The Canadian Senate voted 67-11 on June 15 to pass a bill that would protect transgender people by banning discrimination against gender identity and expression.
Bill C-16 adds these protections to the Canadian Human Rights Act, bans hate speech and allows judges to consider whether a crime was motivated by the perpetrator's hatred of gender expression or identity, notes NBC News.
C-16 is expected to pass royal assent, which could happen the week of June 19, and become law. Once it does, transgender people will be legally protected at provincial (state) and federal levels.
Jody Wilson-Raybould, the attorney general of Canada issued a statement in support of C-16, notes Global News.
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"In Canada we celebrate inclusion and diversity, and all Canadians should feel safe to be themselves," the statement reads. "Trans and gender diverse persons must be granted equal status in Canadian society, and this bill makes that status explicit in Canadian law."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted on June 15: "Great news: Bill C-16 has passed the Senate -- making it illegal to discriminate based on gender identity or expression. #LoveisLove."
Lawmakers, who oppose C-16, said it "criminalizes" incorrect pronoun use, violates free speech and is a threat to "women only" areas like rape crisis centers, reports NBC News.
However, organizations that oppose violence against women say such assertions are "harmful," and that "trans women are women."
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The Campaign Life Coalition, the political arm of Canada's pro-life movement, slammed the passage of C-16.
Jack Fonseca, senior political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition, told LifeSite that C-16 would be used to attack Christian beliefs: "Mark my words, this law will not be used as some sort of ‘shield’ to defend vulnerable transsexuals, but rather as a weapon with which to bludgeon people of faith and free-thinking Canadians who refuse to deny truth."
Campaign Life’s Toronto Vice President Jeff Gunnarson added: "This tyrannical bill is nothing but social engineering to the nth degree, all in the name of political correctness."
Gunnarson also said more "pro-family" politicians are needed to run the country.
"We need to step up our efforts to seek out and elect sensible pro-life and pro-family candidates," Gunnarson said. "The Catholic leadership especially needs to flex their muscle, call their parishioners to action and help to bring about a revolt. The passage of C-16 is one of many bad bills that will bring about the fall of our nation."
D. Jared Brown, a lawyer, said in his testimony to the Senate committee that C-16 would mean pronoun enforcement.
"Mandating use of pronouns requires one to use words that are not their own that imply a belief in or agreement with a certain theory on gender," Brown said. "If you try to disavow that theory, you can be brought before the Human Rights Commission for misgendering or potentially find yourself guilty of a hate crime. To sum up, on the subject of gender, we’re going to have government-mandated speech."