By Patrick B. Craine

TORONTO, October 21, 2010 ( – Two women, one from the U.S. and the other from Australia, who were “married” in Canada four years ago are trying to gain refugee status in the country by claiming that they would face persecution in their countries of origin.

The couple, whose names are withheld, are appealing after their claim was denied in July by the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board.  They came to Canada in September 2007 and filed for refugee status the same month, after being “married” in Toronto in 2006.

At the June hearing, the women claimed that they would be denied a “fundamental human right” in their home countries because the countries do not recognize their same-sex “marriage.”

The U.S. woman alleged, further, that in America she would not be permitted to sponsor her same-sex “spouse” as an immigrant, and that she would not be allowed to live with her.  The women also alleged that they have already faced persecution in their countries due to their sexual orientation.

Board member Douglas Cryer found, however, that they did not show there is a “serious possibility of persecution” under established international human rights conventions.

“Although I recognize that international human rights are not static and that the interpretation of these rights can develop and expand, at this time same-sex marriage and consequent sponsorship rights are not internationally recognized rights,” he wrote.

Cryer pointed out that the women had not reported any incidents of persecution to the police.

He noted, further, that the women’s testimonies “were not persuasive, since they were largely unsubstantiated and were not consistent with the documentary evidence.”