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Canada’s House of Commons approves transgender rights bill

OTTAWA — Canada’s House of Commons on Wednesday passed a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against transgender people.

The bill now goes to the Senate, which is unelected and is expected to approve it.

“Today, New Democrats are proud to have contributed to ensuring equal protection under the law from discrimination and hatred based on gender identity,” said Randall Garrison of the New Democrat Party, in a statement after the vote.

“Transgender and transsexual citizens are among the most marginalized and are too often victims of harassment and acts of violence,” he said.

The bill is one of the first tests of the Conservative caucus’ resolve on gay and transgender rights in Canada at a time when Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has been mounting a strong defense of such rights abroad.

The legislation passed Wednesday by a vote of 149-137, with the crucial support of 16 Conservatives, including four cabinet ministers.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper opposed the bill.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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