Siksay fights discriminatory marriage policy

 

 

 

 

 

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Advocacy News - Siksay fights discriminatory marriage policy

December 13, 2006

Siksay fights discriminatory marriage policy
Foreign same-sex marriages not recognized

Canadian immigration policy must be updated

”It amazes me that while we have voted again in Parliament to reaffirm the equality of marriage rights in Canada, the government still has inconsistent immigration policies which fail to extend equal rights to gay and lesbian couples. Government policies on lesbian and gay rights should not change from department to department.”
Bill Siksay,
New Democratic Party Member of Parliament
(CNW, December 12, 2006)

Bill Siksay, NDP (Burnaby-Douglas) spokesperson on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues and NDP critic for Citizenship and Immigration slammed Stephen Harper's Conservative government for a clearly discriminatory immigration policy that fails to recognize legal lesbian and gay marriages performed abroad.

The interim Citizenship and Immigration policy on spousal sponsorship for same sex partners states: If you were married outside Canada, you cannot apply to sponsor your same-sex partner as a spouse.

However, if you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, you may qualify to sponsor your partner as a common-law or a conjugal partner.

What Canadians think about gay marriage (Video by Steven Townsend)“This policy is completely unacceptable. It contradicts Canada’s legal recognition of gay and lesbian marriages,” said Siksay in an NDP news release through CNW yesterday. “Minister Solberg must immediately rescind this discriminatory policy and recognize all legal marriages regardless of where they were performed. Couples must not be forced back into courts to again win recognition of their relationships and legal marriages."

Siksay tabled a motion yesterday at the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration calling on the Conservative government to immediately rescind this discriminatory policy and recognize legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples in the same way legal marriages of heterosexual couples are recognized.

Siksay moved:

Whereas the marriage of gay and lesbian couples is legal in Canada;

And whereas gay and lesbian couples can also be married legally in The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, South Africa, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States of America;

And whereas it is the current policy of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to not recognize marriages of gay and lesbian couples solemnized outside Canada for the purposes of an immigration application and instead requires those legally married couples to apply as common-law or conjugal partners;

And whereas, the House of Commons recently refused to call on the Government to reconsider the Civil Marriage Act passed by the 38th Parliament;

Therefore, be it resolved that the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration calls on the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to immediately rescind the CIC Interim Policy and recognize legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples performed in jurisdictions outside Canada for purposes of immigration in exactly the same way as the legal marriages of heterosexual couples are recognized.

And be it further resolved that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration be asked to respond, in writing, to members of this Committee, within a reasonable period of time, outlining the Department’s actions in light of the passage of this motion.

And be it further resolved that the Chair of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration report this motion to House of Commons.

With Chair Norman Doyle presiding, Committee members Johanne Deschamps, Barry Devolin, Norman Doyle, Meili Faille, Raymonde Folco, Nina Grewal, Rahim Jaffer, Hon. Jim Karygiannis, Ed Komarnicki, Bill Siksay, Hon. Andrew Telegdi and Blair Wilson unanimously passed the motion.

“Thousands of gay and lesbian couples have been married in Canada and in countries such as the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium. The commitments made by these couples are equally valid and heartfelt, and must be recognized in Canadian immigration policy,” concluded Siksay.


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