The Canadian government yesterday introduced its same-sex marriage legislation in parliament in a bid to make gay marriage legal across the nation.

The law is expected to face strong opposition from the Conservative Party, who along with religious groups are campaigning against the proposal.

The Roman Catholic Church has joined forces with Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Orthodox Jewish groups to defeat the legislation. Quebec archbishop Marc Cardinal Ouellet, primate of Canada’s Roman Catholic Church, said in an open letter Canadians should not underestimate the impact of such legislation, The Advocate reported.

The bill threatens to unleash nothing less than cultural upheaval whose negative consequences are still impossible to predict, Ouellet said.

A poll by the Canada’s The Globe And Mail newspaper found only 139 members of parliament said they would vote in favour of the bill, 15 short of the required number. According to the survey, 118 are opposed to it, while 49 would not reveal how they will vote, reported.

The legislation, drafted by the office of Prime Minister Paul Martin, comes after many of Canada’s provinces and territories ruled in favour of allowing same-sex marriage.

However after the Supreme Court backed the proposals outlined in the legislation, the government is still expecting the bill to pass.

If approved, Canada will be the third country to extend full marriage rights to same-sex couples after the Netherlands and Belgium.

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