Marriage at City Hall
don’t think it’s a role that city council can play,”
not city council’s role to determine the rights and wrongs of this issue.”
I don’t think there is anything we can do. It’s all provincial and federal.”
“I don’t want to comment on that.
It’s a no-win situation.”
gay and lesbian communities would have to be the catalyst for it. I don’t think
it’s my responsibility as a politician to suggest they aren’t entitled to that
that got to do with the municipality? Nothing.”
is with great enthusiasm that O.A.M.F.T. anticipates the long overdue, recognition
of same sex marriage in the province of Ontario. We applaud the tremendous courage
and patience of our gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gendered citizens in our
ongoing struggle to win equality before the law ..."
Advocacy News - Advocacy news from 2003
Archive - Advocacy news from 2003
December 16, 2003
Surviving partners seek spousal pensions
Long-time gay rights activist George Hislop, and other claimants in a class action, may celebrate Christmas with a sense of justice and security this season. Ontario Superior Court is expected to release its decision from a Canada Pension Plan case in the near future. "In its simplest terms, this case is about a right to equal benefits for equal premiums," says Hislop's law firm Elliott & Kim.
December 15, 2003
Nation Builders: Ontario Court of Appeal
Chief Justice McMurtry, Judge Gillese and Judge MacPherson have been named The Globe and Mail's 2003 Nation Builders. The honour was bestowed upon the Ontario Court of Appeal in recognition of the the historic June 10 decision that brought same-sex marriage to Ontario. It was "the most concrete sign of the country's determination to be a socially liberal place," the national newspaper wrote.
December 12, 2003
Canada's new Justice Minister: friend or foe?
At first glance, Irwin Cotler, Canada's new Minister of Justice, looks like one who would support same-sex marriage. As a professor, his area of expertise is human rights and constitutional law. However a closer look reveals a disturbing possibility. "I think that there can be another option than same-sex marriage," he has said. Is the rookie M.P. a front man for the religious elements within Paul Martin's government?
December 11, 2003
Prodding Paul Martin - Canada's new P.M.
The new Liberal Party leader, Paul Martin, becomes Canada's next Prime Minister when fellow Liberal Jean Chretien steps down tomorrow. Martin has been coy regarding how his leadership will impact the roll-out of same-sex marriage across the rest of Canada. On the eve of his ascension, we are asking supporters to encourage Paul Martin to lead Canada away from discrimination against gays and lesbians.
December 8, 2003
Equality Forum unveils Canadian Content
The Honourable Martin Cauchon, Canada's Attorney General and Justice Minister, will receive the 9th annual International Role Model Award from Equality Forum at a Philadelphia conference that will feature Canada next spring. The award, given for ending the legal battle against same-sex marriage, was announced today, along with a list of 19 prominent Canadians who will represent Canada at the conference.
November 27, 2003
Gay conspiracy: 40 years to equal marriage
The Alliance party of Canada hopes to merge with the Progressive Conservative party in order to present an electable face to the voters. It's the third make-over for the Alliance party, but each time, bigotry shows its face. The most recent example came today when the party's family critic said he was in favour of criminalizing homosexuality again.The MP told of a 40 year gay conspiracy leading up to same-sex marriage.
November 25, 2003
An attack on Andy Scott
Liberal Member of Parliament Andy Scott, the chair of Parliament's marriage committee, was attacked on Saturday by a man who was on a postering campaign against same-sex marriage. The attack happened at Scott's riding office in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The MP spent Monday resting at home. A 48-year-old man has been arrested. Please join us in speaking out against this attack.
November 19, 2003
Equal marriage public service announcements
"What's wrong with gay marriage?" A series of three television and three radio spots created by Toronto agency Zig (Marketing Magazine Agency of the Year, 2002), and produced by Industry Films (2002 Cannes Gold Lion winner), will begin answering that question today on stations across Canada. The PSAs will raise awareness and support the work of PFLAG Canada and this website (equalmarriage.ca).
November 18, 2003
Massachusetts court supports equal marriage
Today the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued their long-awaited judgment in the Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health case, declaring that gay and lesbian couples have a right to same-sex marriage. The court gave the state legislature 180 days to respond to the 4-3 decision. We extend our congratulations to our link partners and friends at the Freedom to Marry Coalition of Massachusetts!
November 16, 2003
Nomination for Nation Builders
We have a chance to offer a collective "thank you" to the wise and courageous judges who ended the prohibition against same-sex marriage. The Globe and Mail, one of Canada's national newspapers, is soliciting input for nominations for recognition as Canada's Nation Builder for 2003. We enthusiastically agree with the paper's inclusion of these judges in their list of great Canadians; we hope you do too.
November 15, 2003
Equality Now rally for same-sex marriage
The corner of Church and Wellesley pulses with energy on Friday evenings as the workday commuters dash to their weekends, passing those headed into the village for a drink or a dance. Last night the heart of the gay village had a quicker pulse than usual as hundreds of protestors gathered on Wellesley in preparation to march through the streets in support of samesex marriage. Read details and see photos from the Equality Now rally.
November 10, 2003
Will MP Dennis Mills resign within a month?
Anti-gay Federal Liberal Member of Parliament Dennis Mills allows the dictates of the Pope to over-ride his obligations to honour Canada's Charter protections. His miserable human rights record resulted in calls for his resignation by constituents in his Toronto-Danforth riding. Now, the commitment-challenged M.P. has promised to resign within a month if he doesn't convert a building to social housing.
October 17, 2003
Equality Forum features Canada in 2004
Canada's record of respect for diversity and equality, crowned by the arrival of same-sex marriage, has earned the country a coveted spot as the featured nation at Equality Forum's 2004 conference in Philadelphia. We are thrilled to have an opportunity to participate in this honour, along with M.P. Svend Robinson, Winnipeg Mayor Glen Murray, Ontario M.P. George Smitherman and many more to be confirmed!
September 24, 2003
A Toronto marriage bound for Hong Kong
A Hong Kong-based couple came to Toronto last week to celebrate their marriage. The pair plan to take their legal document home to begin steps that they hope will lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Hong Kong. Roddy Shaw and Nelson Ng share a background in working for human rights. "We see this as a potential precedent to Hong Kong law," Shaw told us before going on his honeymoon.
September 17, 2003
132 to 137: Parliament rejects anti-gay motion
The Canadian Alliance party motion to maintain marriage discrimination was defeated in Parliament yesterday by a narrow margin of 137 against the motion and 132 in favour of discrimination. The vote represents a victory for the Canadian Charter and signifies another step towards full implementation of same-sex marriage, beyond British Columbia and Ontario to the rest of Canada. But more work is ahead.
September 15, 2003
Our Charter rights under attack again
The Canadian Alliance party will present a motion in Parliament tomorrow that would strip Canadian Charter rights and freedoms from gay and lesbian couples. The drastic step is included as a provision to hold back national roll-out of same-sex marriage. The Prime Minister has indicated that Liberals will support the Charter and vote against the motion.
August 21, 2003
Waffling on Marriage - Martin's Muddle
"Paul Martin prefers to deflect and defer," says Industry Minister Allan Rock. As a result of Martin's waffling, the future Prime Minister has left an impression that Parliament has viable alternatives to same-sex marriage. It does not. Martin ought to speak out strongly and quit pretending that he has any other choice. Our Prime Minister & Justice Minister have shown the way out of Martin's muddle.
August 8, 2003
Cleaning House - Free vote on marriage
A free vote on same-sex marriage is causing a shakedown in the Liberal party. Many of their members are unworthy of calling themselves liberal and are better suited for the ignoramuses collected under the banner of the Alliance party. A purge of the Liberal party would serve Canada well. The issue of gay marriage will drive the bigots masking as liberals into the open where we can get a better look at them.
Read "Cleaning House"
August 7, 2003
Vancouver Pride - 2003
Lloyd Thornhill writes, "This year's Pride week in Vancouver had special meaning for the litigants in the equal marriage challenge. We knew from the beginning that we were setting sail on a course that would likely change the history of Canada ... I don't think any of the couples ever imagined that we would be taking on the Vatican, Gerry Falwell, and all of the bigotry and hate ..."
August 5, 2003
Montréal Divers/Cité 2003
Although there was no official theme for the parade at Montréal Divers/Cité, same-sex marriage was the main attraction for many people watching or participating in the parade. Thanks to local advocates Michael Hendricks and René LeBeouf, and because of the venomous attacks of the Vatican, the issue dominated this city, and spread throughout the country thanks to local and national media coverage.
August 1, 2003
Liberal M.P. John Bryden published an editorial today, using children to flame fears in his constituents, stating the new definition of marriage "compromises the ability of the courts to consider the gender relationship of parents in child custody and adoption cases." We spoke to him about this misinformation last year, but he persists in using children as fodder for his campaign against same-sex marriage.
July 29, 2003
Saint John Pride - July 26, 2003
Saint John, New Brunswick, held its first pride parade on July 26. Participants and onlookers were primed, following the intolerant comments about same-sex marriage by local M.P. Elsie Wayne. The city came together to overcome the image of prejudice projected by the disgraced Wayne. "This city is open to all people," declared the Mayor, foretelling the triumphant procession of pride in the streets. An amazing day.
July 22, 2003
Halifax Pride 2003
We had a fabulous time attending festivities at this year's Halifax Pride as co-grand marshalls in the parade. Organizers were honouring same-sex marriage and the tremendous strides that were made this year for full equality. Nicky and Sue Perkins were our co-grand marshalls, in honour of their pioneering work for relationship recognition as one of the province's first couples to register domestic partnerships.
July 21, 2003
500,000 visitors so far in 2003
Equal marriage for same-sex couples, has received over 500,000 visitors (more than 6.3 million hits) this year! Thanks to you, our web site has become the top Internet site of its kind in Canada and a leading source of information about same-sex marriage for people around the world. Find out where our visitors are coming from and read the top ten pages as determined by you, so far this year.
July 16, 2003
American gay icon sends a message home
The founder and moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches, Rev. Troy Perry married his long-time partner Phillip De Blieck in Toronto, at the same church that launched a successful same-sex marriage campaign in Canada. "I am asking that American couples come to this country and marry," said Rev Perry. "I hope that I can get them from all fifty states up here."
July 14, 2003
London Pride Parade - July 13, 2003
We returned to London Pride again this year in support of same-sex marriage. Last year, we were celebrating the first court victory for same-sex marriage. This year, we were grand marshals, celebrating same-sex marriage in Ontario & British Columbia. We conducted two seminars: one based on our legal battle and another based on our book, Just Married: Gay Marriage and the Expansion of Human Rights.
July 14, 2003
Gay U.S. church moderator to wed
Thirty years after he established a Metropolitan Community Church in Toronto, the denomination's founder, Rev. Troy Perry, of L.A., will marry his partner of 18 years, Phillip Ray De Blieck at MCC Toronto on July 16. Rev. Perry invites couples from every state across the U.S.A to visit Canada for a same-sex marriage and then register online to join him in challenging American laws.
June 25, 2003
In celebration of John Fisher
Last night, a Toronto gathering honoured John Fisher for his role in advancing equality rights. Canadian advocates and leaders were encouraged to nurture respect fo diversity in children, remain vigilant about protecting LGBT rights in this country, and to advance equality, including same-sex marriage, in other countries. Winnipeg Mayor Glen Murray said, "Let's burn the fence down so all can come across."
May 19, 2003
Our Charter Under Attack
A surrogate war on the Canadian Charter has begun with attacks aimed against the Supreme Court of Canada. Opponents of same-sex marriage are attempting to undermine the authority of the one place that will uphold the rights of all Canadians when our own politicians refuse to do so. In their silence, the Justice Minister and the Prime Minister are helping to diminish our highest court and ideals.
May 9, 2003
Wayne's World - The Gag Reflex
Conservative Member of Parliament Elsie Wayne told the House of Commons that gays and lesbians should keep a low profile in Canadian society (her comments were characterized as telling us to "shut up"). "Why do they have to be here in the public ... why are they in parades?" Calls for her resignation have resulted in the aftermath of outrage. And we dedicate our parade tour to her!
April 30, 2003
"I watched the next prime minister pretzel himself over the simple question of whether he supported same-sex marriage ..." NDP leader Jack Layton wrote in yesterday's National Post. " Mr. Martin prefers to wait for the courts to fill the void created by the spineless." Martin wants to take our human rights to the cleaners at the Supreme Court in-stead of doing the job himself. Is Paul's Martinizing stain-free?
April 19, 2003
P.M.'s legacy is linked to same-sex marriage
For better or worse, Prime Minister Chrétien's legacy will be linked to how he responds to Canadian couples who demand their Charter right to same-sex marriage. As the Prime Minister prepares to leave behind 40 years of political service, with 3 terms as leader of this country, Canadians are looking for the legacy of his political career. Mr. Chrétien's actions, or inactions, will contribute to whether future generations see him as a champion of equality and a defender of our Charter, or someone who tarnished Canada's reputation for justice and human rights.
April 14, 2003
A veteran's support for equal marriage
In response to a New Brunswick couple's letter writing campaign, senior M.P. Lorne Nystrom (a former Justice critic) said family values include gay marriage: "I have examined each of the options placed before the Committee, and concluded that the legalization of same sex marriage is the only option that meets the test of fairness and equality, and demonstrates true respect for the institution of the family."
March 31, 2003
forum in Fredericton, N.B.
Fredericton, New Brunswick - Member of Parliament Andy Scott, chair of the infamous Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, hosted a March 30th public forum in his home riding of Fredericton, New Brunswick, to discuss same-sex marriage. Marriage advocate Jason Curl was there and shared with us his report on the day.
March 16, 2003
The debate over same-sex marriage has created some strange alliances. At the parliamentary hearings on marriage, conducted by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Canadians heard right-wing traditionalists use queer progressives to support an argument against same-sex marriage. How can this be?
Wedding Discredits View That
In recent months Canadians have heard arguments, put forward by extremist religious groups and by our Justice Minister, that claim the purpose of marriage is procreation. This limited view of marriage was discredited in our Ontario court case, yet procreation remains an element in the government's defence of discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Politicians in Ottawa should all be required to view a documentary produced by Flavia Fontes (Means of Productions, N.Y.). Forbidden Wedding (2001, 56 minutes) is the story of Hedir Antonio de Brito, a Brazilian paraplegic who wants to marry Mara. A local Catholic Bishop refused to marry the couple because of the belief that a man must be able to copulate in order to fulfill the requirements of marriage.
While the film exposes the damage caused when faith-based bigotry takes hold in society, it also underscores the triumph of love over prejudice. The documentary captures intimate, emotional moments with a spartan, stark reality. The director's use of hand-held, digital video gives the production's message an air of urgency: church and state must end their collaboration in discriminating against others.
Forbidden Wedding is available for rental, sale, or public screenings. The Director is also available to disuss the film. Contact: Flavia Fontes
Reminder of Responsibilities
important that the Mayor recognize all the rights of citizens ... It sets the
conditions for change and tolerance to occur."
Saint John, New Brunswick - Here, a news and entertainment weekly, reminded politicians of their responsibility to protect the rights of all of their consitutents and citizens.
In this week's issue, writer Mike Parker says "the Tory government has been draggin its feet" in New Brunswick. The problems are evident. The week we were speaking in the province (Nov 2002), a same-sex couple had been refused recognition in a local hospital.
Wayne Harrison, a New Brunswick advocate, says that the rights and recognition in the gay community are selectively distributed.
"Is Saint John gay friendly? It depends upon who you are," he said.
In the same article, we called upon the councillors of Saint John to pass a resolution, in support of same-sex marriage. As Toronto has done, we hope Saint John will send a message to the federal government to stop discriminating against gay and lesbian families.
"Council has a role to play in fostering a tolerant community," agreed city councillor Stephen Chase. But his opinion was a lonely one (read other councillors at sidebar).
Cities across Canada will continue to be challenged to protect the Charter rights of all its citizens. Mayors and council members should be expected to demonstrate their commitment to equality through tangible, visible support.
A gift from Europe - Database for the world
The Centre for research and comparative legal studies on sexual orientation and gender identity (CERSGOSIG), under the direction of Stefano Fabeni, has established a legal data bank on sexual orientation and gender identity. The project originated in an Italian organization, InformaGay, and the database is managed by a steller international scientific committee including Douglas Elliott, Helmut Graupner, Phillip Tahmindjis, Kees Waaldijk and Robert Wintemute.
The databank of bibliographical legal resources related to sexual orientation, gender identity and other related issues, is divided into five sections:
Lawyers who have expertise in this subject matter may apply for permission to input updates to the database, however anyone can retrieve information. To gain access to the database please visit www.cersgosig.informagay.it
Association for Marriage & Family
The Ontario Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, founded in 1975, is the professional home to over 700 couple and family therapists across the province. It is a division of the Registry of Marriage and Family Therapists in Canada, Inc., which is a part of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (www.aamft.org). AAMFT has over 23,000 members and is responsible for establishing and maintaining high standards of ethical practice for registered and licensed couple and family therapists as well as their training and supervision.
It is with great enthusiasm that O.A.M.F.T. anticipates the long overdue, recognition of same sex marriage in the province of Ontario. We applaud the tremendous courage and patience of our gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gendered citizens in our ongoing struggle to win equality before the law and have been delighted to witness the many successes to-date. As systems therapists, we appreciate how the efforts to gain security and recognition for some of our citizens will eventually be of benefit to us all. As we are all diminished by prejudice and injustice, so are we all empowered by inclusivity and equality. We look forward to the day that every couple who chooses to have a registered marriage will do so effortlessly and that very soon, all the energy absorbed by the inequities of exclusion, can be more appropriately applied to the happiness and health of the couple relationship.
dance around gay marriage
whatever steps you want if
As Canada's prime minister, Jean Chretien, ends his time in office, he leaves behind a political party with a damaged human rights record. Progress for LGBT rights under his watch came largely as a result of court orders (and lengthy, costly battles), rather than Liberal initiative and leadership. How can it be that the leader of the Conservative party, is more liberal than the Liberals? Is parliament responding to orders recently issued by the Vatican?