Legal - Canada - Items from 2004
December 21, 2004
The new normal in Newfoundland
Newfoundland became Canada's eighth region to end discrimination against gay and lesbian couples when a court today confirmed it is illegal to deny access to same-sex marriage. The decision caused barely a ripple in today's news, compared to similar decisions elsewhere in Canada. Gay marriage is quickly becoming normal.
December 9, 2004
We are Canadian - fully and equally
Today the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed gay marriage as a constitutional right protected by our Charter. To date, 28 judges have confirmed same-sex marriage as a right, and with this final opinion, the way is clear for Parliament to finally fulfill its responsibility. Help is on the way for the remaining citizens still living under government discrimination!
November 30, 2004
Canada's Supreme Court responds Dec. 9
The Supreme Court of Canada announced today that its judgment in the government of Canada'a reference on gay marriage will be released at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, December 9, 2004. The court heard the reference only last month. The speedy response was expected and is anticipated as a sign of good news for same-sex marriage.
November 5, 2004
Saskatchewan sends a message of hope
With much of the international community in dismay over the reelection of Bush, Canada has sent another message of hope. Today, the province of Saskatchewan legalized gay marriage after couples won another court victory. The province is the 7th Canadian region to end marriage discrimination. Another case is under-way in Newfoundland, as Parliament stands by.
October 31, 2004
Move out and it's over, unless married
Last Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada said that a woman was not entitled to her common-law partner's pension because she had ended the relationship by moving out before he died. But marriage, as a legal entity, can exist without cohabitation. The case supports the call for gay marriage, with its extended benefits and obligations, and an end to another pension case.
October 13, 2004
NY state accepts Canadian gay marriages
New York State's retirement system will treat a Canadian gay marriage the same as any other marriage for the pruposes of reitrement benefits and obigations. The decision was made by New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi. Earlier this year Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said the state should recognize a same-sex marriage performed elsewhere.
October 12, 2004
Marriage reference: points and predictions
We gaze into our crystal ball in an effort to separate the politics from the law, the posturing from the possible, some points and predictions from the Supreme Court reference on gay mariage. With the help of intervener lawyer Douglas Elliott (MCC Toronto), we take an educated look at the court's probable response to the four questions before it.
October 11, 2004
Caution: Slippery Slope
The lawyer representing Canada's Attorney General fell into "deep waters" when he slid down the "slippery slope" argument used against gay marriage. The court was interested in the "natural limits" of federal jurisdiction over the provinces. The Attorney General launced into an academic discussion exploring the sexual limits of marriage instead of the legislative.
October 6, 2004
Cotler's contortions questioned by court
The opening day of the Supreme Court of Canada reference made it clear that the court is not interested in being used by Canada's Justice Minister for political ends. Irwin Cotler was accused of abusing the legal process. "Aren't you describing a political role," asked Justice Bastarache, after the government confirmed that it asked a question of no consequence to its plans.
September 24, 2004
And Nova Scotia makes six!
As expected, Nova Scotia's Supreme Court has acknowledged the law of the land by ordering the province to recognize a same-sex marriage performed elsewhere, and to begin issuing licences to same-sex couples immediately. Still, no other province is take proactive steps to end discrimination. New Brunswick's Justice Minister says he's following the feds.
September 22, 2004
Liberation of Marriage - Part IV
Nova Scotia is about to become the 6th region in Canada, the first in the Maritimes, to legalize gay marriage. A Nova Scotia court order is expected Friday, aligning the province with 4 other provinces and the Yukon territory. Federal and provincial governments fail to proactively respond to same-sex marriage.
September 16, 2004
Gay marriage arrives in the prairies at last!
The traditional definition of marriage in Manitoba is reformulated to mean a voluntary union for life of two persons at the exclusion of all others," Court of Queen's Bench Justice Douglas Yard ruled today in a Manitoba court room. The decision makes Manitoba the fifth province or territory in Canada to acknowledge that the definition of marriage now includes same-sex couples.
August 17, 2004
Cotler's cock-up: have & have-not citizens
The Yukon court said that Irwin Cotler's approach to gay marriage, as Canada's Justice Minister/ Attorney General, "is so fundamentally inconsistent". Cotler's cock-up has created have and have-not provinces and Canadian citizens with unequal rights. His response? Last night he said he will "allow these proceedings as they arise" as another legal challenge begins for access to same-sex marriage.
August 11, 2004
Same-sex parents win adoption case in N.B.
A New Brunswick lesbian couple has won the right to be the legal co-parents of a child born into their family with reproductive assistance. The N. B. Labour and Employment Board released the decision yesterday, awarding damages to the couple for the government's discrimination. N.B. has 30 days to appeal the case. The province has previously refused to recognize gay marriages legally performed elsewhere.
July 15, 2004
Yukon Gold: justice continues to spread
Same-sex marriage became legal yesterday in the Yukon when the territory's prohibition against gay marriage was declared unconstitutional by Justice Peter McIntyre. The judge reinforced earlier decisions from Ontario, B.C., and Quebec in an oral judgment that will force the government to pay court costs. Our prime minister must end these legal battles or Canadians must launch more suits everywhere else.
April 8, 2004
The liberation of marriage - Part II
The fifth consecutive Canadian legal victory for same-sex marriage, this time in Quebec, underscored the impact of the first victory for equal marriage in Ontario court: the law was changed for all. Further, the Quebec court said that it is "unacceptable" that 70% of Canadians now have access to equal marriage, while the rest still live under a regime of discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. Provinces need not wait for Parliament to act.
April 5, 2004
The 4th question: trading rights for votes
The new Prime Minister Paul Martin plans to call a spring election. Anxious to have same-sex marriage off the radar at the time, a 4th much-answered question was tacked on to a previously submitted list of three. This ensured that gay marriage would be on a back-burner until autumn. Gamely, the Attorney General has responded to its own 4th question, demonstrating lessons learned in 6 courts.
March 27, 2004
Prenuptials: A deal is a deal
As same-sex couples acquire the full rights of marriage, we also acquire the protections and obligations. Yesterday's ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada on the validity of a prenuptial agreement underscored the age-old concept: a deal is a deal. Prenuptial agreements define the parties' expectations from the outset," says the court. But what makes them fair? Gay and lesbian couples need to know.
February 20, 2004
Liberal's punt court reference to Oct. 6
The Liberal party has been successful in using the Supreme Court of Canada to move a discussion about same-sex marriage legislation from April to October. The strategy of delay was used in an attempt to defuse equal marriage as an issue during a planned Spring election campaign. The scandal-ridden Liberal party continues to place self-interest above the laws, rights and protections of the land.
January 28, 2004
Using the Supreme Court as a tool for election
Canada's Prime Minister is using the Supreme Court of Canada as a tool to delay the full implementation of same-sex marriage in Canada. "Paul Martin wants to evade the issue of gay marriage because he's afraid of the impact on his support at the ballot box," the Bloc Québécois Justice Critic Richard Marceau said today. "To satisfy his thirst for power ... it shows how low they are willing to go to get elected ..."
January 25, 2004
Supreme Court Reference: usual suspects
The participants of the Supreme Court of Canada reference, a review of the proposed same-sex marriage legislation, were announced on Jan. 23. An order / motion, issued by Justice Iacobucci, amounts to a roundup of the usual suspects. Most participants were heard in lower courts in B.C., Ontario and Quebec. The Catholic Church, unique among our opponents, has three opportunities to bless us with its bigotry.