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Advocacy news - Alberta Premier Vows to Discriminate

Letter's Objecting to Alberta Premier's Stand Against Equality

November 11, 2004

Dear Mr. Klein,

I am writing to you to inform you that I as a Canadian, and more importantly as a human being, believe firmly and strongly in the equal rights of all members of this country. When I hear you say that you will use the notwithstanding clause to stop gays and lesbians from marrying, I am struck with fear. The courts have ruled, and have ruled in numerous cases, that violating one's right to marriage goes against our constitution. Numerous cases have stated that sexual orientation is an analagous grounds in Section 2 of our charter and therefore must be protected. As well, the law that defines marriage in our country currently is from a UK common law from 1866, that defines marriage as that between a man and a woman. Times have changed - in 1866 I, being a woman, would not have been permitted to vote, and homosexuals would have been imprisoned. Society is not static and court rulings and precedents allow for our laws to adjust to the changing needs of our society. After all, the laws and constitution were created to PROTECT the citizens of this country, not to isolate them.

Contrary to many critic's arguments, there is no harm in allowing gays and lesbians to marry - it is simply ensuring that two people who share a love for each other are ensured the SAME right to marry as any heterosexual couple in this country. The arguments that marriage is for procreational purposes no longer applies to today's society - couples that are married may decide they do not want to have children, and many couples and single parents have children and remain unmarried.

As well, by not allowing lesbians and gays the right to marry, they incur losses from the many legal privileges that are attached to marriage, thus putting same-sex couples at a disadvantage.

As a premier it is your duty to uphold the values that make Canada the great nation that it is - not to use your own prejudices to infringe upon the equality rights of our citizens. The courts have ruled - you are not a judge, but a premier, who, as well as all citizens of this nation, must respect the the constitution of our country. A premier cannot be allowed to invoke the notwithstanding clause because he/she disagrees a court ruling.


Stephanie Swift

July 23, 2002

Honorable Premier Ralph Klein,

Referring to your recent statement about your political will to overrule any pro-same sex decision decision made by the Federal Government or the Supreme Court of Canada, is my pleasure to remind you that:

The concept of democracy means more than majority rule ... In my view, a democracy requires that legislators take into account the interests of majorities and minorities alike, all of whom will be affected by the decisions they make. Where the interests of a minority have been denied consideration, especially where that group has historically been the target of prejudice and discrimination, I believe that judicial intervention is warranted to correct a democratic process that has acted improperly
IACOBUCCI J., Supreme Court of Canada
Vriend v. Alberta, 1998

I am totally sure that your sense of democracy and your natural skills as a serious, progressive-conservative politician, will held you from adventuring in such a delicate decision to take the notwithstanding clause against one of those basic antidiscrimination rights well established by a half a dozen international Chartes of Rights, defended by the judicial history of the last 50 years and even well referred to as "inalienable natural rights".

I really do not understand why the legalization of same sex marriage (i.e. recognizing equal rights for gay couples) could ever diminuish or disturb the importance of the traditional marriage. As far as I know, the 42-year old marriage of my parents has never diminuished, disturbed or damaged any gay relationship, so why should the opposite event bring some kind of negative mood to us?

On the other hand, if for any reason you decide to exclude your gay citizens from enjoying the civil rights guaranteed by the rest of Canada, I seriously worry about how could you ask those gay citizens to continuing paying their provincial taxes.

I am sure you remember the old liberal-democratic principle: "equal taxes, equal rights". Does it mean that by cancelling same sex marriage you are implicitly lifting your gay citizens from the duty of paying taxes? That would always be discriminating, but perhaps more acceptable for everybody.

Thank you for your attention.

Dr. Sciltian Gastaldi

July 20, 2002

Dear Premier Klein

I thank God that I live in Ontario and not Alberta. At least in Ontario our Premier has the good sense to realize that recognizing gay and lesbian couples as full equals in society is the correct thing to do. I may not share his politics on any other matter but at least he agrees that all people should have the choice to marry the spouse of their choice regardless of sex or sexual orientation.

My choice to enter into a union with my partner of nine years has been the best thing to happen to me and my family since I came out. You cannot say that gays and lesbians do not form stable relationships when you deny them the opportunity to enter into them legally. Taking that step of public recognition before family and friends has brought my family closer to us. It has allowed them to see us in the same light as they see themselves. Welcomed by the community and by the church.

You cannot say that children raised in gay and lesbian families are less than those raised in heterosexual families while denying the gay and lesbian families the same recognition and validity as the heterosexual family.

I would urge you, therefore, to take the high road and recognize gay and lesbian relationships in full marriage. Equality is just that, equal, able to make the same life choices no matter who you are or what your sexual orientation.


Gavin M. Stephenson-Jackman

July 19, 2002

Dear Premier Klein,

I would truly love to know what is so horrible about love? Gay and Lesbian couples are asking for legal recognition of loving relationships, and nothing more. We pay taxes, buy goods and services, work, raise families, live in neighbourhoods, and are, truthfully, decent, law-abiding citizens. We are not asking for "special" rights. We are merely asking for the right to be considered fully human in this great country that we call home.

Please reconsider your position about the line in the sand on the issue of same-sex marriage. If the institution of marriage is not strong enough to withstand inclusion of same-sex couples, then what is holding it together in the first place? Our marriages in no way would take away from those of opposite-sex couples. I have been thinking about little else since the decision came down a week ago in Ontario, and I truly can't see how my marriage to my spouse could harm a heterosexual.

If anything, our being allowed to marry would have ramifications for our children, who would finally know what it feels like to live in a home where they are cared for, loved, and also a home that is recognized for being as legal as it is loving.

I respectfully submit to you that, on this issue, you are wrong, Premier Klein, and I invite you to actually take the time to talk, with an open mind, to gays and lesbians in your province.

Sincerely yours,

Hedy Halpern

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