Of all the political changes you might have expected to see in Canada, having Stephen Harper’s Conservatives become pro-LGBT must be one of the least likely:
A mere seven years ago, the Tories were famously the opponents of same sex marriage. Now, the Harper Conservatives freely push gay rights abroad and even host an annual gathering of gay Tories. While they remain the favourite punching bag for Canadian LGBT activists, have the Harper Tories become unlikely warriors for gay rights?
“I can no longer shock people in the conservative movement when I tell them I’m gay – but I can shock gay people when I tell them I’m Conservative,” said Fred Litwin, and former vice-president of the Ottawa Centre Conservatives.
In June, Mr. Litwin was one of the organizers of the Fabulous Blue Tent Party, a gathering of approximately 800 gay Conservatives at Ottawa’s Westin Hotel that went until 3 a.m.
[. . .]
“It’s no secret that the Conservative Party hasn’t always been the biggest champion of gay rights, but public pressure, and quite frankly, society evolving has changed their views,” said Jamie Ellerton, an openly gay former staffer for Mr. Kenney.
“The Conservative Party, like the rest of society, has moved to be more supportive of gay rights in recent years, and I see that trend continuing,” he said.
[. . .]
After the 2011 suicide of gay Ottawa teen Jamie Hubley, Mr. Baird told the House that homophobia has no place in Canadian schools, and then appeared with other Tory MPs in a video for the “It Gets Better Project,” an online campaign looking to curb the disproportionately high suicide rates among LGBT youth.
In June, members of the Tory caucus even came to the rescue of a transgendered rights bill put forward by NDP MP Randall Garrison. Promising to protect transgender people under the Canadian Human Rights Act and make anti-transgender violence a hate crime, the bill passed second reading thanks to the support of 15 Conservative MPs, including Jim Flaherty and Lisa Raitt.