- Letters - Letters
to MPs - 2002
Letter's To Members
In Support of Equal Marriage
November 18, 2002
Andy Scott, M.P.
I wish to
go on record as being in favour of granting full recognition of and equal treatment
towards marriage between same sex partners. For too long, we have treated these
friends, neighbours and contributors to society as second class citizens. It is
long past time that we do the right thing by them and move on to more important
heard the argument that extending same sex rights and benefits to same sex couples
will somehow diminish those rights and benefits enjoyed by heterosexual couples.
The argument is disingenuous in assuming that protecting rights and benefits is
somehow a "zero-sum game", that giving rights to one group means taking
them away from another. The protection of the rights of minorities is critical
in a democracy and without that protectionk, the foundation of our society is
I can think
of no valid argument to deny equal treatment to same sex couples. The argument
that marriage is for procreation only is an insult o older couples who marry after
the woman has completed menopause. Are yhou going to retroactively deny benefits
and demand repayment from couples who chose deliberately to rmain childless? So
the argument that marriage is for procreation only is secious.
about fidelity and life-long commitment in marriage fail when we begin looking
at the statistics for heterosexual marriage. Who is to say that same sex couples
would not do at least as well over the long haul? Arguments abou the financial
impact on society are obviously irrelevant given the small percentage of the population
which is homosexual.
should a homosexual person not have the same right as I to take time off to care
for a loved one or to make provision for a loved one in any of the ways that I
am allowed? Why should the homosexual be denied naming their loved one as next
time to move into the twenty-first century and remove the obsolete doctrines of
discredited churches from the laws of the land. Our laws should be based purely
on secular principle and one of the most important of these principles is the
equal treatment of people.
Fredericton, New Brunswick
Sir [Paul Martin]:
realize that you will be a candidate for the leadership of the Liberal party,
so your views are very important to the voters of Canada. Yet, we have not heard
a murmur from you in respect to the debate on equal marriage. Other members of
your cabinet and caucus have come out in favour of your government following the
wishes of the Canadian people, and providing us with our rights "Now." But, you
and the Prime Minister have remained silent on the issue. Mr. Martin, we have
had a 34 year long engagement, much longer than most marriages. We are also Christians,
who believe strongly that marriage of same-sex couples can only strengthen the
country,not weaken it. Yesterday, we walked in Vancouver's Pride parade, carrying
our signs, that read equal marriage now. As we walked we received thunderous applause
along the route. Not only from our own community, but from the thousands of families
in attendance. Members of your own party showed their courage, by publicly announcing
their support for our right to marry. We applaud them. However, the two front
runners in the race for leadership have said nothing. Your silence is deafening.
When your caucus discusses this issue in the very near future please support us
in our fight for true justice, our wait has been a long one.
Thornhill Bob Peacock
you so much for your recent comments in support of the Ontario Superior Court
ruling on same-sex marriage. As one of the participants in this case, it is very
heartening to see one of our elected representatives taking to heart both the
words of the court and the responsibility of our political leaders to ensure the
guarantees of our Constitution do not become empty words.
have provided an example of leadership, courage and have encouraged me in a time
when I am keenly feeling the barbs and sneers of those people who would seek to
deny me equality under the law. I know you may receive negative responses from
people and some of those negative responses may spill over from respectful disagreement
to personal attacks and hatred, but I also know that your voice will have a positive
impact on both your elected colleagues and those whom you serve.
leaders like you I can believe that we will create a Canada where all families
are treated equally.
you from the bottom of my heart.
has been some months since we spoke at your office concerning the federal government's
laws concerning same-sex marriage. Since that time, several developments have
occured and I feel that it is time to touch base again on this issue.
July 12, 2002 the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario ruled that it was unconstitutional
to deny gays and lesbians marriage and on Monday of this week, the justice minister
announced his decision to appeal that decision.
Mills, I know that you did not share my views on this subject, however I know
also that you are capable of seeing both sides of this issue. Indeed, when we
last met you informed me that some of your family were in favour of same-sex marriage.
My spouse and I asked you to arrange a meeting with then justice minister, Anne
McClellan and you agreed to try. The meeting never happened, but you kept your
word in trying to arrange things. You proved to me that despite our ideological
differences, you were willing to act in good faith on my behalf as a constituent.
I am therefore asking you again to act on my behalf.
personally advise your government colleagues and in particular the Prime Minister
and Justice Minister that they are making a mistake and causing immesurable harm
to a family in your riding by prolonging this debate. My family, Mr. Mills. Not
some abstract idea or some anonymous face. Me, Mr. Mills. A constituent in your
riding whom you have met. A person you have sat with is being hurt by the actions
of your government.
them on my behalf, as my representative, that what they are doing is an affront
to the human dignity of someone you know. I am not dramatizing or overstating
these effects Mr. Mills. I would like you to express to your caucus members the
costs of delay in the human terms of someone you know.
the government to pass legislation now that brings Canada's marriage laws into
line with the equality provisions of the Charter. Gay and lesbian families in
this country have fought many long battles for the simple dignities that others
take for granted. Will your colleagues make us fight to Ottawa one more time,
or will they show true leadership?
I know that there are some that disagree on this point. I know that some of those
people are homophobic, but the vast majority of those who disagree are, I believe,
people of good conscience who do not wish me ill, but who do not share my opinion.
That is their right. But ask them Mr. Mills, what is the personal cost to them?
What negative message is sent to them by giving a family in your riding the right
to marry? Will they fall out of love? Will they become second-class because my
family can now do what they can? I urge you to ask these questions of every single
person who contacts you and asks you to oppose same-sex marriage. If I am to be
denied my rights by my fellow citizens and my government, surely I am at least
entitled to a rational explanation of why. A rational explanation, Mr. Mills.
Not one couched in fear, speculation or interpretations of scripture.
understand that the government can point to how it has amended 68 laws to give
gay and lesbian families equality, but they only took those actions when the courts
forced them to. They are, taciturnly perhaps, promoting an environment where homophobia
can grow by sending a message that gay and lesbian families are unworthy of marriage.
They send a message to the people that our relationships are second-rate and by
extension, so are we.
put your personal ideologies aside Mr. Mills and act in accordance with the fundamental
precepts of the Charter and equality. It is difficult to do that sometimes, but
that is what a leader is for.
July 23, 2002
Mr. Mark Assad,
House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario
am writing regarding the recent ruling by the Ontario Superior Court in favour
of same-sex marriage. Although this court ruling only applies in the Province
of Ontario, it is widely understood that it will have important legal implications
in Québec and across Canada. Moreover, it is not unlikely that the federal government
would appeal this ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada. As a registered voter
in Gatineau, I would like to request you to do whatever you can within your official
capacity to support same-sex marriage, and to endorse it should the federal government
decide not to appeal the Ontario ruling and seek to change the current definition
of marriage by an act of parliament.
the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Charte des droits et libertés
de la personne of Québec prohibit discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation,
and yet the current 'opposite-sex only' definition of marriage is in clear contrary
to the terms set out in these documents. Gay and lesbian Canadians and Quebeckers
are thus denied the equality and the very basic human dignity accorded by these
two charters due to the blatant violation of the constitution by the federal government.
Québec Civil Code was amended last month to allow same-sex couples to solemnize
their relationship by registering for civil union, civil union is at best an interim
measure pending the rectification of the current federal marriage law, and is
definitely not a substitute for marriage. The claim that civil union for same-sex
couples is 'equal but separate' to heterosexual marriage is not only false, but
also highly discriminatory and renders gay and lesbian Canadians second-class
to the rest of Canada, Québec has always been exceptionally supportive of equality
and same-sex marriage. The National Assembly of Québec is the first and, until
now, the only provincial legislature in Canada that has unanimously endorsed same-sex
marriage. A poll conducted by Léger Marketing in July 2001 showed that 75.6% of
Quebeckers were in favour of same-sex marriage, a proportion well above the Canadian
average of 65%. Further back in 1977, when the Charte des droits et libertés de
la personne was amended, Québec was one of the very few jurisdictions in the world
that enshrined the prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation in
their constitutional documents. Backed by a strong public consensus as such, I
would therefore strongly urge you, as the Member of Parliament for Gatineau, to
defend our unique value of tolerance and support for equality by requesting the
federal government not to appeal the Ontario ruling, and by arguing vigorously
for the case of same-sex marriage should it be tabled in Parliament.
we talked one day outside my house in Gordon Head, I asked you if you would support
same-sex marriage. You shook your head, said that you accept the fact that you
have gay people in your staff, that in your opinion we have all the same rights
by various ammendments to the legal statutes, and ran on down the street. I implore
you to rethink this stance.
stated by three justices in Ontario, we don't have equal rights. If my partner
of 19 years and I were to move to another province, we would have to start all
over again proving that we had lived together for the 6-month to 2-year requirement
that varies from province to province for common-law recognition. As it stands
now for example, if we moved to, or visited another province, we would not have
automatic access rights to each other if we were hospitalized and we would have
to wait the term again to have health benefits through our jobs. We raised our
4 children together and they felt the discrimination of their stepmothers not
being able to be married like other step-parents were. The stigma of a Registered
Domestic Partnership "option" smacks too much of the days when the Nazis registered
homosexuals, so I would never want to do anything (like registering in a targetted
group) to ease that happening here.
when inter-racial marriages were first thought to "infringe upon the rights of
those who hold traditional family values", so it is with the ranting against homosexual
marraiges now. If as you say, we are equal on your staff, then don't put our marriages
at the back of the bus. Please make the choice to turn and support full constitutional
rights, to run in full support towards us, instead of tearing off scared, down
that street of denial and phobia again. Stand up proud with the majority of Canadians
in the knowledge that love is love, and deserves equal support in our good country.
Not only Canada, but the world will be the stronger for it, by our modelling.
Thanks In Anticipation Of Your Support As My MP,
July 18, 2002
know that you have always been a strong supporter of equal rights for our community.
As you have shown visible support, by your involvement in Vancouver's Pride Parade.
You have also fought for increased funding, for PWAs, and other worthwhile causes
in the community. As constituents, we now call on you to follow the direction
set by the recent Ontario Supreme Court decision, on same-sex marriage. We urge
you to lobby the Prime Minister, and your caucus, to not waste more time and money,
appealing this decision. Instead, we demand leadership of your government. The
conservative government of Ontario have declared that they will not appeal the
decision. We ask that the liberals not be followers, but leaders, in writing and
passing legislation quickly, that will finally place us on an equal footing with
other Canadians. Help us marry the one we love, we and our families demand nothing
Thornhill Bob Peacock
Vancouver, British Columbia
July 18, 2002
Friday, July 12, 2002, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that denying
same-sex couples the equal right to marry is discriminatory and unconstitutional.
While the gay
community rejoiced in this landmark decision and the fact that the Government
of Ontario will not oppose the decision, we are still very aware that the Federal
Government of Canada has not yet taken a stance on the unanimous decision of the
gay man in a long-term same-sex relationship and a member of your constituency
I am writing you today to determine if we can count on your support for equal
marriage? I am also looking to establish your party's stand on this issue. Do
you believe Parliament should do the right thing and extend marriage to same-sex
couples? If you are supportive of equal marriage would you please speak to your
party members and leader and to the Attorney General of Canada Martin Cauchon
and let them know that you support extending equal rights to marriage to same-sex
is a very important issue; one that affects many of the constituents that you
represent. I would like to relate to you a story that will demonstrate to you
how important this issue of same-sex marriage really is. As I mentioned I have
been in a long-term relationship for 6.5 years. My partner and I have a Registered
Domestic Partnership with the Province of Nova Scotia. In February of this year
he suffered a massive heart attack and I was left to make decisions on his behalf
in relation to his treatment, care, etc. Nova Scotia recognizes us as a common-law
couple and so there were no apparent problems surrounding my being consulted as
the partner or spouse. Had this happened in another jurisdiction outside our home
province, our RDP would not have been recognized and I would not have been able
to carry out the wishes of my partner should the need have arisen. Fortunately,
he received excellent care and recovered from the near fatal attack.
next two weeks after his attack were spent by his bedside in ICU - with IV tubes
and a heart monitor as the only lifeline between this world and the next. Suddenly
I was faced with the realization that my partner might not survive and other than
our family members and a few close friends, no one would recognize the loss for
what it was because we are not legally recognized by the state as a family. Despite
what the religious right and the fundamentalists proclaim, gay families are real
families. We have regular jobs, mortgages, car payments; we have sorrows and joys,
and we are taxpayers. What outrages us as citizens of this country is that those
tax dollars (which include our gay tax dollars) are being wasted by the Federal
Government to discriminate against its own citizens. We are being denied our basic
human rights and it is costing us millions of dollars to fight and win what should
be inherently ours.
recent Leger Marketing Poll demonstrated that over 65% of Canadians support granting
same-sex couples the equal right to marry. Quebec and Manitoba have announced
they will support the Government of Ontario. I urge you to do the same to put
an end to this discrimination today. We are not interested in some second-class
alternative, but seek the full equality that marriage provides. Please provide
me with a written response to this matter indicating your position on this very
important issue. The appeal deadline is fast approaching. We are counting on your
Atlantic Region Representative (male)
members of your constituency here 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.
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.
you for your time and attention to this matter, Ms. Pupatello.
Halpern & Colleen Rogers