Please express your opposition to Bill S-9. Write a letter calling for an end to marriage discrimination:

The Prime Minister of Canada

and

Canada's Justice Minister

 

 

 

 

 

"All we ask from the world is equality not privledge and to have our 26 year relationship recognized by the law. It is amazing how laws can change the way the world thinks. "
Tom Allworth and Al Pittman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"As long as discrimination continues to be sanctioned at the highest level while the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms is waved about, until we as individuals and as a country start to think for ourselves and not the way we are told, and until we are prepared to stand up and say"the emperor has no clothes", we will continue to be less than who we are capable of being."
Barb McDowall & Gail Donnelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The time is right for Canadians, regardless of sexual orientation, to be considered full members of our society, and it is the strong voices of those who want to see justice done that must prevail."
-Hedy Halpern, March 18, 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"To enshrine a flawed definition of marriage into legislation in order to pander to the religious views of a vocal few is exactly the sort of travesty that
we the people look to government to prevent."
Joe Varnell, March 18, 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"It good to see you use your charm and wit in the Senate, may you long be a champion of human rights."
Lloyd Thornhill & Bob Peacock.
March 18, 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Gail and I believe that we are full Canadian citizens and that anything less than equality before the law is unacceptable. We refuse to accept second class status."
Barbara McDowall, Toronto

 

 

 

 

"We are on the threshold of a brave, new world that since September 11, we so desperately need. There is a yearning for peace, there is a yearning for harmony and there is a yearning for inclusion. And we are looking for leadership."
Barbara McDowall, Toronto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"We are sure that you are aware that your taking this position in public will result in hostile comments and unpleasant mail coming to your office, all "proper and righteous" in tone. We too know a great deal about this kind of criticism and that is why we want you to know that you have friends across Canada who respect you enormously."
Michael Hendricks & René LeBoeuf
Montreal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"It takes courage and strength to take a stand, as you have done, when so many around you do nothing, or use their positions of authority and power to undermine the Canadian tradition of tolerance and inclusion."
Kevin Bourassa & Joe Varnell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"It is through your efforts, boldness, and bravery, that one day soon, we will be able to say with pride: 'The engagement is over my love, will you marry me?'"
Lloyd Thornhill & Bob Peacock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by: Anne France Goldwater
Anne France Goldwater

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the United States in 1999, there were 1317 incidents of reported hate crimes based on sexual orientation. In those incidents, 1376 of the offenders were known to have previously committed a hate crime.
Data taken from the FBI Hate Crimes Statistics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"do we love and respect and understand our fellow gay and lesbian Canadians as much as anyone else, that we are ready to grant them full citizenship, the full benefit of that label of "decency" which we accord so readily to ordinary married couples, who themselves do nothing more than care for each other, build their households, and, if so blessed, raise children together?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join us as we legalize same-sex marriage.  Subscribe to our free newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Kevin Bourassa, 2001
Charmaine Peever and Cheryl Jacobs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Until gays and lesbians stand up as equals in our society and expect the same treatment as the rest of their citizens, the mainstream will continue to ask us to 'sit at the back of the bus'."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The churches and government of our land must accept a portion of the blame for the violence against gays and lesbians of Canada. Pastors of many churches preach that homosexuality is an abomination against God, and we must change our sexuality. Well, I think that their sermons are an abomination in God's eyes. God weeps over the Church as the Pharisees in the pulpits preach hate and intolerance."
Lloyd Thornhill & Bob Peacock
British Columbia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Clio Denny
Robin Roberts and Diana Denny

 

 

"Because we are lesbians, all six of us in our family have had to battle for one after another after another of the rights that other Canadian citizens take for granted."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Why not be completely inclusive of the whole of society with this wonderful, life-giving benefit?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

"We need your help to keep Canada on track, to help us achieve true equality as loving, productive, hard-working Canadian citizens. Throw out Bill S-9."
Robin Roberts, British Columbia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"In my situation, since my fiancé is transgender, according to the marriage law, he cannot marry a female because he is biologically female (same-sex). He is on hormone treatments (Testosterone) replacement treatments and looks male. He has had his name legally changed to a male name and in outward appearance we are a heterosexual couple. Yet, according to Bill S-9, he would only be able to marry another man?"
Donna, Alberta

 

 

 

 

 

"A simple solution was given to me by my fiancé’s 10 year old son. Equality for All. Every Canadian has the right to marry and it should not matter what their sexual orientation may be."
Donna, Alberta

 

 

 


 

Advocacy - Letters - Bill S-9

Letters to Senator Wilson

March 14, 2002

Dear Senator Wilson:

It was wonderful to read your words in support of equal marriage for same-sex couples (March 13, 2002, senate debate on Bill S-9). In particular, your authority as a person of faith gave particular weight to your comments regarding the need for the separation of church and state.

Your encouragement, as we await the decision in our Ontario case, is timely, necessary, and most welcome.

Knowing you will come under pressure from various groups, we hope you will find the strength to continue to challenge and engage opponents in dialogue until we have achieved the just society that Canadians aspire to. Please continue to look for opportunities to use your influence to end marriage discrimination.

In equality,

Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell



March 14, 2002

Senator Wilson,

My Partner, Al and myself would like to thank you for your support and your integrity to stand for what is morally and ethically right. We are part of the Ontario group who are anxiously waiting for the results of the November court case regarding same sex marriages. All we ask from the world is equality not privledge and to have our 26 year relationship recognized by the law. It is amazing how laws can change the way the world thinks. Just think, a number of years ago, it was a criminal act to be a homosexual and now we can be out and have been accepted by many in society. To date I have never been rejected by someone simply because I am Gay. As a former member of the United Church of Canada I remember you taking office as Moderator. The United Church has been a leader in the main stream Church community in changing attitudes towards Gays and Lesbians. As a Deacon of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto I am proud to stand up and say the my true spiritual roots and faith foundation came as part of my early Christian upbringing in the United Church.

Your support means a great deal to us.

Thank you

Tom Allworth & Al Pittman


March 15, 2002

Dear Senator Wilson,

We wanted to take a moment to thank you for your informed comments with regard to the nature of Bill S-9 and the recognition that we must, as individuals, begin to think critically about the beliefs that our parents, as well as our religious and political leaders have instilled in us. As your story shows exposure and reflection about what we don't understand will end the use and abuse of spirituality to turn people against one another. To paraphrase St. Francis, the more we try to understand others, the more we will in turn be understood. Each one of us is responsible for the views that we hold and how authentic are those views?

We are blessed to have such thoughtful and intelligent advocates like you to remind the rest of us of the truth. As long as discrimination continues to be sanctioned at the highest level while the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms is waved about, until we as individuals and as a country start to think for ourselves and not the way we are told, and until we are prepared to stand up and say"the emperor has no clothes", we will continue to be less than who we are capable of being.

Thank you for having the courage to stand up and speak the truth on behalf of every Canadian. Our faith in a meaningful Senate has just been restored!

Keep up the great work and know that you have the support of an ever-growing number of responsible Canadians.

With respect,
Barbara McDowall & Gail Donnelly
Toronto, Ontario



Letters to Senator LaPierre

March 18, 2002

Dear Senator LaPierre,

As one of the litigants in Ontario in the same-sex marriage challenge, I would like to add my voice to those who support you in your debate with Senator Cools. The time is right for Canadians, regardless of sexual orientation, to be considered full members of our society, and it is the strong voices of those who want to see justice done that must prevail.

I firmly believe that those who fought for the rights of women in this country in the courts were equally challenged before women were considered "persons" in 1930, and it took courage to fight those battles, too. The end result is that women are now accorded full rights under the law.

You are following in mighty powerful footsteps as you do battle at the dawn of the 21st century... and I thank you for your courage.

Sincerely,

Hedy Halpern
Windsor, Ontario


March 18, 2002

Dear Senator LaPierre

I am writing to express my support fro the position you have taken, both with respect to Bill S-9 and also in warning the honourable members of the Senate, not to rely too heavily on the ruling of Mr. Justice Pitfield in the matter of equal marriage.

You have rightly and justly spoken in the interests of all Canadians by defending the rights of citizens against the ugly prejudice of Bill S-9. To enshrine a flawed definition of marriage into legislation in order to pander to the religious views of a vocal few is exactly the sort of travesty that
we the people look to government to prevent.

As to the decision of Mr. Justice Pitfield. Your assertion that judges can be wrong is bourne out by the words of Justice Pitfield himself in his own decision. Several times, he questions whether the reasoning and logic he has applied are correct. And it is very curious that Senator Cools has not
mentionned that the Pitfield decision is being appealed AND that in his ruling, Justice Pitfield himself acknowledged that it was discriminatory to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry. He is simply of the opinion that discrimination is justified and that is a matter that higher courts will wrestle with.

Again Senator, my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for what you have said and what you continue to do. You may receive many negative comments, but please know that there are just as many who will stand and applaud you for
standing up for justice.

Warmest Regards

Joe Varnell



March 18, 2002

Dear Sir:


My partner Bob and I would like to offer you our thanks for speaking out against Bill S-9. We are one of the couples from B.C. who are involved in the same-sex marriage challenge and I want you to know that you could not say anything about Justice Pifield's decision that we haven't already said. We remember you well as a broadcaster here in Vancouver and always found you a very articulate and knowledgeable person. It good to see you use your charm and wit in the Senate, may you long be a champion of human rights. Again, we wanted to express our sincere gratitude to you, and thank you very much.

Yours,

Lloyd Thornhill
Bob Peacock


March 19, 2002

Dear Senator LaPierre,

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the importance of your response to Bill S-9 re the Pitfield decision in B.C. It is extremely important that Canadians know the truth.

One of the most important moments of my life was when I married my partner, Gail Donnelly in 2000.Before our family and friends, we declared publicly the love and commitment that we felt for each other. Gail and I believe that we are full Canadian citizens and that anything less than equality before the law is unacceptable. We refuse to accept second class status.

As long as we are governed by fear , we will not realize our full potential as evolved human beings. It is time for each one of us to do our own critical thinking and arrive at the truth. What year are we living in? Is this 2002 or have we fallen back somehow to 1867? We have made immense progress on so many fronts. Are we prepared to wipe all that away for the sake of those few that prefer the pay off of fear.
This country leads the way in human rights, and until it can take care of the rights of all its own citizens, it has no business preaching human rights to the rest of the world.

We are on the threshold of a brave, new world that since September 11, we so desperately need. There is a yearning for peace, there is a yearning for harmony and there is a yearning for inclusion. And we are looking for leadership.

The response by Senators Jaffer and Wilson is heartwarming. I am delighted to see just where you stand. And I see you standing for truth. I am proud of the action that some of our Senators are taking. I applaud your courage!! Know that you are speaking for Canadians who seek a better world, a world in which we are all welcomed at the table.

Warmly,
Barbara McDowall


Letters to Senator Jaffer

The Honorable Mobina Jaffer,
Senator for British Columbia,
Parliament of Canada,
Ottawa, Ontario

Dear Senator Jaffer,

We were overjoyed to read your comments concerning the social importance of extending full civil equality to homosexuals, including access to civil marriage. That a Canadian Senator could stand up for us and "tell it like
it is" was, at first, a shock and, then, an enormous relief. A shock because we never expected a Senator to speak out on our behalf (are we naïve?) and a relief because we now know that someone up there cares.

Having lived together for more than a quarter century, we decided to ask for access to civil marriage in Québec. This has led us on a three year quest for justice that has turned into an incredible voyage through unfamiliar territory---lawyers, mortgages (to pay for the lawyers), courtrooms, media exposure--- to a whole new group of friends, from coast to coast to coast. Almost every day of the last three years has revealed something new and wonderful for us.

And, best of all, it has made our "relationship" stronger and more mature. An experience that we could never have expected, that has enriched our life together.

But, on September 14, 1998, when we first announced our intention to marry civilly, had someone told us that, one day in the not too far future, a Canadian Senator will speak some "home truths" to our nation about the importance of the equality and the dignity that you seek, we would never,
never have believed it. Here we are in November 2001 and a Senator has spoken.

How can we thank you for your thoughtfulness, your strength, your straightforwardness?

We are sure that you are aware that your taking this position in public will result in hostile comments and unpleasant mail coming to your office, all "proper and righteous" in tone. We too know a great deal about this kind of criticism and that is why we want you to know that you have friends across Canada who respect you enormously. And who are so proud of you for what you have done.

Again, we thank you and we want you to know that we admire you for your courage. From your courage, we take heart.

Sincerely,

Michael Hendricks and René LeBoeuf
Montréal, QC
November 27, 2001


Dear Senator Jaffer:

I read, with great appreciation, of your stand for equality, and your support of the right for any couple to choose who they will marry. I married my spouse, Joe Varnell, at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, on January 14 this year. We went to court this month in Ontario, in an effort to force Ontario and Canada to register and recognize our marriage. Canada's lawyer, representing the Attorney General of Canada, described her own argument against equal marriage as "lame" , yet government
continues to resist.

There are, as you know, couples in British Columbia and Quebec who are also seeking equality in the courts. It takes courage and strength to take a stand, as you have done, when so many around you do nothing, or use their positions of authority and power to undermine the Canadian tradition of tolerance and inclusion.

We need your voice, locally and nationally; we hope that you will continue to speak out as we continue our struggle for justice and equality. Thank you for helping to sustain this effort. Thank you for showing political courage and integrity in the face of strong opposition.

We would love to add your thoughts and words to our web site! Please consider contributing a statement (or past speach?) in support of equal marriage.

In appreciation for your example and leadership,

Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell
Toronto, Ontario
November 27, 2001


Dear Senator Jaffer:

Please accept this note as a message of thanks, from two gay men who appreciate your public view of equal-marriage. When Bob and I met in 1968, he was twenty years old and I was 25. We are now 54 and 59. We have lived our lives together, through many struggles, and mountains that had to be scaled. There have been times of great pain and grief, as we lost members of our families. But, there has been overwhelming joy, whenever we made a small step towards equality. Bob and I are now involved in what will probably be our final battle for justice. We want to marry, and show our love for each other in a very public way. You are one more candle that shines a bright light in the darkness of homophobia. It is through your efforts, boldness, and bravery, that one day soon, we will be able to say with pride: " The engagement is over my love, will you marry me"?

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Lloyd Thornhill / Bob Peacock
Vancouver, BC
November 28, 2001



The Honorable Mobina Jaffer,
Senator for British Columbia
Parliament of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
Dear Senator,

I am an attorney for the same-sex couple, Michael Hendricks and René LeBoeuf, who are challenging the constitutionality of the prohibition against same sex marriage currently being heard in Montreal.

It has come to my attention that you have spoken out in favour of granting equal access to marriage to gay and lesbian couples who wish to to engage in this noble institution.

It has also come to my attention that your courageous stand has drawn criticism from certain quarters.

Well, Senator, please rest assured that there are many Canadians who are behind you, and who admire your willingness to speak out against this discrimination that besmirches our nation's good name.

When we all read about the heinous conviction in Egypt of scores of men who had nothing more ignoble than engage in a "debauched" party on a private cruise ship (ergo, they were homosexual), we shook our collective heads in disbelief that there are still nations who seek to criminalize ordinary sexual behaviour between consenting adults. Those of us who heard the howls of anguish of the convicted men in watching the news report on CNN were chilled by this event, and wondered what fate awaits these men in prison.

When we all read about the Taliban condemning homosexuals to death by bulldozing walls upon their living bodies, again, we were chilled at the hatred that prevails in other nations against this vulnerable minority.

Yet again, we in Canada are called upon to set the standard of humanitarian and decent treatment of all our citizens. The world looks to us for our decency, our tolerance, our sense of inclusiveness. Perplexing isn't it that we have so little awareness of how much we are admired elsewhere in the world for nothing more complex than our compassion for our fellow man?

And now you, Senator, have laid down the gauntlet for Parliament.

Your words have provoked a call to your fellow senators to reconsider positions, which, although perhaps innocently held in the past, now require reconsideration: do we love and respect and understand our fellow gay and lesbian Canadians as much as anyone else, that we are ready to grant them full citizenship, the full benefit of that label of "decency" which we accord so readily to ordinary married couples, who themselves do nothing more than care for each other, build their households, and, if so blessed, raise children together?

Or do we still carry deep in our hearts a flicker of hatred when we wish to withhold from gay and lesbian couples that ultimate sign of respect, somehow still grasping that discriminatory view that "their" relationships are less noble, less dignified, than our own messy marriages?

When I was called upon in Court to plead to the notion of "judicial deference", I had to justify to the Court why I thought it necessary that the Court to act to end this discrimination, lest the trial judge determine that she could have confidence Parliament would do the job.

And so, I pointed out to our trial judge that nothing prevented Parliament from convening the very next day, bright and early, and deciding to show the political will to grant equality to gays and lesbians. I felt it was indeed up to Parliament to lead the nation, to set the standard for what is right and just, and not slavishly to follow the dictates of those few for whom homosexuality remains a subject of revulsion. It is these few who hide their negative feelings about homosexuality itself, who then are so flustered by this concept of equal marriage, and who are so panicked that "those people" would be admitted to "their" institution.

Yet, it is the revulsion of those few that has prevented Parliament from acting.

And it was painful indeed for all of us to read the Parliamentary Debates which surrounded the eventual adoption of Bill C-23, Parliamentary Debates which we are now requiring our trial judge to read, so that she can experience for herself the voices of intolerance that were heard in the most august halls of our government.

Reading those transcripts made me realize just how fine the line is between our sense of civilization and that of the other nations whose treatment of gays we consider so offensive.

And so, it takes someone like you, Senator, to bring a strong voice of conviction to explain the simple decency and strong morality of welcoming gays and lesbians into that fellowship of true Canadian citizens.

I thank you again, Senator, for speaking out on behalf of this historically disadvantaged minority, and for reminding your fellow Senators that marriage is still indeed a cherished institution for ALL Canadians, whatever their personal ­ and private ­ sexuality.

Anne-France Goldwater
Montreal, Quebec
November 29, 2001


Dear Senator Jaffer,

This is just a brief note to let you know how much your support of same sex marriage means to me. I have been blessed by a loving and supportive family who accept and honour my spouse. There are, however, many who are not so accepting, who belittle our relationship. We were joined in a ceremony by our church and consider ourselves to be a married couple yet we must enshrine the inherent rights of a spouse through the use of legal documents.

Canada is a world leader in peaceful democracy and social justice. We lead not with armed weapons but with social conscience. Let us lead the world and prove for all time that this is a land open and accepting of all it's citizens. When we see an injustice we do something about it - you have seen the injustice and spoken out on our behalf.

Praise! Thanks! and Many Blessings to you!!

Charmaine Peever
Markdale ON

November 29, 2001


Dear Senator Jaffer,

Thank you so much for your sane remarks supporting equal marraige for same sex couples. My wife, Gail and I, are just one of many couples across this country who are seeking the legal recognition of our marriages.

And we are closely watching our elected and appointed officials to see just where their hearts lie. Its now past the time for rhetoric. It is time for right action. This is a time for a coming together as the human family. No longer can segments of society be segrated, separated from the whole. As long as this kind of behaviour is condoned it sends a strong message that we are to be treated with disdain, with violence.

Until gays and lesbians stand up as equals in our society and expect the same treatment as the rest of their citizens, the mainstream will continue to ask us to "sit at the back of the bus". A growing number of us believe that we already belong just by being here, just the way we are and we will continue to seek what is rightfully ours.

Your stand in our defense is most commendable and courageous. Courage takes heart and the heart is where love abides. And that is what we are about.

Know that your right action has been noticed by many and that you have our full support and love.

Blessings to you

Barbara McDowall and Gail Donnelly
Toronto, ON
November 29. 2001

The Senator's Reply

Dear Barbara McDowall,

I want to thank you for your kind words of support.

While it is always important to me that Canada's Senate supports the human rights of all individual members of Canadian society, I am certain that you are aware that supporting fundamental human rights is, from time-to-time, not uniformly popular. Your message was very timely.

Thank you for helping me keep what is right at the top of my mind.

Mobina S.B. Jaffer, Q.C.
Senator (British Columbia)
December 5, 2001


Letters to Senator Carstairs

March 18, 2002

Dear Senator Carstairs:


My partner Bob Peacock and I have been in our committed relationship since 1968. We have been gay before our birth. As Christians we believe that God knew us while we were in our mother's womb, so believing that, God knew that we were ordained to be gay. Senator, we have fought discrimination and intolerance all of our lives and it seems the fight continues. I recently watched the Matthew Shepard story and I must admit my heart was broken. This story of a young gay man, guilty of nothing more than trying to find his place in society. To be viciously beaten and killed by two other young men, who through ignorance, upbringing, and societies views of our community, thought it ok to kill a "Faggot." Well Senator it is not alright, and you sit in a position to stop such crimes. The churches and government of our land must accept a portion of the blame for the violence against gays and lesbians of Canada. Pastors of many churches preach that homosexuality is an abomination against God, and we must change our sexuality. Well, I think that their sermons are an abomination in God's eyes. God weeps over the Church as the Pharisees in the pulpits preach hate and intolerance. The doors of the church are closed against us, as Jesus stands with us and knocks. He is saying: Please, let us come in and sup with you, but those doors remain closed. Senator, we beg you to vote against this atrocious bill, and stand with us in support of our right to love the person God has chosen for us.

With respect,

Lloyd Thornhill and Bob Peacock
British Columbia


March 21, 2002

Dear Senator Carstairs,

Bill S-9 says:

"Marriage has the meaning declared in 1866 decision of Hyde v. Hyde in the Courts of Probate and Divorce in the United Kingdom, and as understood in sections 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867, being a voluntary union of one man and one woman as husband and wife to the exclusion of all others."

Thank heavens a lot has changed since 1866. In the 1970's, I was raped by my husband when I was so ill with pneumonia that the doctor said I should be in the hospital. This was during a time in my life when I didn't know what my legal rights were, when I was in a psychological 'victim' state of mind. Ten years later, I learned it was wrong, that I had rights, including the right to divorce. However, if this had happened to me while under the strictures of the Hyde v. Hyde decision, I would have had to accept such marital rape as my fate, over and over again, with no recourse to divorce.

There have been so many social improvements in the last century and a half in our good country, including a law saying that husbands may no longer rape their wives, that spouses can, thankfully, receive supportive counselling both legally and psychologically, thereby living much healthier, longer, happier lives. As a result, so can our children, whom we can help grow into wonderful, productive, supportive men and women, because the laws and social structures have changed since 1866. Thank heavens most of Canada seems to be learning from historical mistakes, progressing in social compassion since 1866.

Unfortunately, we're in danger of slipping backwards with the pressing of Bill S-9. Everyone, of every sexual persuasion, needs the right to commit themselves to monogamous loving relationships. We need the right to safety in marriage as certainly as our children need the right to be protected by the legal aspects that come with having parents who are happily married, supported by the laws of a benevolent country. Studies show that children have a greater chance of thriving if they live with happily married parents and/or step-parents. We need equal rights to marriage as certainly as each partner in a marriage needs the freedom not to be raped by the other. Studies also show that people have a greater chance of living longer if they are married. Why not be completely inclusive of the whole of society with this wonderful, life-giving benefit?

If my partner and I could have married soon after we got together over eighteen years ago, it would have made life so much easier for our four children, as well as for us. We six could have relaxed legally, as completely as any other family in interacting with our peers, in our workplace, and even walking hand in hand along the sidewalk. By so doing, we could have freed up an amazing amount of psychic energy for greater productivity in all aspects of work, community involvement, and medical and social health. As it is, because we are lesbians, all six of us in our family have had to battle for one after another after another of the rights that other Canadian citizens take for granted. As part of the eight couples in the B.C. case which is currently being appealed after Judge Pitfield's backwards-looking decision, we continue to fight for this equality that is supposed to be assured under our Charter of Rights.

We are as loving as any heterosexually-parented family: our two older sons, now 35 and 31, are with us as I type, having allocated special time to help us rebuild part of our house. One is staying here from out of town, the other commuting daily. Our well-travelled, bilingual daughter is, with our continuously affirming support, studying extremely hard at the three-year Okanagan School of Massage Therapy, looking forward to coming to Victoria during her summer break, aiming to get her degree at university when she's finished. Our youngest son is in England, about to celebrate his 23rd birthday, learning what it's like to be stretched to the limit with a mortgage on his first house, with Mums in frequent touch by telephone, helping him to learn effective ways of budgetting.

Please free of us of the looming burden of Bill S-9. It reminds me too much of that rape back in the 1970's. I'm so happy that I learned my rights, that Canada has learned from history, and progressed. We need your help to keep Canada on track, to help us achieve true equality as loving, productive, hard-working Canadian citizens. Throw out Bill S-9.

Thank you,
(Ms.) Robin Roberts
British Columbia


Letters to Senate Committees

March 20, 2002

TO: HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE: Raynell Andreychuk-CHAIR, Joan Fraser-Deputy Chair, The Very Rev. Lois Wilson, Ethel M. Cochrane, Marisa Ferretti, Noel A. Kinsella, Vivienne Poy

LEGAL & CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Gérald A. Beaudoin, John G. Bryden, Nicholas W. Taylor, John M. Buchanan, Serge Joyal, Lorna Milne, Wilfred P. Moore, Pierre Claude Nolin, Jean-Claude Rivestrives

I am a 39 year old woman who has worked hard since the age of 18. I pay my taxes on time, contribute to my community and believe in equal rights for all. I have been married twice before and have two children, one who just turned 18 and now is able to vote.

I have met a man who is a transsexual male, which simply means he is biologically female waiting surgery to become the gender he should have been born with. Why is the government playing God and prohibiting me from marrying the man I love?

In my situation, since my fiancé is transgender, according to the marriage law, he cannot marry a female because he is biologically female (same-sex). He is on hormone treatments (Testosterone) replacement treatments and looks male. He has had his name LEGALLY changed to a male name and in outward appearance we are a heterosexual couple. Yet, according to Bill S-9, he would only be able to marry another man?

Many gays, lesbians and transgenders live normal lives, raising children and contributing to their community, province and country. My fiancé was given the freedom of choice to enlist in the Canadian Army and served for 20 years before retiring. Is the Canadian Government deciding for him that although he has fought for this country and helped keep it safe, he cannot collect on the freedoms that he has defended?

In closing I would like to ask a simple question. Are gays, lesbians, transsexuals and infertile citizens of Canada less deserving of the freedoms we value? A simple solution was given to me by my fiancé’s 10 year old son.

Equality for All.

Every Canadian has the right to marry and it should not matter what their sexual orientation may be.

Donna
Alberta