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“Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca), NDP critic for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and transsexual issues, demanded to know why the “Conservatives are now trying to erode this right (same-sex marriage) by intervening in an Ontario case to oppose recognition of a same-sex civil partnership from th…”
OTTAWA, January 12, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Federal Department of Justice lawyer has told a court that same-sex foreign couples that came to Canada to “marry” because their home countries do not recognize homosexual “marriage” are not in fact legally “married.”
Federal lawyer Sean Gaudet made the statement at a court hearing into a divorce application by a lesbian couple, one from Florida and the other from the UK, who were “married” in Toronto in 2005, but never lived in Canada, and are now seeking a divorce, according to a Globe and Mail report.
Gaudet informed the court that foreign homosexuals who have been married in Canada since 2004, when same-sex “marriage” was effectively legalized, are only considered wed under Canadian law if same-sex “marriage” is also recognized in their home country or state, and that the Canadian Divorce Act states that couples who come to Canada to marry must live in the country for at least one year before they can obtain a divorce.
“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.”
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Gaudet’s statement has provoked outrage from homosexualists and opposition parties, who are accusing the Conservative government of Stephen Harper of a hidden agenda to “take away same-sex rights by stealth” and saying that Canada’s same-sex “marriage” laws will be made an international laughingstock.
“The narrow interpretation of the law shows that the Harper government is trying to take away same-sex rights by stealth, and Canadians need to know that the advances we thought were secure are now under threat from the Harper neo-conservatives,” interim Liberal leader Bob Rae told the Toronto Star today.
The NDP had already alleged a Conservative hidden agenda against homosexuals last fall when MP Randall C. Garrison ((Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca), NDP critic for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and transsexual issues, demanded to know why the “Conservatives are now trying to erode this right (same-sex marriage) by intervening in an Ontario case to oppose recognition of a same-sex civil partnership from the U.K.”
“Why is the Minister of Justice intervening in this case to deny equal protection of the law for all same-sex couples? Will the minister agree to respect gay and lesbian rights and stop opposing full legal recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions from other jurisdictions?”
Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson replied at the time, “the honourable member has it wrong. We have done nothing to reopen that debate. We respect the decision by Parliament, but it is a question of definitions, and that is being argued before the courts. We are intervenors, as are a number of other individuals and organizations, and I look forward to the court’s decision.” (Read the exchange in Hansard here.)
Toronto lawyer Martha McCarthy, who is representing the un-named lesbian couple who filed for divorce and was reportedly involved in legalizing same-sex “marriage” in Canada, told the Globe and Mail that Gaudet’s statement might discourage homosexual couples from coming to Canada to marry and “threatens to transform Canada from an international beacon for the rights of gays and lesbians to a nation that discriminates against them.”
“It is scandalous,” she told the newspaper. “It is offensive to their dignity and human rights to suggest they weren’t married or that they have something that is a nullity.”
Prime Minister Harper, when asked about Gaudet’s statement, told the media he will not re-open a debate on same-sex marriage.
“I will admit to you that I am unaware of the details,” Harper said today at a news conference in Halifax. “This is I gather a case before the courts where Canadian lawyers have taken a particular position based on the law … I will be asking officials to provide me more details on this particular case.”
“As I have said before we have no intention of opening or reopening this issue,” he told reporters.
It was reported that the Ontario Superior Court will hand down a ruling on the lesbian couple’s divorce application in February.
Canadian Federal Department of Justice
contact through website here
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
E-mail: [email protected]