Beyond Conjugality - Law Commission of Canada







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Legal News - Law Commission's Beyond Conjugality

December 21, 2001 (Updated May 23, 2007)

Law Commission's Beyond Conjugality
Parliament's judicial advisors say same-sex marriage should be legal

While we waited for judgement in the Ontario hearings for equal marriage, we continued to hold hope that political leaders would, at last, respond to the growing consensus that discrimination against gays and lesbians is not tolerable in Canadian society. Our hope was, in part, fueled by this report: Beyond Conjugality.

Law Commission of Canada ARCHIVE STe
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Yesterday, the President of the Law Commission of Canada, Yves Le Bouthillier, was informed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Vic Toews, of the government’s decision to eliminate the funding of the Law Commission.

Following the federal government’s decision to eliminate funding of the Law Commission of Canada, the President summed up the situation as follows: "Two days ago, I believed the Law Commission could, as it had done for the past nine years, contribute to these issues in a significant manner. Today, the Commission is not in a position to comment on how the work already undertaken will be pursued. The only certainty is that in a not too distant future, it will be in the interest of all Canadians to find new ways to address these important issues."

Law Commission of Canada Press Release
Ottawa, September 26, 2006

The Law Commission was mandated by Act of Parliament, accountable through the Ministry of Justice, "to consult widely across all sectors of Canadian society and to seek innovative approaches for renewing the law that do not necessarily require legislative or judicial action."

Excerpt from Beyond Conjugality:

"The state's interest in marriage is not connected to the promotion of a particular conception of appropriate gender roles, nor is it to reserve procreation and the raising of children to marriage. The state's objectives underlying contemporary regulation of marriage relate essentially to the facilitation of private ordering: providing an orderly framework in which people can express their commitment to each other, receive public recognition and support, and voluntarily assume a range of legal rights and obligations. As the Supreme Court of Canada recognized in 1999 (M. v. H.), the capacity to form conjugal relationships characterized by emotional and economic interdependence has nothing to do with sexual orientation. If governments are to continue to maintain an institution called marriage, they cannot do so in a discriminatory fashion. Accordingly, the Report recommends that Parliament and provincial/territorial legislatures move toward repealing legislative restrictions on marriages between persons of the same sex."

Law Commission of Canada brief to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on the Issue of Same-Sex Marriage

Research Papers referenced by the Law Commission:

Close Personal Relationships between Adults: 100 Years of Marriage in Canada, by Katherine Arnup (2001)

Personal Relationships of Support Between Adults: The Case of Disability, by The Roeher Institute (2001)

Spousal Testimony in Criminal Cases in Canada, by Alan Manson (2001)

Contracts In Close Personal Relationships, by Alain Roy LL.D. (2001)

Compensation for Relational Harm, by Shauna Van Praagh (2001)

Registered Partnerships : A Model for Relationship Recognition, by Nicole LaViolette (2001)

The Legal Regulation of Adult Personal Relationships: Evaluating Policy Objectives and Legal Options in Federal Legislation, by Brenda Cossman and Bruce Ryder (2000)

What's sex got to do with it? Tax and the “family”, by Claire Young

Division of powers and jurisdictional issues relating to marriage, by EGALE Canada (2000)

The Evolution and Diversity of Relationships in Canadian Families, by Teresa Janz (2000)

The Benefit / Penalty Unit in Income Tax Policy: Diversity and Reform, by Kathleen A. Lahey (2000)

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