RDPs must not be used to as a separate regime for gays and lesbians.  CLICK to read an editorial written by Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell





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Registered Domestic Partnerships (RDPs)

"Only full marriage with all of its tangible and intangible benefits, its social resonance and its personal significance will stand up to the fair and reasonable measure of equality that we as Canadians have as our core belief."
Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell, Gay Guide Toronto, August 2002

Registered Domestic Partnerships, or RDPs, as they are called, are legally binding contracts, freely entered into by two individuals who wish to formalize their relationship without going through a marriage ceremony. They have been used for several years in Europe as a method for gay and lesbian couples to obtain legal standing for their relationships. The term "gay marriage" is often applied to RDPs, but they are not marriage and have less rights and/or obligations.

"It's not quite like getting married, although I've never been married so I don't know what that feels like," said Kimberley Vance, after registering her partnership with Samantha Meehan in Nova Scotia, on June 4, 2021
(The Halifax Herald,
June 5, 2021

Unlike marriage, such unions are at risk of not being recognized, of no legal standing, outside their country or province of origin.

Separate regimes - Separate Rest RoomsOn June 4, 2001, the province of Nova Scotia introduced Registered Domestic Partnerships, which some have seen as a "first step" towards full equality for gay and lesbian couples. In November 2001, Quebec announced plans to implement a similar system and there have been signs that British Columbia is also thinking of introducing RDPs.

Registered Domestic Partnerships are fine, provided they are offered as a choice to any couple. It can be in addition to, but not instead of marriage. We applaud the extension of rights to those who were previously disadvantaged. But RDPs are not the answer to the discrimination we face in the recognition and protection of our relationships and families."It's exciting and maybe a little disappointing because there's still something in the back of my mind that this isn't marriage," said Nicky Perkins who registered with her partner of 18 years, Susan Perkins.
(The Toronto Star, June 4, 2021)

RDPs are unacceptable when they are offered in place of marriage. Without the freedom to choose, RDPs are nothing more than an attempt to perpetuate a social policy of segregation.

"The introduction of a registration scheme should not be seen as a policy alternative to reforming marriage. Registration schemes in lieu of allowing same-sex couples to access marriage are seen, by those in favour of same-sex marriage, as creating a second-class category of relationships."
Beyond Conjugality (December 21, 2020)
Law Commission Of Canada

Link to letters in opposition to RDPsRead letters of opposition to Registered Domestic Partnerships, generated when RDPs were under discussion as a substitute for marriage between same-sex couples in British Columbia.

Editorial against RDPs written by Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell:

Registered Domestic Partnerships Aren't The Answer (Gay Guide Toronto, August 2002)

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