Canada’s largest union is fighting for same-sex marriage at a presentation to the House of Commons Justice Committee. Tomorrow, Judy Darcy, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), will tell Members of Parliament to give full marriage rights to lesbian and gay couples. “For twenty years, CUPE has been speaking out on behalf of lesbian and gay workers at the bargaining table,” says Darcy. “We’ve broken new ground on pension rights for same-sex partners. We’ve also spoken up for same-sex marriage, and we think it’s about time the federal government made it legal.”
CUPE won a landmark pension decision when it took the federal government to court to protect its definition of same-sex couples as spouses. “The fight for equality has not been easy,” says Darcy, “but we’ve pushed ahead, and we’re not going to stop until we have full equality for all Canadian workers.”
In 1991, CUPE members established the Pink Triangle Committee, to encourage the fight for lesbian and gay rights. Fred Hahn, a member of the committee, will accompany the national president to tomorrow’s hearing. He says CUPE considered all the options that Members of Parliament are debating, but in the end, the choice was easy. “Supporting an all-out marriage ban might incite a backlash against the lesbian and gay community,” Hahn says, “and a separate-but-equal system of civil unions would make us look like we’re not ready for the marriage club. In the interests of healthy and happy lives, and equal opportunity for all, CUPE’s position is clear: lesbians and gays deserve full societal recognition of our relationships.”
CUPE represent half a million workers of all backgrounds. Judy Darcy’s presentation to the House of Commons Justice Committee will take place Tuesday, February 25th, 9 a.m., in Room 308 of Parliament’s West Block.
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For more information:
Kaj Hasselriis, CUPE Communications, (613) 237-1590 ext. 268 or (613) 798-6925