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Last Updated: Friday, 8 December 2006, 03:02 GMT
Canada upholds gay marriage law
Antony Porcino (left) and Tom Graff get married in Vancouver. File photo
Canada legalised gay marriage in 2005
Canadian MPs have rejected a proposal by the governing Conservative party to overturn a law allowing gay marriage.

Twelve Conservative MPs, including several members of the cabinet, joined Liberals and Canada's other opposition parties to defeat the motion 175-123.

During his successful election campaign earlier this year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to bring the law back before parliament.

Canada is one of just five countries where gay marriage is legal.

The law was passed after intense debate in July 2005.

Belgium, the Netherlands, South Africa and Spain are the only other countries that allow gay marriage.

'Bury the thing'

After a debate that began with few MPs in the chamber, Mr Harper conceded that the issue was unlikely to come back before the Canadian parliament.

The Conservatives put forward a motion seemingly custom-written to be defeated
Don Martin
National Post columnist
"The vote was decisive and obviously we will accept the democratic resolve of the people's representatives," he said.

Gay rights activists said the rejection of the motion demonstrated that Canadians have now accepted gay marriage.

Correspondents say that although Mr Harper draws much political support from a traditional Conservative base and is a defender of traditional definitions of marriage, he was keen not to alienate key moderate voters.

Many suggested that the Conservatives were keen to "bury the issue".

"Awkwardly written, jurisdictionally suspect and potentially unconstitutional, the Conservatives put forward a motion seemingly custom-written to be defeated," one columnist wrote in the National Post newspaper.

And a Conservative campaigner told the Globe and Mail newspaper: "You bury the issue by having the thing defeated."

Canada Senate backs gay marriage
20 Jul 05 |  Americas
Canadian MPs back gay marriages
29 Jun 05 |  Americas
Gay marriage around the globe
09 Dec 04 |  Americas
Canada debates same-sex marriage
01 Feb 05 |  Americas
Canada 'can permit gay marriage'
09 Dec 04 |  Americas
Court approves first gay divorce
15 Sep 04 |  Americas
Close vote on Canada gay marriage
17 Sep 03 |  Americas

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