Justice minister Martin Cauchon is launching a cross-country tour in defense of gay marriage amid growing protests against the government's move to pass legislation that would make such marriages a nationwide institution. Cauchon will visit at least three provinces next week in response to critics of a federal bill that would pave the way for gay men and lesbians to marry, the Canadian Press reports. "We'll be talking to Canadians," said Cauchon aide Mike Murphy. "We have to explain to people why the decision [to allow gay men and lesbians to marry] has been made."
Details have yet to be finalized, but Cauchon's tour is slated to visit Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta. The minister plans to speak to at least one audience of university students, a demographic overwhelmingly in favor of same-sex marriage. The marriage issue has spurred a divisive debate in the Liberal government and triggered protests on Parliament Hill and across the country. On Tuesday, a coalition of religious and family groups called on Canadians to take the protest against same-sex marriage to the doorsteps of their members of Parliament. The coalition urged people to demonstrate next Sunday in front of the offices of at least 30 MPs who support gay marriage.