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Cabinet minister might quit over same-sex bill

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ST. JOHN'S, NFLD. - Natural Resources Minister John Efford said Tuesday that he may decide to resign his post rather than vote in favour of same-sex marriage when legislation is introduced in the new year.

  • INDEPTH: Same-sex rights

johnEfford, from the largely rural Newfoundland riding of Avalon, said he opposes making same-sex marriage legal, on religious grounds.

While Prime Minister Paul Martin intends to allow rank-and-file Liberal MPs to vote whichever way they choose, he has made it clear that cabinet members will be expected to vote with the government on the issue.

Efford may decide to return to the backbenches, where he could vote with his conscience.

  • FROM DEC. 9, 2004: Liberals to introduce same-sex marriage bill in January

"My credibility is at stake," said Efford.

He said he will talk to Martin about his future after meeting with church leaders in Newfoundland next week.

Efford was appointed to the Natural Resources portfolio slightly more than one year ago, when Martin formed his first cabinet after becoming prime minister.

The outspoken Liberal politician opposed same-sex marriage before his appointment to cabinet.

Northern Development Minister Joe Comuzzi has also indicated his cabinet job is less important than his personal beliefs when it comes to voting to let gay couples marry.

He said last week that he can't turn his back on the pledge he made to his constituents in Thunder Bay-Superior North to oppose same-sex marriage in the House of Commons.

Read more info on: CBC.ca

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Page last updated December 16 2004.

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