Advocacy News - New Brunswick couples seek help in marriage battle
September 26, 2004
B. couples seek help in marriage battle
New Brunswick's Justice Minister Green has said that he will continue to discriminate against same-sex couples who seek access to marriage (or recognition of their marriages performed elsewhere in Canada), until he receives orders from Ottawa.
Brad Green prefers to ignore the judgment of 18 Justices in 6 regions of Canada and the precedent case law of Canada's Supreme Court (Judges in the breakthrough Ontario marriage case said Canada's Supreme Court clearly ruled in favour of equal recognition for same-sex relationships in the 1999 case M v H) .
Mr. Green can also look to the example set by former federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, who called for the provinces to begin marrying same-sex couples in June 2003. It seems Green will have to wait for the next federal election to see similar leadership from Prime Minister Paul Martin and Cauchon's successor Irwin Cotler. They talk the talk but their actions have caused delay and unneccessary pain and work for people still living in provinces that discriminate against gay citizens. Cotler even tried to sabotage justice in the Yukon, until that court slapped him down, and charged the Justice Minister with expenses on top of everything.
When looking at the situation of unequal rights that exists between Canada's various provinces, the Yukon court said the degrading situation was "a result of the action or inaction of the Attorney General of Canada"
New Brunswick recently lost an attempt to maintain discriminatory practices in adoption legislation, yet Green seems determined to fight on. Intransigence is not unusual in the local politicians (remember Elsie Wayne?), but when we did a 2002 speaking tour of the province, we found a corresponding group of highly motivated people working for change, including Art Vautour-Toole, and his spouse Wayne Toole, who were married in Ontario last year.
Art Vautour-Toole went to his local service bureau in Moncton, New Brunswick again yesterday in an effort to assume his husband's name (a previous attempt resulted in his arrest). He went again, he said, because a lesbian was successful in changing her name after an out-of-province same-sex marriage, however the change was allowed because nobody at the bureau noticed her spouse (who presumably was not present) was a woman.
The lesbian couple, identified as "A & T" in Art's message, have "agreed in principle" to initiate legal action with Art and Wayne against Green on behalf of marriage equality.
"Why should we wait for the Federal government to come out with a decision?" asks Art. "We will get the court to decide for us here in New Brunswick.
The couples are asking for assistance in mounting their campaign. Angels can contact Art Vautour-Toole at: email@example.com.