CCGSD proposes stamp to mark 50th anniversary of 1969 Criminal Code amendments

“… there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” – Then-Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1967, the year he introduced his Omnibus Bill (also known as Bill C-150)

The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) has submitted a proposal to Canada Post in an ongoing campaign to commemorate the 1969 amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada with a stamp.

The CCGSD proposed both a stamp and coin be issued by Canada Post and the Royal Canadian Mint, respectively, in 2019. Both proposals were submitted in September 2016.

“Seeing yourself reflected in a stamp, in a coin, in a symbol, is very important to queer and trans people who often don’t see themselves included,” said CCGSD Executive Director Jeremy Dias in an interview with Daily Xtra. “Now is a great time for queer and trans people to sort of take into account where our human-rights movement has been going for the past 50 years.”

From Canadian Confederation in 1867 until 1969—a period of 102 years—homosexuality was punishable by up to 14 years in prison; however, in 1969, the Criminal Code was amended with many changes, including decriminalizing acts of sodomy between consenting adults of at least 21 years of age.

As noted by CBC, the bill “did not attempt to decriminalize homosexuality but instead established a distinction between public and private sexual acts. The bill only stated that certain sexual acts (such as sodomy) between consenting (homosexual or heterosexual) adults aged 21 years or older, when performed in private, were legal. The presence of more than two people made such acts ‘public’ and therefore still considered illegal.”

On Dec. 19, 1968, then-prime minister John Turner tabled Bill C-150, which proposed a 120-clause amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada. Aside from homosexuality, the amendments also updated abortion laws and gun ownership restrictions; legalized lotteries; and allowed police to perform breathalyser tests on suspected drunk drivers if there’s reasonable and probable cause.

“We need to recognize 1969 as what it was,” Dias told Daily Xtra. “It was a step; it didn’t do everything.”

According to the Daily Extra report, the CCGSD proposed a theme to Canada Post and the Mint but did not include suggestions for specific images. The group also plans to ask the Department of Canadian Heritage to make 2019 an official anniversary of the 1969 law changes.

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