Selection Of Your Comments
April 2, 2003
Dear Mr. Bourassa and Mr. Varnell,
My name is Tolga Yalkin, and I'm currently completing my last year of my Bachelor of Commerce at the University of British Columbia. I read your book, and really identfied with it, and when we had the opportunity in one of my classes to write a policy essay on government's impact on business I snatched up the opportunity to write about same-sex marriage. I've enclosed my essay here, thinking that it may be of some interest to you, and more to thank you for inspiring me to write it. I really enjoyed your book, and it made me realize a lot of things about myself, my outlook on life, and what I want, and gave me the strength to believe that one day my aspirations may also become a reality.
Our hope, in writing our book, was that it would inspire others and generate further discourse on this important issue. We are so glad to see that our hope has been realized in your work. We have had other students send us their papers, and we post them on our site (in turn other students access this material for research).
Thank you for writing to us to share your thoughts!
April 2, 2003
I have found your same sex marriage site to be really useful, interesting and amazingly up-to-date. Congratulations. The Canadian Labour Congress will be presenting our brief in support of same-sex marriage next week at the Justice Hearings in Toronto. Marie Clarke Walker, Executive Vice-President of the CLC and Kim Beemer, CLC Vice-President representing Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Workers will be presenting for us.
Thanks for your hard work on this issue.
We greatly appreciate the support of the CLC, representing 2.5 million workers!
April 3, 2003
To Whom it May Concern,
My partner and I have been together for 15 years. Our relationship is grounded in love and respect; we adore each other. We have lived in Memphis TN for way to long. We are trying to save money to move to a place more open and supportive of us. A place that values creativity and is a diverse, colorful, progressive environment. We are looking for a place where we will be accepted; not ostracized or isolated from the community.
Our families are not excepting of our relationship either and offer no support. This area of the Bible Belt South is full of self righteous, bigoted, fundamentalist. At times the hostility is overt; stepping outside the lines isn't valued, blending in is.
If you know of any support systems or groups that could help us with information and support we would be very appreciative
If you are considering a move to Canada, we recommend you contact the Bruce E. Walker law office (they may be able to help you on immigration issues - their link is in the sidebar on the left). Another useful resource to assist you in finding accommodation may be our link partner Gay Spaces.
We encourage our readers to contact Le Rhodes directly with other ideas or suggestions.
April 4, 2003
Kevin and Joe,
I started reading the article by the B.C. student and was caught by his statement referring to the many rights that glbt community has, except for marriage. It occurs to me that there is an assumption by many people that we have more rights than we actually do.
In putting together the course for gay men considering being parents I've been enlightened by the situation that exists in this process. For expample; being a foster parent is virtually not possible and the voice of a foster parent is given very strong wieght in permanently placing the foster child. I was told of a case where a foster child was not placed in the home of a gay couple because of the foster parent's objections. This was in complete defiance of the deceased mother's wishes that the child be placed with a gay couple.
Are you aware of comprehensive data for gay rights across Canada / N. America / the world ?
I believe we're operating inside of inaccurate assumptions that we're really not that bad off in Canada, particularly within the glbt community. This in itself is a deterent to forwarding real equality. This veil of presumtion is seductive and coated in smarmy "big hearted generosity" posing as equality and effectively keeps equality at bay.
Thanks for listening to my diatribe. I really am intested in an accurate read on gay rights in legislation affecting all areas. I'm committed to the day when we, the glbt community, are living with the freedom to walk hand in hand with our children anywhere anytime with the full aknowledgement and support of society.
You only have to talk to an American to realize that LGBT life in Canada is indeed better than in many other countries. But we still have more work to do. Comprehensive data for gay rights across Canada may soon be evailable from EGALE through an information kit with the working title Outlaws and In-laws: Your guide to LGBT rights, same-sex relationships and Canadian Law. A world-wide database of legal information is being developed by CERSGOSIG.
April 6, 2003
Hello. I am sending this note to say thank you for the work you are doing with regards to same sex couples and their rights---------or lack there of.
My partner Marc and I are a binational, same sex couple and are hoping that one day our relationship will be recognized and validated by government. However, at the moment we are forced to do what we have to do in order to generate an income for me. Marc is a U.S. citizen, and I am Canadian. I have been living with my partner in the U.S. for almost 12 years. Working legally is a problem---------so I have had to lower my standards and do what I can to earn an income. It is difficult to swallow my pride and do menial jobs just to survive.
Hopefully one day we will be able to marry and enjoy the same privileges as our heterosexual brothers and sisters. Until then, we do what we have to do. Thanks for fighting for our rights. It is a dream shared by people everywhere.
Our shared dream will one day come true. Until then, we hope your sacrifices are mitigated by your love with Marc and the mutual support of all who are working for equality. Without compromising your legal status in the U.S., please encourage your friends, here or there, to speak out for equality and continue to add your own voice where possible.
April 8, 2003
My name is Russell and I am 22 years old. My partner Chris and myself have been together for two years and are definitely on path to spend the rest of our lives together. He has been studying in France since February and thanks to student discounts (We are both students at the University of Tennessee) I will be spending 3 weeks there in May/June. We would like to take advantage of this and have a commitment ceremony (any where in Europe that we can).
Any information as to where we can have a ceremony and or whom we can contact would be greatly appreciated. Your time is greatly appreciated and we look forward to your response.
We encourage our European visitors to contact Russ with suggestions. Our friend, and legal expert in Europe, Kees Waaldijk wrote:
April 8, 2003
Svend Robinson has issued an urgent call to action for his Bill C-250, which would make anti-lgbt hate propaganda illegal in Canada. The bill is currently before the Justice Committee. This link calls for action, and has links to the Justice Committee members. Please post it at your site...
We have created a graphic link (see sidebar at left) to Mr. Robinson's call to action in solidarity with Bill C-250. We urge our web site visitors to visit the link and write letters to the committee members in support of this bill.
April 11, 2003
Although the "hearings" held in Halifax were ignored by the media (at least we saw no reports), we are deeply moved by the impact you continue to make!
As a gay monogamous couple, we are acutely aware of an uphill struggle! Last evening on QT [Queer Television] we viewed a piece on gay fathers and are curious about any support groups.
Jack and Ken, Halifax
Thanks for your note of encouragement. We have media reports on a Toronto- based support group for gay fathers (National Post) and on the Halifax hearing (CBC).
We are unaware of a support group in your lovely city (we enjoyed visiting Halifax on an advocacy tour last November). I hope you find an increase in support for gay fathers in the future. Perhaps that is something that you can contribute to if it is an area of interest. Meanwhile, we invite others to contact you with information about gay parenting/support.
April 17, 2003
Hello Kevin and Joe,
Not sure if you remember my name. I was one of the students from Dalhousie Law School & the Social Activist Law Student Association (SALSA) who introduced your talk to the law school a few months ago (and joined you for a wonderful meal at Il Mercato).
As exams are now finished for the year, I've started working my way through the long list of books I've wanted to read. "Just Married" has been sitting on my desk since October - and I now find I cannot put it down.
I wanted to thank the two of you for writing a very powerful, informative and (above all) touching book about the fight for equal marriage. It is a beautiful read - one which I will be sharing with my parents in the coming weeks when I visit them in Ontario.
Also, I wanted to wish the two of you strength and luck in the upcoming hearings at the Ontario Court of Appeal. Know that my thoughts are with you.
To give you a bit of an update on what has been happening around here, Dalhousie Law School now has its very first queer legal students association (OUTLAW). Since its creation in January, we have received very positive feedback from the school and the university as a whole.
So far, a lot of our work has focused upon the legal discourse of equal marriage. When the Parliamentary Committee hearings took place in Halifax, I was honoured to have the opportunity to make a submission to them on behalf of OUTLAW. What an interesting experience that was! The highlight of the afternoon was being able to 'correct' an Alliance member's interpretation of the Constitution. To make it even better, Vic Toews had spent a few moments self-proclaiming himself to be an expert on Canadian Constitutional question before he asked the erroneous question. It was a great feeling to use the knowledge I have gained in the last few years to shut the door on a discriminatory line of questioning; he did not have any further questions for me after this occured.
Your talk in the fall has greatly inspired many students who were able to attend, and I often think back to many of the important messages the two of you conveyed during that hour. I hope we all find ourselves celebrating in the coming months.
All the best,
We warmly recall the time we spent with you and our friends at Dalhousie. It was an inspirational experience that lingers with us still.
You must be in need of some R&R after the ordeal of exams. I can't imagine wanting to read a book after all that studying, so I'm glad Just Married didn't disappoint you. Thank you for your kind comments on our work.
Congratulations on your triumph over Mr. Toews. It must have been a special moment ... A fabulous first quarter for OUTLAW.
The author of a letter to the Editor of the Globe and Mail copied us on her submission. We publish it here with our thanks:
April 22, 2003
Itís incredible Ottawa is still refusing to legalize same-sex marriages, wasting taxpayers money in the process. Their reason for opposing same-sex marriage is laughable: "the universal norm of marriage has been a culturally approved, opposite-sex relationship intended to encourage the birth and rearing of children."
April 23, 2003
Hi Kevin and Joe,
Just wanted to thank you for your wonderful update on day one of the appeal. It appears that Roz Levine [lawyer representing the Attorney General of Canada] may be our best witness. In answer to Joe's rhetorical question, why can't we just get on with our lives? Doesn't he get it! As social activists this is our lives. We have all been called to help create and leave a better world than when we first arrived. You guys are doing just that, tell Joe you are getting on with your lives.
God bless you both.
April 23, 2003
I've heard about this site from the news and thought I'd send my comments... I'm only just learning about this area, so please excuse the naivite that you see... I had thought that same sex marriages were actually a 'fait accomplis' a few years back and found it a bit of a shock that it wasn't. I'm glad that people like you put it out to the public about these issues. I don't think that ignorance and intolerance should be excused in this day and age.
Also, at the beginning of this year, I had to have a month of social assistance to get me through between jobs. In the application form it wanted to know about anyone living with me (heterosexual or homosexual relationship). It would nevertheless affect how much financial help I'd receive. If the municipal government want to prevent any possible fraud from the homosexual community, they've sure got it nipped at the bud here! This level of government obviously accepts same sex relationships. I'm just wondering now, if the government accepts same sex partnerships in this kind of situation (living together as commonlaw), why the hell won't they accept it as a full fledged commitment called marriage?
Anyway, thanks again for this site-I know it'll help many people get the facts.
We share your frustration with the contradictions that come from the government. We hope they will be resolved soon - things looked hopeful in the Court of Appeal.
April 24, 2003
Hi Kevin and Joe,
Just a quick question about the appeal, if you win the appeal, then samesex marriage will be allowed, but it you lose then will there be another appeal or will that be the end of it?
I just wanted you to know that I have been reading about the trial and wish all of you the best and hope that this can be resolved once and for all. Some of the statements are ludicruous and simply foolish, there should be no reason that this should not be passed. I think we are a modern enough world now and that society on the whole will accept this.
A victory in the Court of Appeal for Ontario will only be the final step towards registration of our marriage if the Liberal government of Canada decides to stop their long campaign of discrimination against us (they are making the Attorney General of Canada look very foolish in court). Otherwise, the case will proceed to one final higher court: the Supreme Court of Canada, in Ottawa (perhaps sometime in 2004).
Joe and I greatly appreciate the support and love from our family! [Bev is Kevin's sister and Joe's sister-in-LAW).
April 24, 2003
Hi Kevin & Joe,
I just want to congratulate -- again -- on your really wonderful reporting work. I'm truly impressed with the quality of your writing -- the specifics, the quotes, the descriptive images, the parallels and upbeat asides, the positive-moving approach: it's terrific! Getting it up on the website with all the photos as well in such APPEALing fashion, with links and parenthetical explanations for those of us who forget what a reference case was about -- well, it really helps us be there with you, with much better understanding, even from this far corner of the country.
Thank you SOOOooooo much. You are a real inspiration! BIG HUGS from us both,
It has been such a pleasure to work with you and Diana in British Columbia. Together, the B.C., Ontario, Quebec marriage cases are moving our country to the inevitable realization of our full and equal rights.
April 25, 2003
Dear Joe and Kevin,
We're following your journey closely. Your courage, strength, and love is commendable.
Nicla and Mary Ann
Thank you for standing with us in solidarity.
April 25, 2003
Kevin & Joe:
Thanks for keeping your web site daily updates of this week's trial. I can't imagine how you manage to accomplish the updates so quickly .... actually, I can, it is through your hard work and dedication.
And sometimes it means we miss worshiping with you at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, but we are always there in spirit! Our inspiration comes from the tremendous foundation of support we have in MCCT.
April 27, 2003
Dear Kevin and Joe,
I have just finished your last update of the appeal court case in Ontario. My heart beats as I read, and I laugh when I read too.
I really write to you guys to congratulate you on the strong defense again the AGC and its group. I just wonder when we will hear from the court on the verdict of this appeal. I cannot wait to hear that!!!
Also, I would like to thank you for the courageous fight on gay rights. It is people like you who make a big difference in our lives. A big thank you from my heart! If, one day, I do get married in Canada, I would definitely not forget about the courageous couple in Toronto.
We don't think the decision will take as long as the first one from Ontario divisional court (9 months!). We expect the court of appeal will issue a decision around September or October.
April 30, 2003
I'm a Canadian citizen living in the U.S. I have a longtime (27 years) partner, and as soon as same-sex marriage is made legal, I'll cross the border to get married (assuming, of course, there isn't some stipulation that BOTH parties must be Canadian citizens or residents). I realize, though, that a same-sex marriage would not be recognized in the U.S., which has some of the most regressive, right-wing policies in the world!
I really do visit your site daily to find out the latest developments. I sure hope the B.C. decision is positive, which would put additional pressure on the federal government to recognize our rights.