Catch 167: Harper government pulls rug out from under non-Canadian gay couples who married here in good faith
January 12, 2012 2:52 AM Subscribe
Ottawa does about face on same-sex marriage for non-Canadians. The Harper government has served notice that thousands of same-sex couples who flocked to Canada from abroad since 2004 to get married are not legally wed. The reversal of federal policy is revealed in a document filed in a Toronto test case launched recently by a lesbian couple seeking a divorce.... The government’s hard line has cast sudden doubt on the rights and legal status of couples who wed in Canada after a series of court decisions opened the floodgates to same-sex marriage. The mechanics of determining issues such as tax status, employment benefits and immigration have been thrown into legal limbo. [The lesbian couple's] divorce application will be considered next month by an Ontario Superior Court judge. They are asking the judge to either craft an exemption allowing them to divorce or to strike down any legislative provision that has the effect of preventing them from doing so.In a response to Ms. McCarthy’s court application, federal lawyer Sean Gaudet tied the federal position to two central propositions. First, he said, couples who came to Canada to be married must live in the country for at least a year before they can obtain a divorce. Second, same-sex marriages are legal in Canada only if they are also legal in the home country or state of the couple. “In this case, neither party had the legal capacity to marry a person of the same sex under the laws of their respective domiciles – Florida and the United Kingdom,” Mr. Gaudet stated. “As a result, their marriage is not legally valid under Canadian law.”
posted by maudlin (116 comments total)
Under this reasoning, the federal government would recognize the validity of marriages that take place in Canada provided the same-sex partners come from a state or country that also recognizes same-sex marriage.
The Globe & Mail will be hosting a discussion
on this topic at noon Eastern time today.