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Canadian lawmakers kill attempt to derail pro-gay marriage bill

Canadian lawmakers kill attempt to derail pro-gay marriage bill

Members of the Canadian parliament on Tuesday voted down an opposition attempt to derail the minority Liberal government's bill to legalize same-sex marriage. The New Democratic Party and most Bloc Quebecois MPs joined with a majority of Liberals in voting 164-132 against a motion to block legislation to legalize same-sex marriage nationally. The Conservative Party motion called for no second reading of the bill unless it included language that reaffirmed the traditional definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal Party introduced the legislation, which would legalize unions between gays and lesbians nationwide. Martin has staked his leadership on the issue, saying he was prepared to call early elections to defend the right of same-sex couples to marry. For passage the bill needs approval from 154 members of the 308-seat House of Commons. If approved, Canada would join Belgium and the Netherlands in embracing same-sex marriage nationwide. More than 3,000 gay and lesbian couples have married in Canada since courts in seven provinces and the Yukon Territory cleared the way. Tuesday's vote was only a partial victory for the Liberals. Conservatives are expected to force an election before the legislation comes to a vote, likely in June, setting the stage for gay marriage to again be a major issue on the campaign trail. (AP)

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