Gay Marriage - You mean it's not legal already?
June 18, 2003 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Gay Marriage - Go Canada Canada is only the third country, after Netherlands and Belgium, to legalize gay marriages. This surprised me because I figured we were playing catch up to most 1st world countries. Not so surprisingly my home province of Alberta is promising to block same sex marriages and will refuse to issue licenses to same sex couples. Which must be putting smiles on faces at Tourism BC. Interestingly this may cause big waves in the USA as they have traditionally recognized Canadian marriages as valid under US law and Canada has no residency requirement for marriage licenses. How surprised would you be if your local authority followed Canada’s example?
posted by Mitheral (39 comments total)

 
I have to say that I'm proud of my country today. That's all.
posted by jokeefe at 10:54 AM on June 18, 2003


Interestingly, they have no residency requirement for marriage, but don't they have a one-year residency requirement for divorce? It's good to read the fine print before looking for the nearest Elvis Chapel in Toronto...
posted by answergrape at 10:55 AM on June 18, 2003


Mitheral, I am very disappointed that my former home province is trying to block something that I believe very strongly about.

I haven't been keeping up with Canadian/Albertan politics, but I never realized they got so conservative. Hopefully, the conclusion to this will be beneficial to those it affects.
posted by ruwan at 10:58 AM on June 18, 2003


jokeefe - I'd be proud too! Yey Canada! I wonder how long until the US follows suit?

*sits, holds breath*
posted by widdershins at 11:07 AM on June 18, 2003


This is a fantastic step, and one for which I can say without reservation "Yay!"

As an interesting and happy sidenote, the Gay Pride parade is coming up this weekend here in Toronto (this is variously called the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd largest Gay Pride parade in the world, depending on what year it is. It's *big*, in any case). The office at City Hall that issues marriage licenses has announced that it will be open all weekend to keep up with the demand.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:09 AM on June 18, 2003


Hooray!
posted by Marquis at 11:11 AM on June 18, 2003


Yay. Now ever more people can get married, and then get divorced within a couple years.

But for the sake of principle: Go Canada.
posted by angry modem at 11:13 AM on June 18, 2003


The only catch is that all grooms must be married in tank tops and snug shorts.

/me lives near West Hollywood...sorry
posted by solistrato at 11:16 AM on June 18, 2003


Go Manada
posted by donth at 11:17 AM on June 18, 2003


Why are governments involved with personal matters such as marriage in the first place? Why is this any business of the State?
posted by Ayn Marx at 11:19 AM on June 18, 2003


Well, will they feel the same... when they are burning in hell?
posted by xmutex at 11:20 AM on June 18, 2003


Canadian Leaders Agree to Propose Gay Marriage Law

Keyword Propose. It ain't official yet.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:22 AM on June 18, 2003


insomnyuk: actually, it is official. the definition of marriage exists only in common law in Canada, and as such is determined only by legal precedent. The Ontario judges ruled that prohibiting same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, and decided that the remedy would be to immediately change the Common Law wording to "union of two persons" instead of "union of one man and one woman". This means that, unless the government introduces legislation defining marriage, all judges (Ontario anyway) from here on out have to follow the precedent set here.

<plug>more info (I've been avidly following this) at my website. this is the second time i've plugged my stupid blog here. sorry!</plug>
posted by hammurderer at 11:28 AM on June 18, 2003


Answergrape, I've never heard of a Elvis chapel in Toronto. But for a price you could probably get a congratulatory kiss from our illustrious mayor, Mel Lastman.
posted by orange swan at 11:35 AM on June 18, 2003


Warning: Dirty Joke.

In Canada, gay sex has practical pluses as well, because, well both particpants can both watch the hockey game.

[rimshot]
posted by jonmc at 11:41 AM on June 18, 2003


I could say something about "hosers", but I embarassed myself enough in the post right above.
posted by wendell at 11:45 AM on June 18, 2003


Ontario was, unless I'm mistaken, also the province which decriminalized pot (in very small amounts) recently. My hat's off to them.
posted by Ryvar at 12:11 PM on June 18, 2003


"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

-- j
posted by larry_darrell at 12:14 PM on June 18, 2003


if canada was where california is I would have moved there long time ago ! the only problem that canada can't solve is it's weather, but i guess it would be great one day to think that you can smoke pot on the street of montreal and 2 boys getting married in the chapel nearby !!!

i love it
posted by bureaustyle at 12:15 PM on June 18, 2003


If you damn Canadians don't stop making the rest of us look bad we're gonna have to form a coalition and invade you. You have been warned.

Yay Canada.
posted by squealy at 12:16 PM on June 18, 2003


How surprised would you be if your local authority followed Canada’s example?

I live in DC where Nader got almost as many votes as Bush and the gay population per capita puts San Francisco, South Beach and the East Village to shame, how surprised would I be? How about not at all?

Why are governments involved with personal matters such as marriage in the first place? Why is this any business of the State?

Taxes and property issues. Married couples hold joint property, people living together don't. There is no other point to the state, in any form (except no government, of course) other than property issues, so that makes marriage their business.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:17 PM on June 18, 2003


ruwan: I haven't been keeping up with Canadian/Albertan politics, but I never realized they got so conservative.

My impression is that Albertans in general, at least the residents of Calgary, mostly don't care. Lots of immigrants from both Canada and international sources who tend to have diverse viewpoints. Add in the more rural vote who would agree with Ayn Marx and generally we are a fairly live and let live bunch.

As it happens though some of the people with Strong opinions happen to be in positions of power. It's getting a lot of (in my opinion unbalanced) press but there is not much they can do about it besides refusing to grant licenses. And the Federal liberals have written off the west already with their stance on the firearm registry so they are unlikely to take much notice of Premier Klien on this issue.
posted by Mitheral at 12:46 PM on June 18, 2003


*widdershins holds breath*

Actually, one lesbian commentator I know feels this is the beginning of something big. Here's hoping!
posted by soyjoy at 12:48 PM on June 18, 2003


Wow, soyjoy, thank you for that link. Made me feel positively hopeful. I had no idea those things were afoot in MA and NJ - maybe they'll converge in my state, CT, in time for our ceremony next summer...

*holds breath some more*

At least two churches are on a marriage-license strike. The ministers perform weddings, but won't sign marriage licenses as long as they cannot sign them for the gay people in their pews. How cool is that?! I know it's only two, but still - have to start somewhere. I'm most impressed.
posted by widdershins at 2:20 PM on June 18, 2003


Oh my goodness - Alberta is threatening to invoke the Notwithstanding clause? Whatever will happen?? Oh yea, nothing. Klein, when he's able to stagger up to a podium, always promises some political fireworks but never delivers. Yawn. I say, bring on the gay weddings cuz I wanna wear a cowboy hat and serve steak when I have mine.
posted by holycola at 4:38 PM on June 18, 2003


This surprised me because I figured we were playing catch up to most 1st world countries. *sigh*
posted by danbeckmann at 4:41 PM on June 18, 2003


Taxes and property issues. Married couples hold joint property, people living together don't.

Actually, in Canada, they do. Common-law arrangements between same-sex couples have been recognised for quite some time, down to one fellow being ordered to pay alimony to his lover when they split. Marriage has a certain status that common-law relationships don't for adoptions and the like, as I understand it, but there's really very little difference in Ontario between the two.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 5:24 PM on June 18, 2003


As a gay woman, I have to say that I am very happy about this. However - it should be noted that when they finally do introduce the legislation it will be put to a free vote, meaning that MPs can vote according to their conscience.

I hope that it passes.
posted by aclevername at 6:43 PM on June 18, 2003


What a great present for Canadians just in time for Pride! (although it again points out how backward we are here in the US) This is wonderful, and for those wondering about the rights and benefits and privileges contingent on marital status denied those of us (here) who aren't allowed to marry, here's a pdf file of all 1,049! 400+k/75 pages

It's not just taxes and property issues.
posted by amberglow at 8:59 PM on June 18, 2003


<looks expectantly at UK>
posted by Freaky at 8:44 AM on June 19, 2003


Common-law arrangements between same-sex couples have been recognized for quite some time

Yep, since common-law has existed, but common-law arrangements are legally a partnership, in some places a marriage, even when between two people of the same sex and even in many cases between two mutually supporting relatives. It stems from the days when few commoners were permitted to receive sacraments (like marriage) in the church and thus the only legal union was that of living together forever, a common-law marriage. Later when the church opened up through reformation, marriages became more common (literally) but common-law stayed on the books for living partnerships. Its only a recent thing to outlaw same-sex arrangements like this as "unseemly." But once again, it all goes back to property issues.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:14 AM on June 19, 2003


"Why are governments involved with personal matters such as marriage in the first place? Why is this any business of the State?"

Taxes and property issues. Married couples hold joint property, people living together don't. There is no other point to the state, in any form (except no government, of course) other than property issues, so that makes marriage their business.


I live common-law. There are no tax advantages to being married (indeed, there are some penalties, depending on one's investments &c).

So taxes ain't it.

And property issues are a legal, not federal, issue. If my common-law wife and I were to split the sheets, the courts would treat us precisely as a legally married couple: after sixteen-odd years of cohabitating, shared bank accounts, co-signed home, etcetera, there's absolutely no legal difference between our property and a married couple's property.

So property ain't it.

The short and long of it is that the government is involved (a) because it always has been and (b) because they like to meddle in the public's personal affairs.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:16 AM on June 19, 2003


I've long thought that government should get out of the marriage business entirely, and that any 2 people - including friends, a parent and an older child, etc., should be able to be "domestic partners" for tax and benefit purposes. Marriages should be left to religious institutions.
posted by gspira at 9:38 AM on June 19, 2003


It is a symbolic victory in many ways with not many practical ramifications. There's something poignant about that - that homosexuals are beginning to be allowed to legally marry just as legal marriage is ceasing to have much meaning and value for heterosexuals.

But hey - legal marriage still has a lot of emotional value for many of us. And Ontario is at least doing the right thing. So toss that bouquet sky high.
posted by orange swan at 9:50 AM on June 19, 2003


(derail)

I don't know why we have tax breaks for married people anyway. Sure, I can definitely agree with being able to claim someone as a dependent and benefits should be shared, but why whould a couple with two incomes get a tax break, even though it's a small one? They already have a huge advantage in being able to share expenses i.e., housing, large appliances, etc. They don't contribute any more to the economy than single people. What's the justification? Seems unfair to single people, and I'd like to see it done away with.

(/derail)
posted by orange swan at 9:56 AM on June 19, 2003


orange swan, the rationale, whether or not it's accurate, is that doing so improves the health of the nation, since unattached males are a danger to the state, being the ones who fight, murder, steal, etc., in excess of their representation in the populace. Attached males are more governable, so the government tries to get them attached.

I'm pointing to this line of reasoning, not espousing (hehe) it.
posted by NortonDC at 11:41 AM on June 19, 2003


I had figured it was either a "marriage stabilizes society so let's encourage marriage" or a hold over from the days when men supported women. But since neither of those theories hold water, I didn't put them into my comment.
posted by orange swan at 12:37 PM on June 19, 2003


S. Baptists Denounced Same-Sex Marriage
posted by homunculus at 1:44 PM on June 19, 2003


Men and women together create babies. Until quite recently, unchecked population growth was considered vital to the health of the state. Encouraging marriage through financial incentives to increase the population goes back to (at least) the Romans. Let's also not forget that "tax breaks for married couples" used to mean "tax breaks for married men" - supporting a family and a wife on a single income wasn't any easier back in the day than it is now.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 9:29 AM on June 20, 2003


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