Anne France Goldwater, one of the lawyers representing René and Michael in their pursuit of "full marriage"



























It should be clear that the Coalition seeks marriage. It never asked for a civil union for same sex couples.




A message from the Quebec Coalition concerning
Civil Union

As you know, the Quebec government is submitting their white paper on civil union (not civil marriage) tomorrow, December 7th at 10 AM. There has been much discussion concerning RDPs (registered domestic partnerships) and some disagreement among various queers about how we, as a community, should deal with these new strange beasts born of our battle for full civil equality via access to civil marriage.

The posting that follows is in three parts:

  1. Who are the players in Quebec?
  2. What is the actual opinion of the members of the Coalition as we call it?
  3. The Coalition's press release (translated into English)

Sorry it is so long but René and I think, and the spokesperson for the Coalition, Irène Demczuk, thinks, that those who are interested should have all the information we can offer you at this point (we have yet to see the final version of the white paper).

Michael Hendricks and René LeBoeuf

Who are the players in Quebec?

1) The Quebec government (presently controlled by the PQ majority). Until November 9th, the government claimed that same sex couples had total equality, The opposition, the Quebec Liberal Party, supports civil marriage for same sex couples. The provincial election will be in the fall of 2002 (get it?).

2) Le Couple Hendricks-LeBoeuf and their entourage called La Coalition québécoise pour le droit au mariage pour les gais et les lesbiennes. We started this fight for full civil equality in Qubec in September 1998. Since then other groups, and in one case EGALE, have undertaken similar battles in other provinces (2 groups in BC and 2 groups in Ontario).

3) La Coalition québécoise pour la reconnaissance des conjoints et conjointes de même sexe. This is the Coalition, founded in 1998, which is composed of a broad spectrum of Quebec's civil society including our 9 major trade unions and all of the major gay and lesbian groups in Quebec plus La Fédération des femmes du Québec. The Coalition for marriage is also a member as is EGALE. When we speak in Quebec of the Coalition this is the group we are talking about.

4) Finally, to muddy the waters, there is a tiny autonomous group in Quebec City with the lofty name of La Coalition gaie et lesbienne du Québec (IGLA ­ NA). Last weekend, this group, led by a lawyer named Claudine Ouellet asked for letters of support to be sent to Bernard Landry concerning his civil union proposal. None of the community players, including the Coalition, shares this optimistic, or rose-colored, view of the PQ's latest electoral strategy. As a favor to all of us who have worked so hard, we ask you to hold off on your letters until something encouraging actually shows up.

What is the actual opinion of the members of the Coalition?

All the community and civil society players were caught off guard by the Quebec government's announcement of this new "civil union" on the second day of the marriage trial. We have yet to see the white paper that will be tabled but we have some indications of the contents of the original version and have discussed our objections at length with representatives of the government. After much discussion among ourselves we came to a conclusion of what to do (summed up in the following paragraph). Also, a press release was issued yesterday by the Coalition (which is translated at the end of this posting).

It should be clear that the Coalition seeks marriage. It never asked for a civil union for same sex couples. The civil union proposed by the Quebec government is its response to the Hendricks-LeBoeuf marriage case. Since we must wait probably 5 years for an answer from the Supreme Court in the marriage case, civil union could, if the present proposal is enriched, give at least parental rights to lesbian mothers and gay fathers. This is a "win" for our community. It is urgent that the rights of our families are recognized. If the final version of this proposed law does not contain parental rights, we will communicate our anger to this government. For the moment, there is a little door that has opened and it is up to us to enlarge it.

(Irène Demczuk, 6/12/10)

British Columbia