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Canadian PM
candidate rankles voters over same-sex marriage

Canadian PM
candidate rankles voters over same-sex marriage

Prime ministerial candidate Stephen Harper has vowed to put marriage equality to a popular vote.

It's no secret that gay rights activists across Canada are vowing to do everything in their power to defeat prime ministerial candidate Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party from coming into power. But Harper--who has made plenty of antigay comments as Election Day nears--appears to be gaining little ground over the issue with Conservative voters, the Canadian Press news service reported Tuesday.

"I'm from Alberta originally, and my family is there,'' Doug Kerr, 38, told a reporter recently as he drank coffee with friends in Toronto's gay neighborhood. "They're Conservative [supporters], but they're pro-same-sex marriage. I think they're having second thoughts about Harper,'' since he raised the issue, said Kerr, who works as a manager in the nonprofit sector. "There are more important issues in Canada, and it's a real shame that it had to be raised. It may have lost him votes.''

On November 29, Harper created a firestorm by saying that if elected as prime minister, he would put a proposal on the ballot to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. "The initial [reaction] was total paranoia in my circles,'' Michael Hendricks, a gay rights activist from Montreal, told the news service. "Somebody finally had the intelligent idea to remember that Harper isn't elected yet. That seemed to secure everybody. They quieted down, and the subject hasn't come up again. Just that one shot.''

Constitutional experts say its unlikely that a government could repeal marriage rights for same-sex couples. (

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