Are we married or aren’t we?





Yesterday the news that gay marriages performed in Canada to couples who don’t live here may not be valid, swept the internet news sites and the blogosphere alike. As a Canadian and a supporter of gay marriage, the news made me a little sick to my stomach. This was the first article I saw on the story. In the last paragraph, the article quotes family law attorney Andrew Feldstein, of Toronto, as saying, “Where the Harper government should have approached this is: you are not a resident of Canada, you are not a taxpayer in Canada, why should we be using the court’s time, money, resources, taxpayers dollars for people who don’t live in Canada?”

My response to this comment is, it’s not taxpayers who pay for divorce proceedings, it’s the couple in question. Is Canada now so allergic to money that we will decline it just because it comes from another country… or is this a gay issue? Is gay money somehow not worth as much as straight money? And what about all the tourist dollars we get from the gay couples from all over the world who come here to get married, some with an entire wedding party in tow? Are we, as a country really in a position, in this economy to turn away revenue? I am purposefully responding to this topic from a financial view-point because that’s the only thing that lawyers and politicians seem to respect and understand. Financially, this just doesn’t make sense.

What about Canada’s reputation as a tolerant country? We are a country that famously touts our multicultural  status as something to be proud of… and it is. We are ahead of the curve when it comes to Human Rights… but Gay Rights ARE Human Rights.

One month ago, almost to the day, former Prime Minister, Jean Chretien posted a letter to the Liberal party website. In it he said, “The Conservatives already ended gun control and Kyoto. Next may be a woman’s right to choose, or gay marriage. Then might come capital punishment. And one by one, the values we cherish as Canadians will be gone.” Did he know something the rest of us didn’t? Of course the liberals are jumping all over this hot button issue. Interim liberal leader Bob Rae was quoted as saying. “It’s quite clear that we have enabled and allowed people to come to Canada to marry in Montreal, in Toronto and everywhere in the country. People came from the U.S. and elsewhere and that means very clearly they have the right to marry and have the right to divorce,” and he’s right.

Just one day later, the Federal Government has decided to change the law.

“We want to make it very clear that in our government’s view, these marriages should be valid,” a senior government official said on Friday. “That’s why we will change the Civil Marriage Act so that any marriages performed in Canada that aren’t recognized in the couple’s home jurisdiction will be recognized in Canada.”

This is fantastic news and I’m sure it will be implemented quickly so as to nip this scandal in the bud.

I must admit I’m a little confused by something. Using the United States as an example, what about gay couples who marry in Vermont, but live in Florida? Their marriage isn’t recognized in the state they live in, so if one partner is in the hospital, for example, the other isn’t considered a family member, regardless of the marriage licence issued by Vermont. If this hypothetical couple wants to divorce, doesn’t the same problem rear its ugly head? Are they only married in Vermont and the other 5 states that allow gay marriage, but not married in the other 44 states that don’t?

It’s questions like these that I hope the GLBTQIA community south of the border is asking itself. I sincerely hope that this issue spurs more activism in the United States and around the world.


9 thoughts on “Are we married or aren’t we?

  1. I am heterosexual, but I have several gay friends and they deserve the rights of people who are not gay.
    What’s that about “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”?

  2. I am also heterosexual. You don`t have to be gay to support human rights for everyone. The more we all support each other, the less this world becomes us vs. them and we can all focus on making the planet a better place to live for everyone.

  3. Totally agree with you – gay rights are human rights. It’s embarrassing that we Americans don’t value people enough to let them marry who they want to marry. I’m grateful that Canada is a step ahead of us and will let these folks marry up there. I love that you spell it out in financial terms. I agree, I’d rather people concentrated on the human rights angle, but if the money will convince them, it’s better than nothing.

    Got referred to your page by my friend Erika Gardner. Wonderful insights! I will definitely be stopping back by.

  4. This up and coming generation of voters feel more positive about gay marriage than the older voters. We’ll get there with this issue. Hell, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed last year in the US. When the Army accepts it the rest of the United States isn’t too far behind. We veterans will retire in every state and every city in the country. We’ll take our experiences with gay people with us and influence the culture.

  5. Been meaning to pop by for a while now, LOVE that you are participating in the blackout tomorrow- me , too. Leave it to us Yanks to completely and utterly f*** things up for everyone. Doing my damnest to say no to this thing.

    But, I digress, your piece on gay marriage is dynamite! Sassy, smart and on point- such a joy to read. Keep ’em coming, girlfriend… I’m telling friends about you and spreading the word- you are FUN!

  6. Harper held his nose and fixed the problem because he recognised they really had no choice in the matter. If they were able to take the money and not recognise the marriages, I believe they would.

    About the only thing I agree on with Harper’s gang is killing the long gun registry.


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