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Andrew Scheer said gay couples lack ‘inherent’ quality of marriage in tape of 2005 speech unearthed by Liberals

Toronto Star logo Toronto Star 2019-08-22 Alex Boutilier - Ottawa Bureau
Andrew Scheer wearing a suit and tie: The Liberals are challenging Andrew Scheer to march in Ottawa’s Pride Parade this week, after unearthing a 2005 speech the Conservative leader made suggesting same-sex marriage cannot be considered marriage at all. © Michael Bell The Liberals are challenging Andrew Scheer to march in Ottawa’s Pride Parade this week, after unearthing a 2005 speech the Conservative leader made suggesting same-sex marriage cannot be considered marriage at all.

OTTAWA–The Liberals are challenging Andrew Scheer to march in Ottawa’s Pride Parade this week, after unearthing a 2005 speech the Conservative leader made suggesting same-sex marriage cannot be considered marriage at all.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale released a video of the speech on Twitter on Thursday that shows the then 25-year-old Scheer giving a speech in opposition to the Civil Marriage Act, which legalized same-sex unions in Canada.

“There is nothing more important to society than the raising of children, for its very survival requires it,” Scheer said.

“Homosexual unions are by nature contradictory to this . . . Two members of the same sex may use their God-given free will to engage in acts, to cohabit and to own property together. They may commit themselves to monogamy. They may pledge to remain in a loving relationship for life.

“In that sense, they have many of the collateral features of marriage, but they do not have its inherent feature, as they cannot commit to the natural procreation of children. They cannot therefore be married.”

Scheer, along with the rest of then-leader Stephen Harper’s caucus, voted against legalizing gay marriage in 2005. Harper said at the time a Conservative government would revisit the law if elected, but avoided reigniting the debate over the almost decade he spent in power.

Like his predecessor, Scheer has tried to distance himself from major social conservative issue like abortion and same sex marriage. But the Conservative leader — a devote Roman Catholic — has consistently refused to take part in Pride parades attended by politicians across the country.

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Scheer’s office did not immediately respond to questions on whether his position on same sex marriage has evolved over the past 14 years. But earlier this month, a spokesperson for the Conservative leader said the party has a “proud history of fighting for the rights and protection of all Canadians, including those in the LGBTQ community, at home and abroad.”

Scheer’s office was responding to questions about why the leader avoided the Vancouver Pride Parade this month, which was attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

With files from The Canadian Press

Alex Boutilier is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow him on Twitter: @alexboutilier

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