Sunday, January 16, 2011

10th Anniversary for Canadian Same-Sex Couples.

Credit:  GrahamAndGrahamPhotography.com
On 14, January, 2001, two Canadian couples became the first in the world to be legally married.  Although other same-sex marriage ceremonies had been previously performed elsewhere, theirs were the first legally-registered marriages.

The two couples, Joe Varnell and Kevin Bourassa and Anne and Elaine Vautour  renewed their vows this Friday in Toronto.

Legal Battles
 The governments of Ontario and Canada refused to recognize the legality of the marriages.  The couples challenged this view and their marriages were declared legal in Ontario divisional (lower) court in July 2002 and in Ontario's Court of Appeal in June 2003, at which point the marriages were registered.

In December 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the marriage of same-sex couples is constitutional based on the protection of equality rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Marriage in Canada was essentially redefined as being between between “persons” rather than being between a man and a woman.

Finally
On June 28, 2005, same sex marriage was approved by Canada's House of Commons and became legal for the entire country on July 19, 2005.

It is estimated there are over 7,500 married same-sex couples in Canada.  These same-sex couples enjoy every legal and civil right and financial protection enjoyed by every other married couple in Canada including full adoption rights, the right to file joint income tax returns, property rights, employer spousal benefits, spousal inheritance rights, rights to spousal pensions, the right to make medical decisions if one spouse is incapacitated, as well as the right to divorce, to name just a few.

"Gay and lesbian people fall in love. We settle down. We commit our lives to one another. We raise our children. We protect them. We try to be good citizens."
California Sen. Sheila Kuehl

7 comments:

  1. I heard many times that Canada is amazing place to LIVE. If I have to leave Vietnam for the rest of my life, I'll choose Canada.

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  2. What? Canada hasn't fallen apart since allowing gay marriage? Families and children aren't threatened? There aren't people trying to marry the pet dog?

    That's what the religious zealots in the US think will happen if 'rights' are given to 'all' Americans.

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  3. I will be intrigued to see what happens next

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  4. Sorry to be the wet skunk in the ointment, but it seems to me that there are some flaws in the idea of gay marriage.

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said, "Marriage in Canada was essentially redefined as being between between 'persons' rather than being between a man and a woman." What same-sex couples wanted was what opposite-sex couples had. But they didn't get it. What they got was a redefined institution — something different. Many gay people are unable or unwilling to recognize that what happens when same-sex marriage is legalized is not equal rights to marriage as it has been, but a new kind of marriage. And of course, the big difference is that the state says procreation and marriage are unrelated. Because, if the state thought that marriage had anything to do with procreation, it could never consider calling a same-sex relationship marriage. Whether two people love each other is essentially none of the state's business. Whether they have the bodily organs that make reproduction possible and are willing to commit to staying together is very important to a state that wants a next generation.

    I think one place where the advocates of same-sex marriage committed their fallacy, and the courts and legislatures who fell for it erred, was in treating marriage as a matter of an individual's rights, when marriage involves a couple. The question was never whether a specific individual had a right to marry. It was a question of whether a given couple was capable of marriage. And until marriage was redefined into something different from what it had always been, the law recognized that the same-sex couple was incapable of marriage. There was no denial of individual rights.

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  5. Thanks for commenting, Tai! Yes, Canada really is fantastic. Also, there are large Vietnamese communities in big cities such as Vancouver and Toronto, so you'd feel more at home, rather than living in a smaller centre.

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  6. Dr. Spo: Yes, I expect to find Mr. Right eventually, and get married again. This is all far into the future, however!

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