The government could invoke closure, and force a vote. A vote they would win, but it would show that not all Liberals support SSM, and that's NOT what the Liberals want to demonstrate.
Paul Martin should come out and say, "The reason we cannot pass C-38 is because we'll have nothing to throw at the Conservatives in the next election. Quite frankly, we're pretty incompetent and we're hoping people will forget that fact as they usually do. By stalling on this, and making sure it looks like it's the Conservatives not playing nice and not the fact that internally we'll appear divided, we can ensure that we have a hot-button item at the polls to say, 'Nyah, nyah, Conservatives are EEEEVIL.'
Even advocates of SSM are against Martin (from PM: Same-sex law could be delayed):
"The government can pass the equal marriage legislation if the government wants to," Alex Munter of Canadians For Equal Marriage said.NDP's Libby Davis:
"Where's the leadership and the commitment to get this bill through? It's been around long enough. Where's the commitment?"Remember, I'm for SSM, so I don't support the Conservative Party's overall objection (I accept differing opinions within the party), but it's not the Conservative's fault that the bill isn't passing.
(Aside, is "filibustering" a word?)