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!!!!!!!! Search error!  If the URL ends something like .htm/  or .htm# delete the character(s) after .htm and hit return.

Same-sex marriages

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Same-sex marriages (SSM) in Canada

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cartoon about marriage in canada

cartoon about SSM in Canada

Two opposing sound bytes about Bill C-38 which legalized same-sex marriage:

bullet"Since the beginning of history marriage has changed very little." Focus on the Family Canada. 1
 
bullet "There are eight different family/marriage structures in the Bible. Consider the legalization of same-sex marriages in Canada in 2003 onwards; same-sex marriages in Massachusetts in 2004;  inter-racial marriages in 1967 and marriage by African Americans in the 19th century." From an Email by a person who prefers to remain anonymous.

Brief summary of SSM in Canada:

Holland and Belgium were the first political jurisdictions in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry. In mid-2003, the province of Ontario became the third. Subsequent lawsuits in other provinces forced other reluctant provincial governments to legalize SSM.

On 2005-FEB-01, the Canadian federal government introduced bill C-38 to legalize SSM in all ten provinces and three territories.

By 2005-JUL-19, courts had ruled that same-sex couples could marry in eight out of the ten provinces of Canada, and in one out of the three territories. A court case was active at the time in the Northwest Territories. The two provinces that had traditionally been the slowest to grant lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons equal rights are also the most religiously conservative: Alberta and Prince Edward Island. They remained intransigent on the matter of marriage equality.

Bill C-38 passed its final vote in the House of Commons during the evening of 2005-JUN-28. The vote was 158 to 133. The bill passed its final vote in the Senate by a vote of 47 to 21 with three abstentions on 2005-JUL-19. It was signed into law on 2005-JUL-20 by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. The Governor General, who usually proclaims legislation, was incapacitated at the time for medical reasons.

The main result of the bill was that about 10% of those Canadian same-sex couples who wished to get married were able to do it more conveniently. They could marry within their province or territory without the nuisance of having to go elsewhere in Canada. Also, the status of these couples would be raised from simple roommates to a married couple in their province or territory of residence.

Four and a half years later, during 2006-DEC, the Conservative Party under Prime Minister Stephen Harper mounted an attack on SSM by attempting to reopen debate on bill C-38. His motion was defeated in the House of Commons.

The federal Conservative Party, still under Prime Minister Harper, resumed the attack during 2012-JAN, in the court. This time, they attempted to forcibly terminate that marriages that had been solemnized by visitors to Canada. This provoked outrage, and the Government quickly retreated.

Starting on 2013-OCT-24 and continuing at least until 2014-FEB, ISideWith.com conducted a poll of Canadians, asking the question: "Should the government allow same sex marriage?." Over 95,000 Canadians had voted by 2014-FEB-20:

pie chart giving polling results

  • 86% Yes
  • 10% No
  • 4% uncertain, refused to answer, or expressed a different point of view.

It is important to remember that for this poll, and all other polls taken over the Internet, the vote is not based on a random selection of persons. Only individuals who have come to the ISideWith web site and who were motivated to respond to the poll were counted. If a truly random selection had been made, one could expect a slightly different result.


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Topics covered in this section:

bulletBackground material:
bullet Brief overview of SSM in Canada

bulletIntroduction to SSM <<< Americans in particular should read this first

bulletMajor events and current status of SSM in Canada <<< This is also important

bulletMarriage laws in Canada
 
bulletTimeline of the granting of GLBT rights in Canada
bullet1965 to 1999
bullet2000 to now
 
bulletTimeline of recent SSM court decisions, government actions, etc
bulletPredictions of long term effects of same-sex marriage in Canada
bulletDo you want to get married in Canada?
bulletText of court decisions, documents, research papers, etc.
bulletPositions taken towards SSM by various groups in Canada
 
bulletReactions by conservative Christians:
bulletFocus on the Family's "Mom & Dad" ads
bulletBishop Henry's pastoral letter and resultant human rights commission complaints
bulletReligious pressure on MPs by the Roman Catholic Church
bulletPublic opinion:
bullet Polling data from: 1996 to 20022003; 2004; 2005; 2006 and later
bulletAnecdotal comments about SSM

bulletSSM activity at the provincial / territorial level:
The following essays discuss the process by which SSM was legalized one province and territory at a time across Canada. This material is primarily of historical interest at this time, because a federal law made SSM available everywhere in Canada -- except for Prince Edward Island (PEI). On 2005-JUL-20. PEI capitulated when faced with a lawsuit.
bulletAlberta: Forced to recognize SSM by federal legislation.

bulletBritish Columbia: Forced by court order.

bulletManitoba: Forced by court order.

bulletNew Brunswick: Forced by court order.

bulletOntario: Forced by court order.
bulletPart 1 From the reading of the banns to the Ontario Divisional Court decision.
bulletPart 2 Reactions to the decision; Parliamentary commission.
bulletPart 3 Appeal to, and decision of, the Ontario Court of Appeals.
bulletPart 4 Initial reactions to the court decision.
bulletPart 5 Later reactions.
bulletPart 6: Attempts by religious and social conservatives to appeal the ruling.
bulletPart 7: Housekeeping amendments by the legislature
bulletOne child with three legal parents: Ontario court decision

bullet Newfoundland / Labrador: Forced by court order

bulletNorth West Territories: Forced by federal legislation

bulletNova Scotia: Forced by court order.

bulletNunavut: Forced by federal legislation

bulletPrince Edward Island: Forced by federal legislation

bulletQuebec: Forced by court order.

bulletSaskatchewan: Forced by court order.

bulletYukon: Forced by court order.

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bulletSSM activity at the national level:
The following essays discuss the process by which a federal law was developed which enlarged the definition of marriage in Canada to include all loving committed couples -- both opposite sex and same-sex.
bulletFederal parliamentary commission on SSM & discussion paper

bulletFederal government decision to legalize SSM.

bulletInitial reactions to the government decision
bullet Timeline of subsequent developments:
bullet2003-JUN-25 to AUG-11 Draft marriage act; Supreme Court reference
bullet2003-AUG-12 to AUG-21 Civil union option; Alliance Party motion
bullet2003-AUG-22 to SEP-7 Various rallies & attacks on government
bullet2003-SEP & OCT Motion shelved; attempts to appeal lower court decision
bullet2003-NOV to 2004-SEP-15 4th reference added; First SSM divorce. SSM in Quebec

bullet2004-SEP-16 to OCT-04 SSM in Manitoba & Nova Scotia.
bullet2004-OCT-04 to OCT-07 The hearing before the Supreme Court.
bullet2004-OCT-08 to NOV-26 Private member bill; "spouse" redefined; survivor pensions.
bullet2004-DEC-01 to DEC-11 Supreme Court of Canada decision; interpretations.
bullet2004-DEC-12 to 2005-JAN-20 Posturing prior to the recall of Parliament.
bullet2005-JAN-21 to JAN-31: More posturing.
bullet2005-FEB-01 to FEB-02: Bill C-38 "Civil Marriage Act" is introduced to Parliament.
bullet2005-FEB-03 to FEB-15: Debate continues.
bullet2005-FEB-16 to FEB-18: Debate continues.
bullet2005-FEB-19 to MAR-29: Debate continues. Conservative amendment fails.
bullet2005-MAR-30 to JUN-14: Bill's second reading, committee review.
bullet2005-JUN-15 to JUN-28: Bill is passed by the House of Commons.
bulletReactions to the passage of C-38 in the House.
bullet2005-JUN-29 to JUL-17: Bill is considered by the Senate and committee.
bulletThree selected speeches for and against C-38 in the Senate.
bullet2005-JUL-18 and 19:  Bill is debated by the Senate.
bullet 2005-JUL-19:  Senate debate continues.
bullet 2005-JUL-19 and 20: Debate concludes. Bill is passed by the Senate and signed into law.
bulletPositive reactions to the SSM law.
bulletNegative reactions to the SSM law
bulletSubsequent development during 2005

bullet2006-JAN to JUN activity SSM to be revisited?
bullet2006-JUL to NOV activity More speculation on the future of SSM
bullet

2006-DEC:  Federal Conservative party attacks SSM by attempting to reopen debate on SSM

bullet Is the matter settled?   Part 1   Part 2

bulletThe Federal Government's "Reference" to the Supreme Court
bulletThe path forward; predicted future timeline
bulletSame-sex parenting: a massive study commissioned by Liberals, suppressed by Conservatives
bulletPotential roadblocks to implement SSM across Canada
bulletWill provincial governments be able to opt out of registering SSM? The answer is no
bulletThe rights of clergy and others to refuse services to same-sex engaged couples

bulletBriefs submitted to the government by various groups:
bulletAnalysis of a brief submitted by the Interfaith Coalition on Marriage and Family
bulletUnited Church of Canada submission
bulletEvangelical Fellowship of Canada submission

bullet Developments after 2006:
bullet 2011: Saskatchewan: conflict with marriage commissioners

bullet 2012-JAN to now: Federal Conservatives reopen attack on SSM. Census data: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4 <<< Current activity

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Site navigation:
"SSM" means "same-sex marriage"

Home > Religious info. > Basic > Marriage > SSM menu > SSM submenu > here

Home >Religious information > Basic info > Canada> here

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > SSM menu > SSM submenu > here

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Redefinition of Marriage: A Focus on the Family Q&A," FamilyFacts.ca, undated, at: http://www.fotf.ca/
  2. The red and white banner is is a custom graphic copied from Tania's site at: http://www3.sympatico.ca/
  3. "Should the government allow same sex marriage?," ISideWith, as of 2014-FEB-20. at: http://canada.isidewith.com/

Copyright © 1998 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2014-FEB-20
Author: B.A. Robinson

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