Monday, June 27, 2011

Congratulations to New York and a Caution
written from Attawapiskat, Ontario (Go head, google it!

Congratulations to everyone in New York who work so hard to achieve marriage equality!  Here's hoping that the momentum continues and other states follow New York.  For sure, the religious nut-jobs will be out in full force trying to get the legislation repealed.

When same sex-marriage became legal in Canada ten years ago, I'm sorry to say that I didn't support the measure;  I didn't actively opposite it either.  Rather, I was neutral on the subject.  Being gay was just completely off my radar.

I thought, "Why would gay people need to get married?  They can't have children!"  At the time, I thought the only reason to get married was to provide protections for parents with children, such as maternity and parental leaves for people with natural or adoptive children.  How wrong I was! Despite having been married for ten years myself, I was oblivious to the many dozens of other rights and protections given to married people.

Ten years ago, I would never in a million years have thought that I would hope to (eventually) meet some great guy and get married again.

Canada was the first country in the world to grant full marriage rights to same-sex couples. Since there is no residency requirement, same-sex couples from countries around the world come here to get legally married.  The city of  Toronto bills itself as the 'capital for same-sex marriages' with well over 6,000 such marriages performed.   Please check out one of my earliest posts on 10th anniversary of same-sex marriages in Canada.'

A caution:  Every LGBT American is well aware of what happened in California regarding same-sex marriage.

Unbelievably, Canada may be facing a similar situation.  Two weeks ago, delegates at the Conservative Party convention voted to re-affirm their ban on same-sex marriage. The ruling Conservatives hold an absolute majority in the national parliament and in the Senate.

For more details, read all about it from this leading Canadian LGBT blogger, Slap Upside the Head.

The Supreme Court of Canada has never ruled on the constitutionality of a same-sex marriage ban.   However, a bill to ban Canadian same-sex marriages in Canada would face serious difficulties.

Nine consecutive provincial court rulings have been won, stating that equal marriage is a right guaranteed by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  In the longer term, the Conservative government could appoint judges to change the makeup of the Supreme Court of Canada to include conservative judges who do not support same-sex marriage.

The bottom line: vigilance is required.  The battle continues!


  1. I'm rather surprised that Canada's same-sex marriage law is being challenged. Then again, there are always people who long for an imagined "better time". You're absolutely right, though, that vigilance is required. Sadly, rights are not guaranteed in such a solid way that they cannot be taken away.

    On the subject of why anyone would want to get married, I often wonder that in general. I, myself, enjoy being married. However, given the legal issues around marriage, I wonder if it wouldn't be the same to cohabitate with the same legal rights. This is true for opposite-sex, as well as same-sex couples.

    Perhaps there's in innate sacramental sense to marriage ingrained in our human consciousness. All cultures have marriage. In this debate, there is a separate-but-equal facet going on that suggests that anything but marriage is not marriage.

    While I am 100% in support of things being equal - if straight people can marry, so should gay people - I also wonder if this doesn't challenge the whole institution of marriage. I mean, what does "marriage" mean to us as humans?

  2. One of the things that marriage means to us humans is a set of legal rights, privileges, and protections that are not available without it. As long as governments recognize those rights, privileges, and protections for some, but not all, there is inequality. If the governments would confer those rights, privileges, and protections in some other manner than marriage, there would be no issue.

    Traditionally, in most places, the marriage is based on a religious ceremony that is, in turn, recognized by the state (nation) as conferring the legal benefits. It's the religious component that gets people all upset.

    Here in France, where I live, religious marriages are surprisingly not recognized by the state. Marriage is performed by a civil authority, a mayor or assistant mayor. Only that ceremony is recognized in France as a legal marriage. Many couples also add a religious ceremony, but it is not binding.

    Sadly, same-sex couples do not have the right to marry in France. There is a civil union that is a good runner-up, but it does not confer the totality of rights, privileges, and protections that a civil marriage does.

    Many heterosexual couples prefer not to marry. That is their choice. They either forgo the rights, etc., or they jump through many costly legal hoops to replicate them. Same-sex couples have done this as well. But the option to marry should be available to hetero- and homosexual couples should they desire.

    Have I used up all of my space? Hehehe... sorry about that. :)

  3. See, that's what I'm thinking. I'm starting to think that all couples should just be able to register as domestic partners, and then let the Churches deal with the sacramental side of it.

  4. An interesting discussion, everyone! No one really knows whether or not same-sex marriage in Canada is at risk. After ten years, same-sex marriage (I think) has wide support in Canadian society and by many mainstream churches.

    The view is that the conservatives won't touch this issue just as the prime minister promised not to re-introduce the abortion debate. The conservatives have bigger fish to fry, like destroying our environment, chipping away at our social safety net and taking measures to ensure that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

    The conservatives have an absolute majority (meaning, they outnumber all the opposition parties combined) so they could pass any law they want. A ban on same-sex would then be challenged in the courts.

    After years, the matter would be decided upon by the Supreme Court of Canada which would most likely throw it out based on our constitution's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    I'm still actively planning my own same-sex marriage... once I get divorced and find Mr. Right....

  5. I have faith that the bad conservatives with their evil intentions will stumble and good will prevail in both Canada and the rest of the world.

  6. Buddy Bear, I agree with your assessment. They may be able to try to challenge marriage equality, but eventually it will make its way to the high court and be overruled. As long as the high court does not shift politically(as it did in the US) there should be no change.

  7. I agree with your caution . . . we should not become complacent.


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