“There is no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation”

Quote from then-Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau when he introduced modernizing reforms to the Criminal Code1 in 1967 that decriminalized homosexual acts.

Trudeau’s phrase captured the zeitgeist of a new, more permissive era. It was a harbinger of progressive Canadian thinking on subjects of “morality” through subsequent years, and its sentiment runs through the creation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the early 1980s and the embrace of gay marriage in the early years of the 21st Century.

The phrase also helped launch Trudeau to political superstardom. It signalled a sharp generational shift in Canadian political leadership, away from Lester Pearson and John Diefenbaker, both born in the 19th Century. Further, it marked Trudeau as an edgy, iconoclastic and refreshingly sophisticated politician. Simply put, in one phrase, Trudeau signalled a generational change of guard and the dawn of a new era in Canadian politics.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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