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Canada's Conservatives Just Got Rid Of A Policy Opposing Gay Marriage

A vote has stripped opposition to gay marriage from the party's platform.

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Canada's Conservatives just voted to eliminate a party policy opposing gay marriage.

MP Michelle Rempel celebrates the vote results.
Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS

MP Michelle Rempel celebrates the vote results.

Delegates at the Conservative convention in Vancouver voted 1,036 to 462 on Saturday to delete a party line that defined marriage as between one man and one woman.

The vote followed a first round of voting on Friday and an emotional debate on Saturday.

Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press

Some delegates had argued that eliminating the policy would scare social conservatives away from the party.

One former Conservative MP even cited dystopian literature in denouncing the proposal. "In George Orwell's 1984 book, people in power actually enforced their views by changing the very meaning of words," Stephen Woodworth said. "And that's exactly what's happened in Canada today, we don't even have a word anymore for the institution of marriage."

"Conservatives don't tear down institutions, let's leave the institution of marriage as-is," he added.

Another delegate said gay marriage deprives children of what he sees as the necessary mother-father parental structure. Some in the crowd booed and yelled "shame" as he spoke.

And, also good for the Conservatives that they loudly expressed disgust and rejection of homophobic comments by a couple delegates. #CPC16

Many of those who supported the proposal said the party needed to catch up with the times. Canada legalized gay marriage at the federal level in 2005.

"Today, we can show Canada that Conservatives support small government, personal liberties, and the equality of all Canadians, while still supporting and respecting the freedoms of religious organizations," said Natalie Pon, a Conservative from Edmonton who worked on the proposal.

“It is long past the time that we can show that we truly support the equality of all Canadians.”

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier, left, hugs Natalie Pon as she celebrates the vote results.
Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier, left, hugs Natalie Pon as she celebrates the vote results.

Another supporter appeared to borrow a famous quote from former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, the father of current Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — though she later said that wasn't her intention.

“I come from a country where homosexuals are hanged,” Goldie Ghamari told the crowd.

"It is a fundamental human right and government does not have a place in your bedroom," she finished.

Emma Loop is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. PGP fingerprint: 4A39 DD99 953C 6CAF D68C 85CD C380 AB23 859B 0611.

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