I had a feeling this was coming: Stephen Harper, Canada's incoming prime minister (and head of its Conservative Party), promised religious conservatives that, if selected to lead the party, he would bring gay marriage back for a vote with an eye for a possible ban. Gay marriage has been legal in Ontario since 2003, and parliament made it legal in all of Canada in July 2005. But Harper has two problems. The first is that public opinion isn't in his favor--having experienced gay marriage for a couple of years, Canadians have no objection to it:
Environics asked 2,034 Canadians in a phone survey last Jan. 20-22 whether a new Conservative government should bring back same-sex marriage for another vote.Harper's second problem is that he literally doesn't have enough votes in parliament to pass restrictions on gay marriage. Even if he could get every single Conservative MP to support such policies--and given public resistance to the idea, he'd probably be lucky to get half--Conservatives still only make up 125 of parliament's 308 members. Harper is prime minister only because of the support of the 51-member Bloc Québécois, which agrees with the Conservative Party on important fiscal issues but supports gay marriage.
Sixty-six per cent said No, while 30 per cent said Yes, said Keith Neuman of Environics.
Conservative supporters were more in favour but almost evenly split. Forty-nine per cent said the Tories should not have a new vote on gay marriage, while 47 per cent said they should.
Results were decisive among supporters of other parties: 77 per cent were against a new vote, while 20 per cent were in favour.
Harper has managed to keep the issue off the table so far, but has announced that he will reassess it at some point this Fall. He may well bring it to a vote at that point, but it's unlikely that anything interesting will happen when he does.