Transgender rights bill appoved by Canadian Senate committee

OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada — A bill that would add gender identity to the list of classes protected from discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act cleared a Senate committee on Monday.

The measure will now head to the Senate for a third reading, and the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Grant Mitchell, is hopeful the bill will pass.

Mitchell said last month that he had confirmation from 16 Conservative senators that they will vote in favor of the bill.

“But you don’t know until you actually get there. If all 16 voted with us, then it would pass. It would be a little bit close, but it would pass,” Mitchell said.

The bill was approved in the House of Commons on March 20 by a vote of 149 to 137, and was opposed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

A final vote on the bill is expected by the end of this month. If passed, it will require royal assent before becoming law.

The granting of royal assent is the method by which Her Majesty, Elizabeth II, formally approves an act of Canada’s Parliament. This is granted less ceremonially by a letter of patent to the Governor-General who merely signs the bill.

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