Advocacy News From 2004
December 15, 2004
Want to win the war on equality?
What can individuals do to help influence public opinion and their politicians about the issue of human dignity and equality in the same-sex marriage debate? Gay marriage advocate and proud radical, Ian Taylor (author and founder of Never Say No Comment, Inc.) has some timely advice, starting with closeted gays coming out for Christmas.
December 14, 2004
Dignity and Parliament's marriage debate
Same-sex marriage activists are calling upon the respected House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken, party house leaders, and all Members of Parliament to assure a dignified level of debate on human rights. The Parliamentary record already contains many hateful statements in reference to gay marriage. We say: no more. All families deserve dignity.
December 9, 2004
177 votes will make Canada leader in rights
There are moments in a nation's history that are of such significance, that the event transcends itself and becomes one of the many defining moments in a great nation. Today is one of those moments.Global National News reports today that the math adds up to establishing Canada at the forefront of human rights for citizens of the world. "This bill will go through!"
November 30, 2004
Bad news ... no wait, good news after all!
Early news reports, and even email from a law firm involved, incorrectly said that the surviving spouses of same-sex couples had failed in their attempt to claim Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits. But a closer read of the Court of Appeal for Ontario decision revealed another victory for equality. Meanwhile, Justice Minister Irwin Cotler is in denial.
November 22, 2004
Former PM gets award for gay marriage
Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien has been selected as Equality Forum's International Role Model for 2005 for his role in bringing gay marriage to Canada. "He is a devout Catholic who adhered to his public responsibility," stated Equality Forum's Michele Bogrette in an announcement released today. Mr. Chretien will accept the award at Equality Forum 2005.
November 17, 2004
W: Ottawa demo for freedom and equality
George W. Bush will be in Ottawa for a state visit from November 30 to December 1. Activists from across the country will be descending on Ottawa to give Bush the welcome he deserves. This is an opportunity for supporters of gay marriage to stand in solidarity with those who have stood with us in our fight for marriage equality. Show support for U.S. LGBT rights.
November 17, 2004
Equality, George Bush notwithstanding
Conservative extremists in Canada have been emboldened by the reelection of George W. Bush. New Brunswick MP Rob Moore is behind Bill C-268, a misguided attempt to stop the progress of gay marriage. It won't work. Marriage equality has become a test to determine whether Harper's Conservative Party is ready to govern. Moore's initiative indicates that they are not.
November 16, 2004
Canadians offer to billet Americans
Canadians have opened their doors to Americans during previous times of trouble, so when our neighbours began asking for help in making the move to our country, GaySpaces.org emerged as a tool for transition. The free online service gives Canadians a chance to billet U.S. guests on a short-term basis while our American friends search for a job and place to live.
November 10, 2004
Three million visitor sessions since 2001
We celebrate the completion of 3 million visitor sessions to this web site since 2001 (and 2 million visitors this year alone). Visitors from all over the world have viewed over 8 million pages about gay marriage, generating more than 65 million hits! With appreciation, we take a look at the most popular sections and pages of Equal marriage for same-sex couples.
November 4, 2004
Gay exodus to Canada
We noticed it as soon as we opened our email inbox the morning after the U.S. election: more than the usual amount of inquires from Americans asking for information about marriage and immigration in Canada. Coincidence? We though not, so we began to ask around to see if the reelection of George Bush and attacks on gay marriage have created a gay exodus to Canada.
October 28, 2004
Bush distances himself from religious right
Speaking on Tuesday, October 26, on Good Morning America, one week before the US election, U.S. President George W. Bush said he fully supports the equal rights of same-sex couples and he supports same-sex unions, as long as they're not called marriages. Ian Taylor writes that the reversal may further the cause of gay marriage, even if it's an election ploy.
October 22, 2004
Tying the Knot director to marry in T.O.
Director Jim de Sčve's Tying the Knot is a documentary from the front-lines of the battle over gay marriage: up close and personal. The film looks at same-sex marriage in the U.S., the Netherlands, and Canada. The subject is close to heart for the director who plans to marry his partner Kian Tjong while in Canada for the Nov. 3 Toronto premier of his award-winning work.
October 5, 2004
A point of reference
There has been a great deal of excitement in the media about this week's Supreme Court of Canada reference. But nobody doubts the outcome, and everyone knows the process is more about politics than it is about law. The Liberal party won a minority government and now they are afraid to govern, leaving couples to fight for gay marriage, province by province.
September 29, 2004
Support that comes straight from the heart
Martin and Tamara delayed their wedding until gay marriage was legal in Ontario. Audra and Mark put off their wedding until same-sex marriage arrived in Nova Scotia. We've been encouraged by opposite-sex couples who have used the occasion of their own weddings to show their solidarity with marriage equality. Their support advances human rights.
September 26, 2004
N. B. couples seek help in marriage battle
Couples in New Brunswick have issued an appeal for help in mounting a campaign for marriage equality in their province. Gay marriage advocate Art Vautour issued a letter yesterday after N.B. Justice Minister Green refused to follow in the footsteps of neighbouring Nova Scotia, where same-sex marriage became legal last Friday. The couples hope others will help them end the unnecessary neglect of rights.
September 1, 2004
Message of gay marriage: Let freedom reign
After a 36-year wait, British Columbia gay marriage advocates Lloyd and Bob Peacock were finally able to marry each other last month. They have been outspoken advocates, appearing on Christian programs to respond to our most vocal opponents. Bob and Lloyd's compassionate Christian perspective has helped shape, for them, the message of same-sex marriage: let freedom reign.
August 31, 2004
How to change the world in seven steps
"Gay vows covered like royal wedding", read one headline, after 80 reporters and news photographers assembled in Toronto on January 14, 2001 to record Canada's first legal same-sex marriage ceremonies. Ian Taylor, message management guru and gay marriage advocate, has some advice for couples who live in a place that still discriminates against same-sex couples: 7 steps to change.
August 12, 2004
A painful and difficult day for San Francisco
In solidarity with our American neighbours, friends, and supporters, we publish a joint statement from Equality California, Lambda Legal, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, and National Center for Lesbian Rights. More than 4,000 gay and lesbian couples and their families are affected by today's court decision against gay marriage. These groups vow to fight on for full equality.
August 12, 2004
CIBC is banking on dignity and respect
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Chairman John Hunkin has added his influential voice and considerable resources to the support of gay issues. The Bay Street leader says it "makes good business sense." Of Canada and our civil rights, he says. "The world is watching ... how we're moving forward with emerging social issues of our time, such as same-sex marriage and the rights of Transgender individuals."
July 30, 2004
To dare to say "I do"
Quebec gay marriage advocate Michael Hendricks writes about the state of same-sex marriage, three months after his victory in court and his subsequent marriage to René LeBoeuf. The battle for full social and civil equality is not over. There is the Supreme Court reference and a Parliamentary vote yet to come. The debate continues, with nothing to lose and a future to gain.
July 26, 2004
Halifax Pride: the next great leap forward
Nova Scotia seems poised to become the next province or territory to mount a legal challenge for access to same-sex marriage. Gay marriage advocates in the area have been encouraged by court victories in Ontario, B.C., and Quebec, and most recently in Yukon. We were in Halifax last week to march with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce employees and connect with old friends and new.
July 23, 2004
Casino Casarás: supporting gay marriage
Come tame your luck on the games we have to offer. Have fun and support equal marriage advocacy at the same time. All affiliate fees and advertising revenue go directly into our Equal Marriage Pride trust account. Your participation gives gay marriage a presence at pride parades, events, conferences, and rallies. So play to win. Support same-sex marriage advocacy by playing at Casino Casarás.
July 21, 2004
Randy White's attempt to abandon star role
The Conservative MP who shocked Canadians with his extremist views about gay marriage is now attempting to supress the documentary that captured his comments on film. Randy White slammed the judicial system and said "the heck with the courts" in Let No One Put Asunder, but ironically he is now threatening to go to court to silence critics. Undeterred, the film premiers in Vancouver next month.
July 21, 2004
Irwin Cotler's reappointment disappointment
Gay marriage advocate Ian Taylor says that Canada's newly reappointed Justice Minister "has been an abject failure in advancing human rights in this country." Cotler should show some real leadership by calling upon all of his provincial counterparts to follow the lead of the courts that called for same-sex marriage in Yukon, Ontario, B.C., and Quebec.
June 29, 2004
White Christmas: a Conservative MP's gift
Randy White, a Conservative MP who delivered an 11th-hour exposure of the underbelly of his party, sent voters back into the arms of the Liberal Party in yesterday's federal election. The Liberals used White's comments against same-sex marriage and the Charter to hold on to a minority of seats in Parliament. Gay marriage is secure, thanks to our supporters in the NDP and the BQ, but the timetable should move up.
June 22, 2004
Gay marriage activist slams gay Tories
"No self-respecting homosexual would support the Conservatives," said same-sex marriage activist Ian Taylor on CBC radio's Metro Morning this week. "... if you are more about a tax break than your human rights, then you deserve a Reform Conservative government that takes away your Charter freedoms. Taylor urges the gay community to "Vote for the pro-equality candidate with the best chance to win."
June 21, 2004
MP Mills laughs at charges of bigotry & lies
Increasingly, residents of the Toronto-Danforth riding have been speaking out against the cavalier manner in which anti-gay MP Dennis Mills responds to charges of bigotry and lies. Same-sex marriage advocates gathered on June 19, outside the campaign office that Mills has set up on the Danforth. The protest was covered by national tv and print media, to the delight of both sides.
June 19, 2004
Paul Martin comes out cruising for votes
This week Liberal leader Paul Martin came out cruising for votes, using same-sex marriage to highlight the difference between his party and Harper's Conservatives. Two days ago Justice Minister Irwin Cotler jumped in, wagging his finger at Stephen Harper for ignoring court judgments. It's a bit rich coming from Cotler, the person responsible for delaying the full roll- out of gay marriage through-out the rest of Canada.
June 17, 2004
Harper's hidden agenda for Conservatives
Stephen Harper's Conservative party agenda is hidden for the election campaign, but almost everybody knows what it is: an offensive attack against the Charter rights that delivered same-sex marriage, and the pillaging of our nation's treasury in the form of tax cuts. If Harper doesn't have the courage to run openly on his beliefs, voters can judge him by what he doesn't say, as revealed in a PrideVision TV survey.
June 16, 2004
Toronto expo combines business & advocacy
Same-sex marriage advocates Barbara McDowall & Gail Donnelly, and Kevin Bourassa & Joe Varnell will open Toronto's Pink Weddings Expo at 1:00 p.m. on June 24. The expo, featuring approximately 65 exhibitors, is sponsored by Gaiety.ca Magazine. It runs for two days and offers $20,000 in prizes. Showing their commitment, Gaiety Group is donating $2 from every ticket to support marriage equality advocacy.
June 10, 2004
Anti-gay cabinet ministers & MPs targeted
June 10 marks the anniversary of the Ontario Court's historic decision on same-sex marriage, followed by similar decisions in B.C. and Quebec. Justice-seeking Canadians are being urged to raise equality issues at candidate meetings, organizie creative acts of "civil obedience" and work to defeat the Liberal right. "Parliamentary free votes on human rights issues are not acceptable," said Ian Taylor.
June 9, 2004
Lawn signs support same-sex marriage
We are pleased to be working with the Centre for Social Justice (and other groups) in organizing a nation-wide voter education campaign: Equal rights, Equal Marriage. The Centre is producing lawn signs in support of gay marriage for the Toronto area, ground zero in the marriage equality debate. Most of the funds have been raised, however the Centre is appealing to the gay community for just $835 more.
June 8, 2004
Commitment to Charter means no free vote
Paul Martin has said "there is no way that anybody should be allowed to discriminate or prevent same-sex marriage." As we approach the first anniversary of the Ontario Court of Appeal decision that introduced marriage equality to Canada (June 10, 2003), we call on Paul Martin to announce that the Liberal Party will not subject gay marriage legislation to a free vote in Parliament.
June 3, 2004
Harper reduces Charter to empty words
Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper said in media reports today that if he becomes Prime Minister of Canada, and his Parliament refused to enact same-sex marriage legislation, the Supreme Court of Canada would respect his desire to maintain discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. Lawyer Douglas Elliott responds to Harper's vision of trashing Canada's constitutional democracy.
May 28, 2004
Gay marriage on honeymoon during election?
With a federal election underway in Canada, is same-sex marriage the big issue that our opponents have made of it? "No issue, not even remotely, has generated the calls and e-mails that this one has," Liberal MP John McKay said only 9 months ago. Religious groups are trying to stir up voters, but government corruption and other issues seem to be of more concern. Is gay marriage a non-issue at last?
May 20, 2004
The voice the Vatican could not silence
Barbara Rick's new documentary In Good Conscience: Sister Jeannine Gramick's Journey of Faith is touring the film circuit, bringing to new audiences a story of courage and shame. This film is about an American nun who is challenging the Vatican over its treatment of gay and lesbian Catholics. Gramick refused to be silenced when the Pope issued an ultimatum: denounce homosexuality or lose everything.
May 12, 2004
Songs for same-sex marriage
Composers Ron and Maryann Sfarzo have recorded what they call the "first ceremonial wedding song for same sex marriage." After watching the same-sex marriages being performed at the San Francisco City Hall, they decided to write a wedding song. "I Do" is an expression of love and commitment and is dedicated to gay marriage.
May 10, 2004
Love Exiles on board for 13-city U.S. tour
The Netherlands' Love Exiles Foundation was launched yesterday to support same-sex relationship recognition. The father of gay marriage, Dr. Kees Waaldijk spoke at the Amsterdam opening about the spread of rights and recognition for same-sex couples. Love Exiles Foundation also has groups in the U.K., Canada, Germany. We look forward to joining them on the 13-city U.S. marriage equality express tour.
May 6, 2004
Asian Canadians advancing equal marriage
A coalition has been formed to ensure Asian Canadians have a gay-positive representation in our communities. The Toronto-based Asian Canadians for Equal Marriage has the support of the Chinese Canadian National Council and other groups. They will be a positive voice countering the anti-gay stance of extremist Christian Asian Canadians who have paraded and protested in the streets of Canadian cities (e.g., Ottawa and Vancouver in the summer of 2003).
May 4, 2004
Cauchon: caring for Trudeau's Just Society
"Mr. Cauchon picked up the torch of Pierre Trudeau and in equally bold and courageous strokes he set out to modernize Canada's political and legal landscape," said Ontario's Health Minister George Smitherman at Equality Forum awards dinner in Philadelphia on the weekend. "He's best known for his extraordinary efforts to legalize gay marriage in Canada." We bring you pictures and text from the speeches.
April 16, 2004
Thank you gay marriage champion
A champion for the cause of same-sex marriage has taken a medical leave from his position as New Democratic Party Member of Parliament. Svend Robinson announced this sad decision yesterday, when he revealed he had stolen a ring from a merchant last Friday. Our thoughts and prayers are with Svend as he spends time helping himself, and our thanks to him for working to make life better for so many others.
April 1, 2004
Two million visitors since 2001
This month the traffic to this web site will surpass 2 million visitors - 40 million hits. Our next million visitors will arrive this spring/summer. Equal marriage for same-sex couples went online in Oct. 2001,a few days after we finished writing Just Married, and in time for us to begin reporting on the proceedings of our case in Ontario court. Oh, the places we've been! Take a look back at our most popular pages.
March 16, 2004
Canadian religious strategy echoed in U.S.
The Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto prepared the way for a political and legal challeng for same-sex marriage when they married us in January 2001. At the time, our governments said our gay marriage was illegal. The courts proved them wrong. Now a similar initiative is underway in the United States. MCC moderator Rev. Dr. Troy Perry has called for civil disobedience. A New York pastor has answered the call.
March 9, 2004
Place Equal Marriage News on your web site
Many of the features on our web site have been designed by wonderful volunteers. Our newest addition gives you a free opportunity to add extra value to your own web site. Keep your visitors up-to-date with the latest news about same-sex marriage. It's easy to place Equal Marriage News inside any web site. Just copy our code and we do the rest! Spread the news about gay marriage and keep your visitors coming back.
March 5, 2004
Chapel of Love gets an update
Bigotry and anti-gay prejudice espoused by world leaders, like the Pope and the President of the United States, are inspiring more and more people to join the world-wide movement for same-sex marriage. Everyone has their own way in which they can contribute towards advancing the cause. Musician Rex Strother decided to record a satiric adaptation of the tune Chapel of Love that we share with you here.
March 4, 2004
N.Y. recognition of Canadian gay marriages
New York's Attorney General released an opinion yesterday that says state law requires recognizing as valid a marriage that was legally performed elsewhere, including same-sex marriages. The opinion has given a considerable boost to gay residents of New York who have traveled to Canada for marriages. They now have their state's highest legal authority on side, setting the stage for court challenges.
February 25, 2004
Equal marriage tests the land of the free
U.S. President Bush turned his influence against gay and lesbian Americans yesterday when he promised to work for a constitutional amendment in order to maintain marriage discrimination. Although war, the economy, healthcare and education are all concerns, the Republicans have made gay marriage a key political issue. Through it all, Canada serves to dispel fears of calamity associated with equal marriage.
February 18, 2004
Valentine's Freedom to Marry messages
Advocates and supporters celebrated the first Valentine's Day when marriage was legal for same-sex couples in North America. Rev. DiNovo condemned the "pathetic" history of faith-based bigotry. American Brendan Fay praised Canada's maple leaf. Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke after seeing our U.S. neighbors tearfully inspire an impromptu O Canada. And of course there were marriages!
February 13, 2004
It starts with one: SF steps forward
Marriage for same-sex couples received the seal of approval in San Francisco yesterday when Mayor Gavin Newsom delivered on his promise to grant marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Over 50 couples have been married in a step that could be taken by other cities across Canada and the United States. If San Francisco, why not Winnipeg or Montreal? "It's too big," said an overwhelmed newlywed, "It's really big."
Read "It starts with one"
February 10, 2004
A day of love, rememberance and promise
Last October we posted a request from CBC News asking for same-sex couples who would be willing to have their marriage broadcast live on the television program Sunday. Douglass and Stephen Drozdow-St. Christian stepped forward. On Feb. 15, the couple will be married in front of the nation. It's a big step for any couple, as we well know, so we asked the pair to share with us their reasons for saying, "I do".
February 5, 2004
First came the Reform Party, then the Alliance Party, and now the new Conservative party. Politicians from Canada's extreme far-right have attempted to rebrand themselves three times in an attempt to put a happy face on intolerance. But the debate on same-sex marriage reveals that the make-over is merely cosmetic. Homophobia will keep this party from ever governing Canada.
February 3, 2004
Domestic partners harrassed by U.S. Customs
We last wrote about the discriminatory practices of U.S. Customs in 2003 when we were refused entry (Sept. 18) into the States under family status. Customs officials explained their position by saying that the U.S. did not recognize same-sex marriage. Last week, domestic partners, and U.S. citizens Davina Kotulski and Molly McKay received the same treatement by U.S. Customs at San Francisco's airport.
January 28, 2004
Blogging: a powerful ally for equal marriage
A new frontier has emerged in the landscape of human rights. A powerful ally for equal marriage, and an indication of the support from the next generation of opinion makers, can be found in the blogs or online journals that have spread across the Internet. Yesterday alone, 120 bloggers linked to our web site in their online entries at livejournal.com. Just one day in the life of one online journal community.
January 22, 2004
Dennis Mills breaks promise: must resign
Dennis Mills, the Liberal Member of Parliament for the Toronto-Danforth riding, has not kept his commitment to deliver social housing for the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. In November 2003 he promised to resign if he failed to convert a derelict building within 30 days. The anti-gay Mills is a supporter of the Vatican's hateful position against same-sex marriage. We join the OCAP in calling for his exit.
January 20, 2004
Cotler fetches an excuse for injustice
Irwin Cotler, Canada's Justice Minister and Attorney General, continues to compromise justice and equality for political expediency. The legal lapdog fetched an excuse today to explain why he continues to withold pension funds belonging to surviving partners of same-sex relationships. He claims the courts are conflicted. Not true. Like the same-sex marriage delay, it is about avoiding gay issues while an election looms.
January 16, 2004
Same-sex marriage in Manitoba?
EGALE is considering asking Manitoba courts if same-sex couples can be validly married in Manitoba, subsequent to the recent cases in BC and Ontario, and whether these marriages can be registered pursuant to Manitoba law. If you or someone you know wants to get married in Manitoba, please contact EGALE's Prairie Representative Karen Busby.
January 16, 2004
Liberals condemned for waffling
Svend Robinson, MP (NDP party) condemned the recent waffling and backtracking by the Liberal Prime Minister Martin and Justice Minister Cotler. "It is unbelievable that Martin would seriously consider destroying the option of civil marriage ... this would mean that a gay couple could marry in a church ... but a heterosexual couple that are not religious would be denied the right to marry."
January 12, 2004
Same-sex couples invited for checkup
Last year, the Ontario Association for Marriage and Family Therapy said equal marriage was "long overdue" and it offered support to same-sex couples. OAMFT is reaching out again this year by offering a free marriage checkup during Valentines Week, February 9 to 13. The checkup is a confidential 50-minute interview that will shed light on the strong points and potential problem areas in your relationship.
January 8, 2004
2003: the year in review
It was a fantastic year for same-sex marriage in Canada. Gay marriage arrived in Ontario and British Columbia. Same-sex couples won the largest class action judgment in Canadian history. A multi-media public service announcement campaign was launched. We spoke, wrote, and marched all year. Join us in a review of our progress report for 2003, our third year advocating equal marriage for same-sex couples.
January 6, 2004
An addition to the print PSA campaign
Toronto agency Zig released an addition to the equal marriage print campaign today: "Let two gay men marry? Next thing you know blacks will be drinking from the same fountains as whites." The copy of the public service announcement explores the issue of discrimination against minorities and the challenge of change. It's all part of a multi-media same-sex marriage campaign from PFLAG Canada and equalmarriage.ca