If you take for granted that reopening the same-sex marriage debate is a bad idea from a human rights and social justice standpoint, you’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of the multitude of reasons this vote shouldn’t be taking place.
First, it’s a politically cynical move. Harper’s not just doing this because he said he would. (He’s already demonstrated his sense of humour by breaking a key promise that had the word “trust” in it.) Rather, he’s orchestrating this vote because a number of his socially conservative MPs and supporters want him to prove that he’s still at least open to the idea of discriminating based on sexual orientation. (Call it, neo-openmindedness.) Since the vote is almost certain to fail, that’s the only thing he could possibly accomplish.
Second, it’s a moot move. Not only is the vote likely to fail, but even if it succeeded, Harper would need to invoke the Charter’s notwithstanding clause in order to actually outlaw same-sex marriage, and he already said he wouldn’t do that. So, again, what are we doing here?
Finally, it’s a waste of time. The House can only accomplish so much, and there’s lots to do. They shouldn’t spend any more energy on something that was already decided (and decided correctly) just to appeal to the small number of Canadians who want to believe they’re still voting for the Reform party. And Canada should not be subjected to more divisiveness because a minority government wants to boost its ratings.