Love Wins Over Hate - The Decision From Ontario Divisional Court

 

The Honourable Martin Cauchon Canada's former Justice Minister, called on the cabinet to support equal marriage, days after the June 10th, 2003, introduction of same-sex marriage in Ontario. The new Justice Minister, Irwin Cotler seems less supportive. Please write or call for equal marriage now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equality Scorecard - tracking the Parliamentary vote for same-sex marriage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten reasons why Christians should support same-sex marriage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waffling on same-sex marriage - Martin's muddle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gay marriage - remove nasty bigots.  Gets Liberals clean!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liberals for Layton - Dennis Mills betrays Liberal values by not supporting same-sex marriage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bryden's bigotry: hiding  behind children to mask his intolerance for same-sex marriage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Justice Minister's alternate realities for marriage - through the looking glass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more about Just Married


 

 

 

 

 

External link to East Coast Bears

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Taken on its own, the federal government's deferral to the Supreme Court on gay marriage was gutless enough; the Justice Minister completely botching the announcement was the icing on the cake. It's not as though there was any doubt that the Liberals were dodging the issue. But did Cauchon really need to underscore that point by literally hiding during his biggest announcement of the summer? The Quebec MP is frequently mentioned as a potential leadership candidate down the road, but his handling of this issue raises serious questions about his political judgement and attitude ... It's nice to know that our Justice Minister won't back down from those tough questions about getting high when he was a kid; it's just too bad that real issues are too much of a hassle for him to bother dealing with."
Pundit Magazine, August 2, 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

External link to The Gay Agenda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

External link to Gay Planet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to learn more about how you can help couples across Canada pay for this important legal struggle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to  Elliott & Kim - our heroes fighting for our right to marriage in Ontario

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Please join us in a letter writing campaign to demand our rights from politicians - Click here to learn more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to our media coverage of related issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Advocacy - Letters - Justice Minister Martin Cauchon

Letter's To Canada's Justice Minister
A Call To Support Equal Marriage


Sept. 12, 2003

Dear Minister Cauchon,

I am writing in support of your commitment to enacting same-sex marriage legislation, because I fear that somehow the new same-sex marriage legislation before the parliament is not receiving the support it needs and deserves.

I've been thinking about the people that I'm going to encounter in the future who are going to think that my marriage is invalid. It's such a personal attack. I've always been a politically-minded person and always held strong beliefs regarding rights, and even more so when it comes to violations of those rights based on identity (that's race, religion, sexuality, gender, nationality... things that are just what you were born with, inherited, can't change). On this issue, however, it comes down to me, to my own life, my own rights. My partner and I want to get married, have children, raise them and be happy, work, be productive, love each other. It sounds so simple. I find it incomprehensible how people can find these desires so objectionable.

I hope you'll keep your eye on what's happenning in Alberta. While the rest of the country has celebrated becoming a more tolerant, accepting nation, Alberta's government has continued to reveal it's ugly, bigoted side. Please make sure than when legislation is enacted, that Alberta can't refuse. Let the legislation read: Marriage is between 2 persons, and this means you, Ralph Klein! The Adult Interdependent Relationships Act in Alberta (or any other Domestic Partner federal equivalent) does not appease these concerns. Discrimination is simple. Separate, similar status is not acceptable.

Thanks for your support for same-sex marriage.

Sincerely,
Kim Thorsen
Edmonton


August 23, 2003

Dear Minister Cauchon,

I appreciate your hard work and dedication. I consider myself a fair and just minded individual as well as a spiritually minded mother of two grown children. I would like to express my support for same sex marriage, as I truly believe that equality benefits us all in building strong foundations for a solid society. Division and separation breeds fear and destruction. Unity and co-operation tears down walls of fear, hatred and injustice. Canadian culture has evolved, and the time has come for discrimination over sexual orientation to end, and full rights, benefits and responsibilities to be given to gays and lesbians in equal marriage.

We live in a free and peaceful land, where diversity is great. We are a global village where a vast number of religious beliefs, cultures and languages are represented as well as differing sexual orientations. Most people know more gay and lesbians than they think, as gays and lesbians are everywhere, they are tax payers, building communities, voting governments in and out, and overall contributing citizens that now are demanding their dignity and rights to be upheld. Many are raising children who are turning out to be intelligent, healthy and caring human beings, in fact, many gay and lesbian couples that are raising children are truly modeling the qualities of a sound family life with solid foundations that so many heterosexuals in society unfortunately are sadly failing to give to their children in their upbringing and overall wellbeing.

It would be un-constitutional and un-Canadian for religious leaders to be told by government and society how to conduct their worship services and who clergy are allowed to marry, as they have the freedom to follow their faith in making those decisions, just as gays and lesbians should have the freedom to follow their faith and the right to be legally married where and how they choose, as heterosexual couples do, whether they have a religious based marriage or whether they get married in City Hall. These are basic human rights that cannot be denied any longer.

Thank you for your time.

Magda (Maggie) Constans


June 11, 2003

Dear Minister Cauchon,

Discrimination against gays and lesbians regarding marriage has once again been declared unconstitutional and unjustifiable. The unanimity that exists in the legal community on this issue is overwhelming. Two lower courts and two courts of appeal across Canada have now asked that institutionalized discrimination against gays and lesbians be ended, that the basic principles of democracy and human rights be applied, that gays and lesbian be treated as full citizen and their rights as such be respected. The opinions of these courts are in complete agreement with the recommendations that the Human Right Commission and the Law Commission of Canada have made already a few years ago. Several provincial Human Rights Commissions and all the organizations of law professionals have argued in the same direction during the recent public hearings lead by the parliamentary Justice Committee. Everyone knows that there is not a chance that the Supreme Court of Canada would rule against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on this issue.

We keep hearing complaints from MPs that the courts of law are stepping in too often to decide on social policy issues that should be the prerogative of the Parliament to shape. With all due respect, courts of law have had to do so when the Parliament has proven incapable to act or has erred and failed to respect and protect the rights of citizens. The Government and the Parliament were given a chance to take prompt and responsible action to make marriage law comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Neither have had the courage to help Canadian democracy grow by ending the discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal states that discrimination has to stop immediately and has redefined the federal definition of marriage, as being between "two persons", with effect now. This is a clear message that an evident violation of fundamental constitutional rights has to be corrected immediately. Fundamental democratic rights are not opened to debate and committee hearings. The rights of gays and lesbians have to be respected now.

The Liberal Government and the Parliament have had a lot of time since the issue of the unconstitutionality of the definition of marriage has been raised to act on it and make Canadian laws comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the fundamental principles of democracy on which Canada claims to be built. Instead of acting at strengthening the Canadian democracy, the Government and the Parliament of Canada have wasted time, money and resources in attempts to maintain the institutionalized discrimination against gays and lesbians. It started with an unnecessary motion on June 8, 1999, that tainted the Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act with a discriminatory definition of marriage that has since been deemed unconstitutional by four courts. Costly legal appeals followed, aiming at denying gays and lesbian their basic rights to equal treatment. Last but not least, the Justice committee held public hearings, which, sadly were used too often as a tribune to attack the dignity of gays and lesbians, transforming it into a masquerade of a democratic process, with the unacceptable and barely disguised complicity of some MPs. What next? Will the Government invoke the notwithstanding clause to re-enforce the status of second-class citizen that gays and lesbians have been enjoying? Isn't it time for the Government and the Parliament to put an end to this string of counterproductive and irresponsible policy? How much longer will the Government and the Parliament protect the legacy of centuries of state and church orchestrated homophobia that still survives in institutionalized discrimination against gays and lesbians? How much longer will the Government and the Parliament refuse to provide the gay and lesbian youths the safe environment to which they are entitled and let them be submitted to the ambient homophobia still exuded by too many components of society?

The Government can still act with dignity, by fully complying with the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal and by leading the Parliament on the only responsible path, which is to endorse the Ontario decision as federal law immediately. I hope this is the decision you will make with no delay, along with dropping all the other appeals.

Sincerely,

Patrick Roussel


February 6, 2003

Dear Minister Cauchon,

We are writing to express our support for extending equal marriage to same-sex couples. It's the only fair thing to do.

We met in 1997, fell in love and held a commitment ceremony in Fredericton in 1998. We wanted to be make a true meaning commitment so in May of 2001 we travelled to Vermont and were married in a Civil Union. Several of our friends have been forced to do the same thing since we can't legally do it here. We have wills and have been forced to pay for a "Power of Attorney" so we can legally make decisions for the other in critical situations. Opposite-sex couples do not have to take this costly step. It comes as a "perk" of marriage.

To us, marriage is about love and commitment. We are just as loving and committed as opposite-sex couples. We should be allowed to marry here and be recognized by the government.

I know that Parliament is now considering its options about how to treat same-sex couples fairly. There is only one fair option - dropping the opposite-sex restriction and letting same-sex couples get legally married.

There has been talk about setting up a new institution that is similar to marriage but called something different. That's not equality, that's segregation. If it's not called "marriage", then it isn't marriage - it's second class status. We would like our Vermont "Civil union" recognized here as a marriage.

Canada prides itself on treating people with respect. If same-sex couples can marry it's not going to stop opposite-sex couples from doing so. After the dust settles, people will see it's no big deal. Other countries have done it, we should as well.

Please write and let me know where you stand on this important issue.

Yours sincerely,

Larry Dickinson and Jason Curl


August 7, 2002

Dear Justice Minister Cauchon, I urge you and the government to remove the appeal of the Ontario ruling declaring unconstitutional the definition of marriage because it discriminates against same sex couples, and to follow the recommendations of the three Ontario judges.

The ruling is very clear and precise about how the definition of marriage needs to be changed to ensure that the constitutional rights of all are respected. The ruling matches the conclusions of the Law Commission of Canada and of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Why continue to ignore the advice of experts? Why waste more taxpayer money? Ongoing procrastination and bickering end up undermining the fundamental principles of democracy that are enshrined in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom. These rights are not to be discussed, awarded, removed or tailored depending on what certain groups may think or believe at a given time. The only consensus to be expected in a democracy should be about seeing that its principles be upheld.

Disengagement of the State from the institution of marriage altogether would not be an acceptable solution. This would extend discrimination to all the people who are rejected or being denied marriage by the religion they belong to and all the people who by choice do not belong to any organized religion. This would make marriage a privilege of religions, dangerously blurring the line beyond which the right to freedom of religion is abused and the belief of some is allowed to rule the life of all. This would create a legislative void and likely open the doors to other countless and endless legal battles.

The consequences of how this case is handled by all parts reach well beyond legal definitions. The resulting public debate sends very strong messages to young people, whose present and future well-being should be a major concern for all. Many of them endure extreme emotional and sometimes physical pain at home, in the classroom, on the street, in the arena, during religious activities because of the negative way their sexual orientation is still perceived and portrayed by society. Too many attempt suicide; all have scars. I am sure that they would find some hope and comfort in a clear message form the Canadian Government reaffirming that the Canadian Institutions will play their role in helping to end the supply of ammunitions to their tormentors, and that they are and will be protected and equally treated not only on paper but in the facts. I am afraid that it is not the message sent by the decision to appeal the Ontario ruling. Once more they hear that, as homosexuals, th! ey are not as worthy as their heterosexual peers; they hear that their rights will be once more subjected to legal and political bargaining.

Sincerely,

Patrick Roussel


July 30, 2002

Mr. Cauchan,

What is happening to our just society? Is our Charter of Rights and Freedoms a joke and is only valid for heterosexuals? Does the decisions made by 3 respected judges in Ontario mean nothing if it doesn't fit the opinion of bigots?

My partner of 26 years and myself are extremely disappointed with the Federal Liberal's decision to appeal this decision. Is this about votes or what is right? These questions along with many others are seriously shaking our support of the Federal Liberal Party.

We still trust that you will seriously consider the fair remedies that the judges offered in their recent ruling in Ontario, as the leader of the Ontario Conservative Party, Mr. Eves, [has agreed] to support their decision.

Regards,
Tom Allworth & Al Pittman


July 28, 2002

Dear Mr. Cauchon:

Tomorrow is the deadline for filing an appeal against the Ontario Superior Court decision regarding same-sex marriages. To date we have heard nothing from you on this particular subject.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Law Commission of Canada have both endorsed gays and lesbians being provided full and equal access to marriage. Recent polls conducted have indicated that Canadians are supporting the idea of same-sex couples have the full right to marriage. The religious right have vehementy opposed any changes in the law to end this discrimination against us. How these religious groups can preach love and acceptance and then contradict these statements with such hatred is a mystery to me. Many gay and lesbian couples have been in long-term relationships and will continue to do so. All we are asking is to have the same rights and privileges as our heterosexual counterparts. The right to chose if we so wish to have our unions sanctified by the state.

I know this is a difficult time for you and your colleagues as you struggle with the decision facing you now. As a gay man in a long-term relationship and as a member of the Board of Directors for Egale, Canada (Atlantic Region) I urge you Mr. Cauchon to lead your party and our Country in to the 21st Century by granting same-sex couples the rights that should be afforded each of us under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Constitution. The public opinion poll recently conducted stated that this government can either lead public opinion or listen to it. Well, public opinion suggests that Canadians are in favor of gays and lesbians rights to marry. If the Government of Canada foregos the appeal process and enacts legislation to grant gays and lesbians full access to marriage, then they will be acting on the opinion of the public and leading public opinion as well. Please do the right thing Mr. Cauchon. Stop this wasting of our tax dollars. Stop denying us our Constitutional Rights. Don't appeal the Ontario Court decision.

Sincerely, Don Tabor,
Atlantic Region Representative Egale, Canada


July 26, 2002

Dear Prime Minister Chretien, Dear Justice Minister Cauchon

The Candian Human Rights Act is one of the corner stones of the Canadian democracy. Its adoption was a courageous decision and an affirmation by the Government of Canada and the Parliament of Canada that they considered their duty to ensure equal treatment and protection from discrimination for all people across the country. The CHRA made de facto some older laws unconstitutional. Under such circumstances it usually takes some time for all the intricate inconsistencies between older laws and a new Act to come to the surface. The time has come for the marriage law to be clearly identified as unconstitutional because it violates the CHRA by discriminating against same sex couples. The Ontario ruling on same sex marriages is simply a reminder that it is time to act on a modification of the marriage law to make it conform to the CHRA.

I urge you and the Government not only not to appeal the Ontario ruling, but also to promptly engage Parliament to change the marriage law as recommended by the Ontario Judges. Their ruling calls the Government and the Parliament upon their duty to ensure that the CHRA is enacted and not just words on paper.

Appealing the Ontario ruling would send the message to Canadians that the protection they should be guaranteed by the CHRA is just theoretical and that not only their own Government does not want to stand up to reaffirm the fundamental principles stated by the CHRA, but it wants to contest them and supports a society with second class citizens.

Not clearly engaging Parliament to amend the marriage law as recommended by the Ontario ruling means that the Government gives up its duty to enact the CHRA nation wise and is willing to leave a legislative void that will result in endless and costly legal battles which are unnecessary since the essential issue is already settled by the CHRA. It is the duty of the Government to take the question in its hands, respond in a proactive way and resolve the problem with dignity.

The fact that a majority of Canadians is in favour of a modification of the marriage law to include same sex couples is reinsuring because it means Canadians value the fundamental principles of fairness and equal treatment and protection for all on which they want their society to be based. Even if it were a minority in favour, it would be the duty of the Government and of the Parliament to ensure that the CHRA be enacted. Diversity is a wealth and a challenge for Canada but results in dissensions among Canadians about various issues. It is a challenge for Canadians not to allow these dissensions to become the ruler of their country but to work them out around the fundamental principles of the Canadian democracy. It is the responsibility and the duty of the Government and the Parliament to reaffirm and enact these fundamental principles, as I trust they will do by following the recommendations stated in the Ontario ruling on same sex marriages.

Sincerely,

Patrick Roussel


July 17, 2002

Dear Justice Minister Cauchon,

As Canadians living in Windsor, and as one of the couples granted equal rights to marry under the Ontario Superior Court ruling last week, we are writing to ask that you put your full support behind the ruling, and behind not launching a costly, ineffective appeal to the ruling.

Love is a precious, wondrous commodity in today's society, and we are asking, as fully adult human beings, that we not be denied the right to choose freely the person with whom we wish to spend the rest of our lives. We are asking that you support us in our struggle to make our marriage as legal as it is loving.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter, Minister.

Sincerely yours,

Hedy Halpern & Colleen Rogers