Legal - Canada - Items from 2003
November 7, 2003
Nunavut will recognize same-sex marriages
Nunavut, an area of almost two million square kilometers in Canada's eastern Arctic, has become the first territory or province in Canada to recognize same-sex marriages solemnized outside of its borders, while still refraining from enacting equal marriage for its own citizens at home. Premier Paul Okalik announced the policy as the legislature debated the inclusion of sexual orientation in human rights law.
October 31, 2003
A reference for same-sex marriage
The Attorney General of Canada issued a factum yesterday containing the arguments in support of the proposed same-sex marriage legislation that will extend gay marriage across the country. The reference to the Supreme Court of Canada asks the court to confirm that the new definition of marriage ("two persons") is constitutionally valid. The court will hear the arguments, for and against, on April 16, 2004.
October 9, 2003
Motion to quash marriage appeals succeeds
The Supreme Court of Canada delivered the latest victory for same-sex marriage when it announced today that it would not allow appeals of the Ontario court decision that changed the common law definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. Religious and secular extremists cooked up two attempts to undermine justice, serving a foul brew of prejudicial poison. The court swallowed none of it.
October 3, 2003
Back to court with new support
For the first time next Monday, the Attorney General of Canada will be in court defending same-sex marriage. The AGC will argue that a motion to appeal the landmark Ontario equal marriage decision has no foundation. Religious and conservative extremists have no right to "step into the shoes of the Attorney General ... to gain control and carriage of the litigation", the AGC argues in a memorandum.
October 3, 2003
U.S. citizens & politicians question Customs
We are grateful for Americans who continue to respond to our failed U.S. border crossing. This week, four senior Democrats sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Customs Service: "We do not understand why it should be American policy to insist that people seeking to enter our country as tourists from another country repudiate their own country's rules and engage in wholly inaccurate self-descriptions in a way they understandably found to be degrading ..."
September 29, 2003
A motion to quash marriage appeals
When the federal government decided not to appeal the Ontario court decision that introduced same-sex marriage to Canada, opponents of equality asked the Supreme Court of Canada to have their organizations substituted for the federal government in an appeal. It is a procedure that has never been permitted in a constitutional case before. On October 6, the SCC will hear arguments aimed to quash an appeal.
September 18, 2003
Banned in the U.S.A.
While travelling to the OutGiving 2003 conference this morning, we were challenged over our right to enter the United States as a family. On previous occasions (as recently as 3 weeks ago in fact) we have travelled to the U.S. and while there have been some strange looks, we have always been stamped through and allowed to go on our way - not this morning however.
September 8, 2003
An appeal for more time
Attempts to appeal the same-sex marriage ruling of the Court of Appeal for Ontario is a tactic to "delay the implementation of same-sex marriage in the hopes that popular support for it will wane" said M.P. Svend Robinson in an affidavit filed to oppose an appeal of the case at the Supreme Court of Canada. A collection of affidavits were recently filed in opposition to a further delay of justice.
September 5, 2003
Art Vautour-Toole adopted the surname of his spouse, Wayne Toole, after the New Brunswick couple travelled to Ontario to get married. The government of Canada issued new federal documents to reflect Art's new surname. His home province, however, refused to recognize a same-sex marriage. Yesterday, Art was arrested during his plea for justice. Today he needs your help. Will others demand justice?
August 20, 2003
The Interfaith Coalition on Marriage and Family, a collection of faith groups cobbled together from Catholic, Evangelical and Islamic traditions have requested leave to appeal the Ontario same-sex marriage decision to Supreme Court of Canada. The group is asking the state to support their faith-based bigotry. If gay marriage is allowed, they feel their religious traditions are compromised.
August 9, 2003
Like many of us, Clayton Chrusch hates politics, but he feels compelled by uninvited forces to corner politicians and demand that they explain why he and his partner of four years, Mike, should be treated so deplorably. Clayton is tracking the free vote for equal marriage so that all of us may hold our politicians accountable, knowing who stood for equality and who voted for bigotry. Please get involved too.
July 30, 2003
Ontario Court of Appeal accused of bias
The Ontario Court of Appeal has been accused of bias in their handling of our same-sex marriage case. Darrel Reid (Focus on the Family) cites this web site's coverage of a Pride event, hosted by the Law Society of Upper Canada, as proof that the court's judgement is corrupted. "This is the sleaziest move yet by these people," responds Douglas Elliott, the lawyer representing our marriage case in court.
July 17, 2003
Canadian government will defend us
Canada's Justice Minister, Martin Cauchon, promised that the Canadian government will resist the interference of the Canadian Catholic Bishops and other religious conservative groups that are trying to impose their faith-based bigotry on Canadians. If these groups are allowed by the Supreme Court of Canada to intervene against same-sex marriage, the Canadian government will oppose them.
July 3, 2003
Celebrating justice with the Law Society
Four of the lawyers who led the fight for same-sex marriage in Canadian courts sat on a panel hosted by the Law Society of Upper Canada last week. We were there to capture a few quotations from their presentations about the amazing victory for equal marriage in this country. Afterwards, we joined a reception with some of the courageous judges from our marriage case and the Honourable Claire L'Heureux Dubé.
June 22, 2003
The liberation of marriage: who's next?
The congregration of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto sang the national anthem today, to celebrate same-sex marriage in Canada. Ontario, however, is the only province adhering to the new definition of marriage. The Justice Minister says it "would be a good thing if the [other] provinces went ahead" and complied with the new law, rather than wait for Ottawa to pass legislation in the fall.
June 20, 2003
Same-sex marriage heats things up!
Within hours of the June 10th declaration of a new marriage law in Ontario, same-sex couples began getting married while the federal government scrambled to respond. We applaud Parliament's marriage committee chair, the Justice Minister, and the Prime Minister for clearing a way to equal marriage. But more work is required, as things begin to heat up in response to a summer of love, unlike any other.
June 13, 2003
Thinking of getting married in Canada?
Word has spread that Ontario will marry non-resident same-sex couples, the first country to offer marriage equality to its citizens and its guests. But be informed. When you sign your name on the line, its not a petition for marriage, but the real thing. U.S. rights and legal groups have co-authored an advisory which we include here, as well as related information about how to get married in Ontario.
June 11, 2003
all over - except for the bluster
The morning after a landmark victory in Ontario appeal court, the new reality is spreading across the nation and around the world. Yes, any couple who meets the normal requirements (legal age, not already married, not related, etc), can legally marry in Ontario. Parliament is formulating their response, but actions speak louder than words as couples from across Ontario obtain marriage licences.
May 30, 2003
Committee will support same-sex marriage
We first heard hints of a thaw in the Liberal government's opposition to same-sex marriage, in private, off-the-record comments made to us and our friends/supporters. But there was nothing to report until today. This morning, the Ottawa Citizen carried a news report with the headline "Committee backs homosexual marriages". Is it time to make peace with our (former?) foe and praise the Liberal party?
May 28, 2003
Martin lowers the bar to same-sex marriage
Canada's prime-minister-in-waiting, Paul Martin, has changed cleaners. Instead of looking to the Supreme Court of Canada to do his job of upholding Canadian Charter rights, he is now deferring to the Court of Appeal for Ontario to clean-up same-sex marriage discrimination. Prime Minister Chretien should have the courage to leave with a legacy burnished by respect for the Charter he helped create.
Justice Critic tells feds: respect the Charter
Today, the federal Bloc Québécois party sent us a position paper on same-sex marriage, with a communiqué dated April 27, 2003. The documents say that same-sex marriage is a matter of equality in law for all citizens. M.P. Richard Marceau, Justice critic, said Canada's Justice Minister Martin Cauchon (Liberal party) faces a simple choice: respect the Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms and legislate same-sex marriage or defy the charter and the courts by invoking the notwithstanding clause (and in effect, declaring gay and lesbian couples "non-persons" without protections), an option that Marceau deemed "unacceptable".
Extended run for cruel joke
The parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights was formed to hear testimony about same-sex marriage. Instead, the Liberal party's Andy Scott has allowed witnesses to denigrate all homosexuals with what M.P. Svend Robinson describes as "hatred and venom". This mockery of justice is set to tour the country, but one couple has dropped out and another may change testimony to protest this abusive platform for bigotry.