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HOMOSEXUAL (SAME-SEX) MARRIAGES IN CANADA

ONTARIO COURT CASE; PART 5

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Previous developments in this case are described in another essay

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Subsequent reactions to the Ontario Court of Appeal ruling of 2003-JUN-10 which legalized same-sex marriage (SSM) in the province:

bullet2003-JUN-13: Chantal Hébert wrote an opinion piece in the Toronto Star: She noted:
bulletIf the Liberal government asks the Supreme Court to rule on same sex marriage, that they "would deal a bigger blow to Parliament's declining relevancy than to the cause of gay equality."
bullet"No legal expert thinks it remotely likely the Supreme Court would overturn the host of decisive court rulings ordering the federal government to harmonize its marriage laws and the Charter of Rights."
bulletIn an apparent reference to the notwithstanding clause, she predicted that no Liberal government would suspend the equality rights of gay and lesbian Canadians.
bulletAll three Liberal leadership candidates are on record as supporting government action to legalize same-sex marriages.
bulletThe extreme right-wing Alliance party appears to be backing off from "the social conservative baggage" that had reduced its support in urban areas of central Canada.

She noted that the three senior courts who have addressed same-sex marriage have only differed only in the amount of time that they gave governments to implement same-sex marriages.

In a rather brutal parting shot, she wrote: "...when the ostrich is well on the way to becoming the de facto mascot of the federal government is it any wonder Canadians are less and less inclined to feel that voting in elections matters?" 1

bullet2003-JUN-13: First SSM license purchased in Kingston ON: Jennifer Hannah, one of the organizers of the local pride parade and her partner, Tina Tom, became the first homosexual couple to purchase a marriage license from the city clerk in Kingston, ON. Hannah said: "It was very exciting to be the first people, but we don't even know if we want to be married. I guess we [got the license] because we could, because we now have the choice....I was a bit nervous because I was expecting some confusion or resistance. But none of that was true. Congratulations were offered...I'm a little skeptical -- we're waiting to see if it's going to be challenged [in the courts]. But it's still been a really good experience." 2

Editors note:
This may sound like a frivolous reason to buy a marriage license. However, it will probably become a collectors' item and increase in value over time. It may well be a good financial investment.

Julie Dark, the sexual and gender diversity coordinator at the Human Rights Office at Queen's University at Kingston said: "The kind of legitimacy that it gives our relationships really does help counteract the shame that many lesbians, gays and bisexuals carry about their sexual orientation...In some ways it seems like the castle is finally crumbling. We may have reached some critical threshold in terms of court decisions and public opinion. 2
bullet2003-JUN-13: Out of province same-sex couples: John Fisher, executive director of the group Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE) said that a gay couple from New Brunswick had gone to Ottawa on JUN-12 to tie the knot. He predicted that additional gay and lesbian couples from out of province will come to Ontario to be married in the coming weeks, unless Mr. Cauchon decides secures a stay of the court's ruling. 3
bullet2003-JUN-14: Response in Canada to SSM: Canadians have apparently reacted to the same-sex marriage developments with a collective yawn. In the JUN-13 issue of the Toronto Star -- one of the most widely read newspapers in Canada -- only one in 14 letters to the editor discussed same-sex marriage; it was supportive. In the week ending JUN-14, only 38 out of the 711 letters to the editor received by the newspaper were on this topic. The JUN-14 edition contained no articles on the topic; of the twelve printed letters to the editor of the Star on SSM:
bulletTwo were critical of logical fallacies an earlier letter which had suggested that if we allow same-sex marriage now, incest will be legalized next.
bulletOne suggested that same-sex couples be denied the right to marry but offered equivalent civil unions instead.
bulletOne criticized the politicians because "these long overdue changes have again been forced by a court's ruling and not by elected legislator acting decisively and with vision....Shame on all our elected 'leaders' for leaving the right decision to be made by someone else"
bulletOne is by an "18 year old Roman Catholic, heterosexual female" who favors same-sex marriage.
bulletOne criticized Michael Leshner, who was married to his gay partner a few hours after the court ruling on JUN-10, because he apparently drank champagne in public -- a violation of Ontario's strict liquor laws.
bullet2003-SEP-6: Two people get married: Alison Kemper and Joyce Barnett, two Anglican deacons, were among the eight same-sex couples who initiated the Ontario court challenge. Their have been together for two decades and have two children. The couple was married in a civil ceremony a few days after SSM became legal in the province. Their union was blessed in a ceremony at the Church of the Holy Trinity, a downtown Toronto Anglican congregation. This is unusual, because the Anglican church of Canada is officially opposed to blessing same-sex couples. Ms. Kemper said: "What happened to us was substantial and something of great joy, and we wanted to celebrate that with our religious community and our friends and neighbors." About 200 people attended the service. 5

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Sponsored link:

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Further developments in this case are described in another essay

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References:

  1. Tonda Maccharles, "Liberals face pressure on same-sex marriage: Justice committee is against court appeal, but minister says he wants to study options," The Toronto Star, 2003-JUN-13, Page A17.
  2. "City Hall issues same-sex marriage license; I was expecting resistance, but congratulations were offered, woman says," Kingston Whig Standard, Kingston ON, 2003-JUN-13, Page 1 & 4.
  3. Janice Tibbetts "Do not appeal same-sex law, Cauchon told. All-party committee vote breaks impasse, backs 'monumental' ruling," The Ottawa Citizen, 2003-JUN-13, at: http://www.canada.com/
  4. "Ontario Court of Appeal accused of bias," SameSexMarriage.ca, 2003-JUL-30, at: http://www.samesexmarriage.ca/
  5. "Miracle moments - The spirit of inclusion is moving among us," RMN Flashnet Digest, 2003-SEP-10.

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Copyright © 2003 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2003-SEP-11
Author: B.A. Robinson

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