. Tremblay: There are often reforms, and, once again, there will be moral education in which people can learn
about the various religions and the premises of the various religions present here.
Senator Prud'homme: Total confusion —
Ms. Caldwell: I would like to add something. I believe that, in education and in Quebec's schools, we are gradually
moving toward theological education, instead of teaching some specific religion.
Instead of teaching the religious beliefs of one religion, we are evolving toward education in which we'll respond to
the religious diversity in modern Quebec society and in which we will present the various religions with the respect we
owe them in order to show similarities and differences.
I believe we could call that more theological education than religious education, as we knew it in the 1960s or 1970s.
Senator Joyal: I would like to put the question in different terms to Dr. Kroll. There are religions, such as the
Roman Catholic Church, that recognize gay sexuality but condemn sexual acts. Cardinal Ouellet mentioned that
yesterday. When I project that statement onto what I have heard here — a child recognizes that he or she is gay but is
prevented from expressing that gayness — does that not put the child in an impossible situation?
Dr. Kroll: There are two issues here. One is the acceptance and equality of the child. You are starting with the
premise that that child is not equal. That child's peers can marry and be sexual in that marriage, while that child cannot
look forward to that in the future. In other words, there is no place for that child.
The other point is about the myth of sexuality, which implies that people have to be sexual to understand who they
are in regards to sexual orientation. That is not true. That can be understood without ever having sex at all. I do not
think that would be any different in regards to differentiating sexual orientation, which is a part of the person that they
come into the world with, from sexual acts, which I am sure was an issue with your own children as they were growing
up. There are risks and consequences to sexual acts, pregnancy being one of them. God made the body for pregnancy.
God also put STDs in the world. You will be educating your children about sexual acts as well, but they are very
different from sexuality.
I have tremendous respect for people of faith. I come from a Lutheran Missouri Synod background. I sat in church
every Sunday, so I can count the biblical quotes that are stored in the banks in the back. However, when you talk
about the problems with religion, there is a difference between spirituality and religion. Spirituality is one's connection
with the world. Religion is a political structure around which there may or may not be spirituality. Oftentimes, politics
gets in the way of the main purpose of the religion, which is to love your neighbour as yourself. If every church were
doing that, you would not have an issue. Who is my neighbour? That is the Samaritan; that is the person whom you
dislike, but that is the person who stopped to help. The message to Christians is let God do the judging, and before you
judge other people, take out the log that is in your own eye. Love your neighbour as yourself.
Senator Cools: I would like to say that the term ``civil marriage,'' as this bill uses it, is in fact a false construct. All
marriages are civil marriages. All religious marriages are civil marriages. It is an artificial concept created for political
purposes. It is a terrible legal fraud being perpetrated on Canadians. I can trace the history of marriage as coming out
of the civil and canon law.
Every marriage is a civil marriage. There is no difference. They convey the same benefits and obligations. I just
wanted to put that on the record.
I must tell you that God made human beings. I do not know that God made sexuality per se, but God made human
beings. I believe that rights accrue to human beings, not to sexual behaviour.
Dr. Kroll: I am not certain about that. I grew up on a farm.
The Chairman: I do not think Senator Cools was finished.
Senator Cools: I am trying to ask all my questions because we do not have a lot of time. If you allow me extra time, I
can let him answer it now.
The Chairman: No, I will not.
Senator Cools: Okay, fine.
Most children are a little insensitive, you know. I listened to your presentation. Children are quite often cruel and
insensitive, and they beat on each other. I was beat on a lot as a child. However, it is a stretch to describe that infantile
and juvenile insensitivity and thoughtlessness as hatred. In law today, hatred has a particular meaning. I do not think
your point is well served by using such dramatic language. I put that out to you, because then you would have to
describe as ``hatred'' all child-like insensitivity, and the world abounds in child-like insensitivity.
I take issue with something you said. You said there are 800,000 homosexual children. I do not know how anyone
determines that a five-year-old is homosexual, but that is another matter. My information from Statistics Canada,
2003, tells me that 1 per cent of the Canadian population, which would be roughly 300,000 people, describe themselves
as homosexuals. Your data do not measure up with the American data or the Canadian data. Perhaps you can answer
that as well.
I wonder if you can fill in the gaps on suicide and tell me why there is a discrepancy in the suicide rates between gay
males and females. The rates among males are very high, among the females much lower. Could you tackle that one?
You say that homosexuality is unchanging. I hate to tell you this, but I could cite hundreds of people who have
crossed my path in life whose orientation has changed from heterosexual to homosexual or from homosexual back to
heterosexual. There is a lot of evidence that orientation is not as immutable as you would think.
You also say it is not amendable to change or psychiatric treatment. Numbers of psychiatrists are involving
themselves in treatment of homosexual people who are seeking relief from what they consider to be oppressive
conditions. I can cite one. The name that springs to mind is Dr. Charles Socarides. There are many of them. I happen
to know because I myself have made many recommendations to individuals seeking help in controlling what they think
is behaviour that rules them. It does happen, although not in every case.
I would like to come to the question of your expression ``rule of thumb,'' which you throw out as so many people do.
There is no authority whatsoever in the common law for it. The rule of thumb, that a man could beat a woman with a
stick no larger than a thumb, is a myth. That is one the biggest myths going. It has no support in the common law. The
common law stated that the husband was prohibited from using major violence against his wife, and the civil law gave
the husbands a certain authority. However, by the middle 1650s, all of that power was doubted, and a wife or husband
could have a security against each other, what today is called a peace bond. There is no authority for it. It is a dramatic
statement, and perhaps it helps your presentation to be a little striking, but it has no foundation in law or in truth.
I wonder if you could respond to those points. The one I am especially interested in is your arrival at this number of
800,000 children. I want to know how you know that children are homosexual when they five years old. They do not
even know what they are yet.
Dr. Kroll: I am not certain whether you actually listened to the presentation or not, but many people know, going
back to their earliest memories, that they are gay. There is also the feeling of difference. They may not have a name for
it, but they may be aware that they are different from other people because of their different aptitudes and so on.
Maybe they are off looking at the sky and daydreaming instead of playing soccer in the playground. That is a
difference that they recognize, and it may take more time to put the sexual component to it. That is all part of the same
Looking at the statistics that you are trying to quote, I again come back to the issue of doing a survey of how many
Jewish people there were during the Holocaust. The statement you make is ridiculous, because there is ongoing horrific
violence against gay people. Look at the Matthew Shepard case. In a situation where people have internalized such a
negative self-view through all their life, there is tremendous mutilation, and it takes time to help that person overcome
that, move on in their life and be self-accepting.
When you are talking about sexual orientation, you are talking about people flipping back and forth.
Senator Cools: Not flipping, changing.
Dr. Kroll: In my definition, I believe I said that ``gay'' is predominantly attracted to the same gender and ``straight''
is predominantly attracted to the opposite gender. Some people are in the middle, and their attraction depends on, not
necessarily what is sexual, but certain things about a person they may like. For example, they may like someone who is
physically fit and cooks East Indian food and enjoys reading in-depth books with a glass of wine. This applies more to
their attraction than the sexual component.
This is also a major difference in sexuality between men and women. Women enjoy romance, and men oftentimes
focus on the physicality of the sex.
As for what you were saying about God not inventing sexuality, it just does not make sense to me. I do come from a
farming background, and I do not recall ever seeing the cattle getting together in the springtime for a meeting to decide
how many offspring they will need and passing motions to increase their herd by a certain amount.
Senator Cools: That is silly.
Dr. Kroll: No, it is not silly. God wired you with feelings. As a result, you also have sexual feelings. As a result of
those sexual feelings, you will want to be sexual. As result of wanting to be sexual, conception may occur if you are in
childbearing years and in an opposite-gender couple. As a result of that, a certain percentage of those offspring will live
long enough to carry on. They will survive the third trimester, the first year of life and birth.
Senator Cools: That is just common sense.
Dr. Kroll: Excuse me. I did not interrupt you after I was corrected. Please do the same.
The Chairman: I was intending to say that the senator should listen to the answer.
Senator Cools: I am listening intently.
The Chairman: Senator, you may come back to this if there is enough time.
Dr. Kroll: In any case, because of those feelings, it is inherent that species do carry on, but that does not mean that
sexual feelings are only related to the opposite gender. The whole issue of homosexuality among animals and humans is
nothing new. In respect of previous cultures, one of your invited witnesses forgot that the original inhabitants of this
country did provide gay people with a place within society to raise their children and to be part of the mainstream.
Same-gender relationships were also common in the society of Greek democracy, on which we base our culture.
I will speak to male versus female suicide. As you know, there are differences in suicide rates between men and
women in general. In men, there tends to be a higher suicide rate, with fewer attempts but more lethal, completed
attempts. In women, there tend to be more attempts but fewer completed suicides. In respect of the rates of suicide for
gay people, there is also the factor of social oppression to consider because some are generally more uncomfortable
with this issue than others. Mothers may be the first people to whom their children come out because it may feel safer,
but that is not to say that all mothers have listening ears for their children. Those children will not come out to their
mothers because they know it is not safe.
I would stand by my statement about hatred. When this information is presented, the anger that it produces in some
people is an emotional response because it does not agree with what they learned in their old frame of reference. That
causes discomfort. The person then has a choice, to either accept that they need to grow a little so they do not cause
damage to these children, or to allow the emotions to boss them around. That comes out as anger or avoidance. I
would not think that there would be letters written to the Queen on any other subject. Look around and you will see
that this is not an issue of intellectual debate, but rather it is emotion disguised as intellectual debate because people
feel so averse to it. Yes, this is a democracy, and yes, these children do have a place in this democracy.
Concerning the issue of conversion therapy, a package was supposed to be distributed to all members of the
committee. In it are numerous resources, including policy statements from the American Psychological Association,
statements on families and the relevance of parenting, the outcome for children in gay relationships, and conversion
therapy. Conversion therapy is not condoned as a treatment because it causes further psychological damage. A child
might go into therapy because the parents are feeling too uncomfortable to grow themselves. Rather than parents
growing to gain an understanding of the world as God made it, children are expected to shut up and stay the way they
are. Sometimes, a parent is too uncomfortable to do the growing that he or she needs to do.
Senator Cools: I was speaking about adults in therapy, not children.
Senator Milne: Dr. Kroll, in your slide presentation you said that by the time they get to school, children thought to
be gay experience 25 incidents of harassment per day. As all of us did when growing up and at school; I was picked on
and bullied. In my case, it was because of my parents' political ideology. You also said that 30 per cent of children in
residential care are gay. What is the source of your figures? I find such numbers absolutely appalling.
Dr. Kroll: Yes, it is appalling. I do not have the source today but I could obtain that for you, senator. These are
studies of children in residential care. The numbers are not surprising because these children face such hardships that
they are more likely to drop out of school and do not get the necessary education. As well, they have not had a safe
place in which to develop and so may not have the skills to move ahead in life in the same way as a child who has been
given those opportunities.
On the issue of bullying, rather than say I was bullied so they can be bullied — which does not make sense — it
would be much better to educate people about bullying. For example, ask the people who bully a girl at school to sit
down and find out what is going on. Often it is the case that the bully is experiencing the same thing at home or
elsewhere. Educating all bullies about all kinds of harassment and the pain it causes other people would be a much
better approach. We are talking about gay marriage, and that is why I am focused on the subject of bullying. Certainly,
when you deal with one kind of harassment, you deal with all of them. For children in that context, the concern is that
they have space and respect so they can grow in their own lives.
The issue that using civil marriage creates second-class citizens is consistent with everything that these children are
experiencing elsewhere. Besides, coming from Alberta, I do not think that this would be in the child's best interests.
Senator Milne: Ms. Caldwell or Mr. Tremblay, your brief, at page 8, presents an analysis of the social history of the
development of marriage that states:
It was primarily concern over the transmission of patrimony that consolidated the prevalence of marriage...
I find this approach different from the others we have heard, even that earlier today, when we heard of the
anthropological history of marriage in different cultures around the world. I should point out, Dr. Kroll, that the
written presentation of the previous panel contained a rundown of sexuality issues in Aboriginal pre-European-contact
communities in Canada.
Mr. Tremblay and Ms. Caldwell, you are talking about an issue of filiation. I would be interested in hearing a little
more on that because you did not speak to that in depth in your presentation.
Ms. Caldwell: Yes, senator, I believe that your question is about filiation.
Senator Milne: The purpose of marriage is procreation.
Ms. Caldwell: We are saying that is one of the arguments used in the past to prevent civil marriages of same-sex
couples, and that we disagree with that analysis. We think that if the sole purpose of marriage was procreation, then
menopausal women would not be able to be married. It would be rather easy to simply prohibit women who are
menopausal from marrying.
We spoke of civil marriage. Why are we saying ``civil marriage'' instead of ``civil and religious marriage''? We are
emphasizing civil marriage, to the point of putting it in the name of our organization, because we are addressing
ourselves only to the state. We are speaking only of the contract between the state and two people. That is what we are
seeking. In no way are we seeking to have any religion celebrate the marriage of a same-sex couple. It is true that
religious ceremonies include civil marriage, but they are not civil marriage. A civil marriage is really a contract between
the state and two people.
Our emphasis is on that and only that. We do not want this to be confused with asking anything of religions,
because we are not. The Coalition Québécoise has not and never will ask a religion to celebrate a same-sex marriage.
We have been speaking a great deal about homophobia and the experiences of children around that. That is
excellent, because we rarely have an opportunity to do so.
Major organizations, for example, the Canadian Psychological Association, the American Psychological
Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and others, some 55,000 strong, have stated categorically of
meta-analyses of research that the developmental pathway of children brought up by same-sex couples is normal. That
is good news. It means we have another way of bringing up children, that there is another kind of family, and a great
diversity of families is developing in Canadian society. Here we have extensive research showing us that the kids are
okay. It would be great if we could celebrate that.
Mr. Tremblay: We are talking about civil marriage and why this is important for us. It is also symbolic. When I
marry, I become part of my partner's family. Families say it. That is essential because that is where the heart is. To me,
that is what is important.
With respect to homophobia in the school system, the CSQ is a major union in Quebec. It is neither the ministry of
health nor the ministry of education. There are 80,000 teachers, about 20,000 support staff and at least 10,000
The school system has been very quiet about homophobia. The bullying goes on. We have been working hard in the
last few years to educate the militants among us. There has been a huge debate within the CSQ about marriage, the
rights of gays and lesbians, and the entire question of the impact of discrimination, which Mr. Kroll has been so
eloquent in demonstrating. We are educating our militants, our teachers and our staff to deal with this and to stop
silencing it. One of the fantastic things here today is that we are talking about it. Ten years ago we would not have been
talking about it. There was silence and oppression then. It hurt many people. It is extremely difficult. A teacher who
intervenes when a child is being battered because he is gay fears he will be associated with being gay and will then suffer
the same oppression. It is difficult when you have to deal with parents and people pushing the idea that we are trying to
promote it. We are not. We are trying to help children who are suffering. There are one to three such children in each
I have learned, directly or indirectly, that homophobia does not touch just the gay or lesbian person. It bothers my
brothers and sisters when they hear awful things said about us. It hurts my nephews and nieces. They know who I am.
They know I am not a bad person. The issue here is to be a legally recognized member of the family.
You referred to two-spiritness. Can you tell me about that?
Ms. Caldwell: That is a term developed by the First Nations roughly 20 years ago. It refers to the condition of people
who are what we would call gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transgendered individuals. It is a category specific to
Aboriginal cultures which does not just represent gays and lesbians.
That's why we included the term in our presentation. The First Nations use it to define themselves. We have
translated the English term ``two-spirited'' in French as ``bispirituel.''
One of my Mohawk friends was the first to use the term because the word ``spiritualité'' appears in the definition. It
is a term that is evolving and that expands on the notion of homosexuality. In fact, it refers to persons who are not
exclusively heterosexual within the First Nations communities.
Senator Ringuette: Now I have a better understanding of the principle of spirituality of our Aboriginal peoples, that
spirituality with regard to oneself, even if one isn't heterosexual.
Contrary to Senator St. Germain's small-community experience, mine was different. I come from a small
community of 800 people in New Brunswick.
My next-door neighbour was the same age as me. We called him Ti-Blanc. He came to get me at the front door of
my house so that we could go hand-in-hand to our first day of school. He was a spirited and intelligent young man. We
got along very well. The first year of school, we were in the same classroom. After that, we were in different classrooms.
Because of that, we made different friends. He was still my neighbour, and I still loved him very much.
In grade 8, Ti-Blanc, who was brilliant and an exceptional musician, dropped out of school.
I asked him why. He said, ``Pierrette, maybe you have not noticed, but at school they do not treat me well. They
push me around. They say unpleasant things to me. I will try to do something else.'' Unfortunately, the next time I saw
him he was in a coffin. He was 18 years old. It was only then that I realized that he had been a victim of all of us in the
community, for not being understood for what he was: not only brilliant but also a homosexual.
After that, I must admit that it was not discussed in the community, but it was certainly understood. That happened
in 1971. The community decreased its intolerance. It was not removed completely, however, because there have been
other suicides in this small community based on homosexuality. I can relate to what you were saying, Dr. Kroll. I am
relieved that you came forward this morning with all the scientific studies on the impact of this issue on children. That
is where it starts. If we do not start there, we will not remove the prejudice. It is unfortunate that legislation cannot
remove prejudice. As parliamentarians, we have the responsibility to assume a certain leadership on issues like that. I
want to thank you very much for your presentation and the extensive studies that you have shown us that negate the
hearsay of other studies that other witnesses have told us about.
Dr. Kroll: Thank you very much as well. Unfortunately, your story is also common in other small towns. My aunt
and uncle, who live in rural Manitoba, told me of a young man there who blew his head off. Everyone knew he was
gay, but no one recognized the consequences of inequality and harassment.
Senator Ringuette: Yes, collective actions.
Dr. Kroll: One of the great risk factors in suicide is not having a confidant, someone you can talk to and feel
comfortable with. If you are in a small town, as this young man was, there is no one to talk with. The church tells you
that you will go to hell in a handbasket. The anger of other people because of what they have been taught overrides
what they should be doing as people of faith. The consequences are unfortunate. I have worked with families who have
dealt with situations like this. Until that point, many parents wish that their children would just change. Somehow,
they will change, because parents do not want something bad for their children. Parents recognize that it is an
incredible struggle out there for gay children. Unfortunately, the children do not change. According to the studies on
conversion therapy, behaviours can change for a short time. When those studies are followed up, you find that some of
the people who were doing the studies in the 1960s and 1970s were gay themselves and did not stay in the closet.
The issue of the violence that these children must go through is paramount. Unfortunately, the parents sometimes
must understand through such incredible loss that yes, they want good things for their children. However, to get there
they will have to take a different path. When a child has committed suicide, it is too late. As I was preparing for this, I
came across an organization called Soul Force. Their site is www.soulforce.com. It is an organization of spiritual
people who are looking at the impact this issue has on families, on children and on communities. There is no
contradiction between being gay and being spiritual. That is important in a community system like this.
This information came out about two days ago from the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre. It agrees with
what we are presenting here today. It is done totally independently. I presented eight years ago and did a two-year
research project to collect the information. Until then, people would argue about one or another particular study. All
that information was collected so that people could see this is an issue.
Groups continue to put out different kinds of research. Some of the names in these groups can also be found out to
substantiate whether their work is supported by the organization behind them. The work of some researchers, who are
advocating for conversion therapy and other aspects of homosexuality, for example, is definitely not supported by the
American Psychological Association, the American Sociological Association and so on. This is also an incredible
resource because it is the voice of children and teens talking about these issues and what it means to them. Thank you
for your comment.
Mr. Tremblay: What you referred to, Senator Ringuette, is essentially the oppression of silence. When I started my
work as a unionist within the Centrale, one of the first things I wanted to do concerning gay and lesbian rights was a
video to illustrate the oppression of silence. Everyone on the general council told me there would not be any more
problems, that the legislation had changed and that there was no more oppression. The video illustrated the problem of
silence. We had been told that we would never find teachers or children who would want to speak out. Within two
weeks, we had found 75 people who wanted to do that in order to break this killing silence. Perhaps I could send you
the video. It is 30 minutes long and it illustrates the problem. That is why we have to talk about it.
Senator Pearson: I wish to thank all of you for your presentations. Your common theme is the importance of
creating a culture in which everyone feels respected and has the opportunity to become who he or she is. The degree to
which the surrounding culture has imposed negative stereotypes has been extremely harmful.
For those of us of my age, who have lived a long time and watched the evolution, we have come a long way.
Dr. Kroll made the point, which is true — certainly among my friends — that most of us have a granddaughter, a
niece, or a nephew who is gay, and we have come, through that experience, to move away from the stereotypes that
held us back in the first place. It has helped me to understand the impact of culture on how we perceive the world and
how we are constantly challenged.
The important point Dr. Kroll has brought up is the way in which people have been able to disengage the sex drive
from sexuality — not totally, because they are interconnected. When we speak about a child who grows up to be gay or
lesbian, it is a spectrum of behaviours, not just a particular behaviour. It will change as time goes on and the hormones
engage. We can all agree that the sex drive is common to the human race. However, you are really looking at a
spectrum of behaviours that — as the presentation of the United Church said yesterday — is a marvellous diversity of
humanity. The United Church is celebrating that. I liked that thought, that every child growing up should feel his or
her evolution can be celebrated rather than repressed.
I would like to ask about the children of gay and lesbian families. That has been brought up by witnesses as a
negative. It has not been my experience. I wanted to reinforce the comment I made a couple of days ago, that it is not
the form of the family that leads to healthy development in children, it is the function. It is not the shape or the
construction or who it is, it is how it functions.
Effective parenting and strong and cohesive families, according to the National Longitudinal Survey on Children
and Youth, do not necessarily require a biological mother and father. It talks about parenting within a supportive
community. That is why I am so much in favour of this bill. I believe this is contributing to a supportive community.
I wondered whether you had anything to add, Dr. Kroll, about children of same-sex couples.
Dr. Kroll: Is it possible to get the package and distribute it to senators? Could I have a copy?
Ms. Caldwell: While Dr. Kroll is finding what he wants to address, I could mention that all the major organizations
— psychological, psychiatric, pediatric — have performed analyses of how the children of same-sex couples do. Are
they healthy? How are they? Every one of these analyses, performed independently by each association, has arrived at
the same conclusion, that the children are fine. I think, senator, you have hit the nail on the head. It is not about who is
in the family but how the family functions.
Sometimes a family functions well with a single mother or a single father. Let us not forget that those also can be
exceptionally effective parents; the children can grow up perfectly healthy and happy, and most do. We are finding that
the same is true for children of same-sex couples.
Civil marriage can only further enhance the welfare of the children because it is an added recognition — and it is not
a small one. It is an important one. If we are arguing for the welfare of the children, we should be arguing for same-sex
civil marriage because it will be beneficial to same-sex families.
I would also like to thank you for saying that I am not just a sexual act. I have been hearing that all my life. We tell
especially gay men that they are only sexual beings, so thank you for recognizing that we are full people. We appreciate
If I could use an analogy, it would be like saying to heterosexuals, ``All you can think about is that television
program Sex in the City.'' It is a misrepresentation; it is a caricature and it is false. Heterosexuals are full human beings
in all their complexity, just as gay and lesbian people are full human beings in all their complexity. To reduce or
eliminate homophobia, we also need to present gays and lesbians as full people.
Mr. Tremblay: When we fought for the civil union law in Quebec, the children came to testify. It was fascinating,
because they told us the difficulty they had as kids was not being able to talk about it — going to school and not saying
``I have two mommies'' or ``I have two daddies.'' That was their fear.
This bill is creating an environment where they can talk about it. It is not the fact that you are brought up; it is who
are the people doing it? It is the people who are taking care of a child who make a child good or bad. That is all I would
like to say.
Dr. Kroll: If you look in your package, I have included a brief article on sexual orientation, parents and children.
There is another article here looking at same-sex families and relationships. This is just for your own reading and back-
up information. It is good to have this on hand should you encounter any kinds of myths or stereotypes; and to
understand that although there may be one researcher out there whose work shows something, the overwhelming
majority of the professional organizations are consistently saying that what you are doing is correct.
I used to be the associate director of the human sexuality program at the University of Calgary. That is why I so
comfortable talking about sex — to me it is like talking about the weather. The focus on sex when looking at
relationships shows immaturity in people's sexual development. Do heterosexual people marry because of sex? Some
people do; it is called a shotgun wedding, I guess. However, you marry for other reasons. You marry because of love;
you marry because you want to spend the rest of your life with that person; and you marry, hopefully, because you
have spent enough time with the other person to know that you are willing to work together to make your relationship
It is acknowledged that relationships add so much to life. Two most important tasks in life are to work — to
contribute to the world in some way and feel respected for it — and to love and to be loved. Depriving someone of that
makes no sense.
The story about your granddaughter is very pertinent. One of the difficulties I see repeatedly is the social oppression
of families. It is like the story of the emperor's new clothes. Everyone knows that homosexuality exists, yet everyone is
saying it is bad, so it makes people afraid to admit that their grandchild is gay, for example, and people hide. It takes a
lot of work to reach the point you have. I admire your courage and your love for your granddaughter.
Senator Chaput: I want to thank you for your presentation. I want to thank you for your courage in presenting
things the way they are. I also want to thank you for the respect you show for differences, the tolerance you have
toward people who do not agree with you. You referred to the problem of silence. We are all familiar with the
unhappiness that has been caused when people remained silent because they were ashamed of what they were and
because they were afraid of being condemned by a society that had no business condemning them. There is only one
person who one day can judge, and that person is not on Earth.
I admire your awareness work. We have to change our attitudes and behaviour. It takes generations to do that. Will
your awareness work continue in the future?
Ms. Caldwell: In our view, this is not the end, but rather the start. In Quebec, civil marriage will mean a renewal of
initiatives against homophobia. A lot of things are being done right now. I could tell you about the Fondation
Émergence, which is dedicated to fighting homophobia and developed the National Day Against Homophobia, not
only in Canada, but internationally as well. France and other countries have also joined in Fondation Émergence's
initiative. It is the Foundation's wish that the National Day Against Homophobia be recognized around the world.
The Association des mères lesbiennes is well positioned to demystify the families of same-sex couples. These women
have children, and they are doing a magnificent job.
For the associations and groups of gays, lesbians and bisexuals in Quebec, there is a recognition, and that involves a
new challenge. Once discrimination is eliminated in the statutes — and this will be the last act that has to eliminate
discrimination — I believe the community will turn to the problem of homophobia.
Now I am going to ask Mr. Tremblay to talk about the union federations.
Mr. Tremblay: I would like to add two things. In Quebec last September, there was an estates general of the gay and
lesbian communities. We talked about legal equality and social equality. It is one thing to change our laws, but it is
another thing to live with them on a day-to-day basis and in the work place.
I am the treasurer of a union local for an establishment of 200 employees. I made a presentation on the legal battle
for marriage. Normally, we have 50 to 80 members coming to a general meeting where we pay for lunch. My colleagues
tell me that people come because lunch is paid for.
When I made my presentation on the fight for marriage, 17 members came. We talk about homophobia and the way
to achieve legal equality. When you talk about social equality, that's another thing.
As for the Centrale des syndicats du Québec, we have a fairly elaborate action plan on the entire struggle against
homophobia. The Centrale has made a broad appeal for a national action plan in Quebec for the struggle against
homophobia. The idea is to involve the government departments and parents' associations in naming the problem and
seeing what can be done. We want to name the problem, just as people talked about feminism in the 1970s, and talked
about sexism against women and racism.
Now we want to talk about the problem of homophobia. That is the action plan for the Centrale des syndicats du
Québec, and the same is true for the other federations.
Ms. Caldwell: I would like to talk about our three major Quebec federations representing the major union
Senator Prud'homme: The pillars of politics.
Ms. Caldwell: At CSN, we are working with both members of the Confederation and with society in order to
eliminate homophobia. We have published folders, pamphlets. The CSN has taken initiatives and is still involved in
gay pride parades and in the communities.
We were talking about rurality and small communities. CSN is also involved in those small communities in
demystifying the situation. The same is true of the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec, which
represents more than 500,000 persons, where initiatives are being taken through and outside this union federation.
We are in good position to be able to do a good job. Within five years, we hope to see a change in the attitudes of
Senator Prud'homme: I am going to keep my main remarks for my final speech in the Senate on this question. My
friend Senator St. Germain referred to villages. I did my military training in Shallow, Manitoba. I thought about going
into the Navy, but I did not understand English. So I wound up in the military police in Shallow.
Please pardon my somewhat vulgar language, but we all know that, in the old traditions, there was always a village
idiot, there was always a village tart, and there was always a village queen. That did not prevent the villagers from
going to bed with the village tart, from making fun of the village idiot and having fun at the expense of the village
queen. I do not think a lot of people tried to look into the souls of those three people to see how they had had to face
life and suffer in silence.
I came to Ottawa 41 years ago. I was a student leader and very active, so much so that I often forgot to study. I
nevertheless earned my degree. I was expelled everywhere for political reasons.
I was a friend of the CEQ in 1970, and my riding financed that organization in the most progressive movements to
combat racism, among other things, under Yvon Charbonneau.
I am not offering lessons, and I swear to you that, at the age of 70, I will not accept any either!
I am pleased that Senator Pearson is here because she could — I hope — attest to all this awful blackmail that
happened to the best talents in the Department of Foreign Affairs over these matters of sexuality which deprived
Canada perhaps of the greatest servants of the government, some of whom were driven to suicide, while others
preferred to leave the department because some subjects were untouchable. That happens everywhere.
How many times do we hear these great messengers of the Sacred Heart tell us about the holiness of marriage?
Married, naturally, but I have seen them all too often running after anything that moved. They can not beat it when it
comes to hypocrisy.
I have to ask a question. I want to be useful in society. You need an acceptable ambassador in order to succeed in
getting tough messages across. If you send an ambassador, send one who is acceptable and who will be received. One
thing is for certain: my vote won't be based on hypocrisy, but on my feelings and my experience.
I see a former minister — who is still a minister — Senator Austin. I can not wait until the real report of the
Macdonald Commission, which is secret, is one day published in full. Then we will see all the whited sepulchres,
hypocrites, who have had such good careers.
You see where I come from and where I am headed. We live in a society that is changing, but that is exploding
everywhere. I am an old traditionalist, so family contradictions are something known to me. I am very traditionalist.
When it comes to change, I am very careful. However, I have eyes to see and a soul to understand. I am very sensitive
to the misfortunes of some and the silence of others. I try to interpret them. That will influence my vote. You can see
roughly where I am headed.
Since we have specialists here — I know this is not the way to act — I would like a free consultation. What is the
difference between sensuality and sexuality? Watch out, I have all the dictionaries!
Dr. Kroll: That depends on which definition a person is using. Some people do not understand sex very well, so they
think sexuality is about sexual acts. They have not developed their understanding that sexuality may be an expression
of closeness to the person, of sharing your heart, of being there with the person you love. Even when it comes to
sexuality there are these two different definitions, depending on the person's understanding.
This definition of sexuality, which is based on sexual acts, is an immature understanding. Sex is acts, it is about
genitals; it is about pleasure.
When you are looking at a more sensual aspect of sexuality — and here I am using the two together — you are open,
you do not carry all those ideas that keep you walled off from the world, that make you shut off your emotions and use
intellect only. You are able to feel and to be with that other person in a much deeper way. Does that make any sense?
Senator Prud'homme: I am listening. I heard the statement of Cardinal Ouellet yesterday and I was trying to
reconcile that with your definition.
Dr. Kroll: What was the statement?
Senator Prud'homme: It is too long; I will not repeat it. Once was enough.
Dr. Kroll: Most people, when they think about sex, right away think about sexual acts. That puts sex in a category
where people may daydream about their own arousal but will never talk about it. If you look at how people live,
though, as I pointed out before, people do not necessarily marry for sex; they marry because of best fit of heart,
because they love the other person and want to build a future together with that person. They want to grow old
together and still see the heart in the other person, even if their face is covered with wrinkles.
When you look at marriage with the word ``gay'' in front of it, all the issues about the children are forgotten; all the
issues about the heart are forgotten. Unfortunately, it gets reduced to a sexual act and it makes people feel
uncomfortable. It is like thinking about your own parents having sex: ``Oh, don't go there.'' That is a natural response.
However, this is not what true sexuality is about; it is a much more complicated and deeper issue. On one side, you can
have good sex without genital involvement; that is the difference. On the other side, the pressure is on sex. You have to
be performing, and ultimately one spouse is tired out. One spouse wants more sex, the other wants less, and then they
used to come to me.
People grew to understand that sex is much more than just a physical act; they also began to understand that it is an
emotional connection with another person. That is often what people are seeking when they are looking for sex. In the
situation I described, one person in the couple is feeling alienated because the other person has a lower sex drive, for
example. People who are feeling alienated often look for reconnection through sex. That is what causes the problem.
When you break that cycle and help people to understand that there is much more to healthy sex than just genital
contact, it sets up an appreciation of each person for the other. It removes the pressure to perform physically, and if a
couple is together and they are sharing, it does not matter whether or not they have orgasm every time. What matters is
that they are able to share their hearts. Does that answer your question?
Senator Prud'homme: I will read that again.
Ms. Caldwell: I would just like to add one point. Yes, there are sexual actions. That is called sexuality. In a couple,
sexuality is an expression of love, of intimacy. It is not the only one, but it is one of the expressions of love. It is one
way to give love, to receive love and to be intimate as a couple. Sensuality is something broader. It is quite pleasant as
well, but sexuality within a couple is a deeper from of intimacy, a sharing of love which is much deeper.
Senator Cools: Dr. Kroll, what school of thought were you trained in? Was it Freudian, Adlerian or something else?
Dr. Kroll: That is a very interesting question. May I ask you why you are asking that?
Senator Cools: I am curious because there was a time in my life when I did a lot of study on the different
Dr. Kroll: Information changes over time. We have learned that when a person burns a hand, putting butter on the
burn is not necessarily the best thing.
In the same way, our understanding of human sexuality and sexual orientation has changed over the years. This is
the current understanding that is supported not necessarily by my training, which was in a registered facility for
medical specialization. I achieved my doctor of medicine and my LMCC, a licence of the Medical Council of Canada. I
have my general licence and practice. I am a fellow of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and I am a
Diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
Information has changed. When you were learning, that is what would have been taught. It has changed over the
years, and fairly rapidly. As we learned more, we began to recognize what these children are facing.
Senator Cools: I wondered if you had been trained by the Adlerians or the Jungians or the Freudians?
Dr. Kroll: I do not take a specific slant on psychiatry. I treat my patients based on where they are at. We know from
the model of change, before a person thought there could be change possible, is a very different approach from when
they are ready to make the change happen. There are seven different steps in the model of change.
Someone said earlier that you cannot legislate change. I am not sure about that. In Alberta that has made quite a
difference. Having some of these things become law puts the gay people in Alberta, and the children as well, in a
position where they are respected and they do have recourse. It is not the only thing that matters, but certainly it does
make a difference, because otherwise, the message is that this is just the way it is.
The question was asked whether there would be follow-up. That was a good question because I do think ongoing
education is absolutely necessary. I have never seen such a ruckus in the media as over this issue. This is a reflection of
what gay children have to live with every day of their lives. You know how miserable your lives have been since you
have had to deal with this. Imagine being a child and having to deal with that every day. It is easier for a person to say,
``It is not my issue,'' and let it go, and unfortunately the child has to suffer as a result.
Given the vast amount of misinformation being circulated, it would not be a bad idea to ensure that the children are
well represented within our House of Commons, for example, such that people actually knew what they were talking
about. These sound bites go on the air and people hear them and think that is the way it is.
I have spoken with media on many occasions, telling them that kids hear this. Unfortunately, that message does not
get through. The message that does need to get through is that children are listening to this and it does impact their
development. It impacts healthy families as well, because parents who want to love and support their children hear
these horrible things and they think that everyone has these views.
That is a very important issue and the children are depending on you for their future.
The Chairman: Mr. Tremblay, Ms. Caldwell and Dr. Kroll, thank you for your contribution to the work of our
Honourable senators, is it agreed that the committee move to clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-38?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chairman: Shall the title stand postponed?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chairman: Shall the preamble stand postponed?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator St. Germain: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 1 stand postponed?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Stratton: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 2 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Stratton: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 3 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator St. Germain: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 3.1 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 4 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 5 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 6 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 7 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 8 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 9 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 10 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 10 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 11 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 11.1 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Cools: No.
Senator St. Germain: On division.
The Chairman: Did you say no or on division?
Senator Cools: On division means no.
The Chairman: I know what it means.
Senator Cools: Whatever.
The Chairman: Shall clause 12 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 13 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 14 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 15 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Shall clause 1 carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Shall the preamble carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Shall the title carry?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chairman: Do honourable senators agree on the title? On division?
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Is it agreed that this bill be adopted without amendment?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Chairman: Is it agreed that I report this bill to the Senate at the next sitting?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
I would like to thank all those who have contributed to our proceedings over the past four days. Thanks to the
facilities service, the pages group, the reporters, translators and television crew, who all worked hard in difficult
circumstances. In particular, I would like to mention the contribution by the Clerk, Mr. Adam Thompson, as well as
that of the researchers from the Library of Parliament, Mary Hurley, Kristen Douglas and Margaret Young.
Thanks as well to all the senators, committee members and observers, who displayed an exemplary sense of duty and
discipline. Last, I thank all the witnesses who agreed to present their version of the situation to us.
Senator St. Germain: On our side, I would like to reflect the same appreciation on behalf of all involved with the
committee. We thank you for the great civility and the leadership you brought to the hearings, Madam Chairman.