Professor Christabelle Sethna and her co-editor, Christopher Dummitt (Trent University), focus on the origins and legacy of the 1969 Omnibus Bill in regard to birth control, homosexuality and abortion in Canada.
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“There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” Pierre Elliott Trudeau told reporters. He was making the case for the most controversial of his proposed reforms to the Criminal Code, those concerning homosexuality, birth control, and abortion.
In No Place for the State, contributors offer complex and often contrasting perspectives as they assess how the 1969 Omnibus Bill helped shape sexual and moral politics in Canada by examining the bill’s origins, social implications, and repercussions. The new legal regime had significant consequences in such areas as adoption, divorce, and suicide. After the bill passed, a great many Canadians continued to challenge how sexual behaviour was governed; and feminist and gay liberation activists took the reforms as a starting point, demanding much more exhaustive changes to the law.
Fifty years later, there is no definitive story of the Omnibus Bill and its origins and legacies are equivocal. The state still seems interested in the bedrooms of the nation, and this incisive study explains why that matters.