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Up to 5,000 Canadian gay marriages ‘may not be valid’

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  1. Robert in S. Kensington 12 Jan 2012, 1:49pm

    The same applies to British CPs. If a foreign country doesn’t have a similar legal union for gay couples, the CP isn’t recognised either.

    I’m not sure if Pink News means that Canada was the first country to have same-sex marriage in regard to equal marriage rights. Holland as we all know was the first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001 I believe, 4 years prior to Canada

    1. Holland isnt a country hehe :P sillynis aside from what i understand there is 1 difference between marriage of gay and straight couples in the Netherlands and thats parentage rights for couples are technicly not automatic (although this can be gotten around within the law so its only a technicality) whereas in Canader the rights are identical

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 12 Jan 2012, 4:03pm

        The Netherlands then, Jenny, but thanks for clarifying the parental rights. It would have helped if Pink News had clarified that.

  2. Unfortunately, right now the Conservative government of Stephen Harper would like nothing better but to remove marriage equality. They cannot do it because it has become ingrained into our society after all these years. But it remains part of their (religiously-based) beliefs. The conservative party in Canada is heavily backed by extreme right religious fundamentalist groups, and arch-conservative businesses.

    1. James Incer 12 Jan 2012, 2:43pm

      This isn’t a political issue, it’s a legal issue. Don’t bash the Tories for no reason, it hurts us all

      1. Mickey isn’t bashing the Tories – he’s telling the truth. If gay people don’t step up to the plate son and come to the realization that religious extremists ARE our enemies – and we will lose hard fought rights.

    2. jamestoronto 12 Jan 2012, 4:37pm

      I am no fan of the Tories, but let’s be fair, Harper said to-day, he and his government have no interest or intention of re-opening the debate. It would be political suicide.

      1. Stephen Harper has a habit of hiding his agenda well.
        He gets back-benchers to bring up “private members” bills.
        Then he says he will let his party “vote their conscience”.

        So in the end, HE didn’t bring back the debate on any topic. A back-bencher did.
        And since he allowed a “free vote” on it, it wasn’t like the party imposed its will… he would say that “it was the will of the representatives of the people”.

        Harper is the scariest and worst kind of politician.
        He is a fascist in disguise. A wannabe dictator.

        That may SOUND like bashing, but if you really look at everything he’s done, at how he’s acted, that is EXACTLY what he is.

        1. David Myers 12 Jan 2012, 10:54pm

          Mikey, you are so right about Harper. Just wait, as soon as he preceives that it is no longer “political suicide”. he and his fascist cronies will be out to roll back gay marriage, abortion rights, and the right to use birth control just like their tea party christian fundamentalist fascist to the south whom he seeks to emulate whenever possible. Look at their attacks on the gun registry. Look at their attempts to institute the failed “war on drugs” policies of their neighbours to the south and to creat a vast “prison-industrial complex” just like in the US. Don’t forget, the right wing in Canada merged the right by forcing a merger of the “Reform” movement and the “Progressive Conservatives” by dropping the word and the concept of “progressive”. The Canadian federal Liberal party and the New Democrats need to find a way to “merge the center left” or the Conseratives will become the new “ruling party” of Canada, and with that success will begin to roll back Canadian humanism.

          1. how i wish harper really do all that, not because i believe he is right but the sooner he show his true colord the sooner the PQ and the remnant of the bloc will join and lead quebec to independance. At least my entire province turn it’s back on harper, we all vote orange (how i wish we had vote pq but still). As for gay rights watch out, he will destroy everything the moment he see an opportunity, after gay it will be abortion and then the bilingualism (he already started to nominate english speaking judge at the supreme court).

    3. Stephen Harper would probably ban SSM if he thought we had forgotten his previous attempt to do so in 2006 after his election victory. One could only hope that after finishing up with egg on his face after that attempt it motivated his current response of “not revisiting the issue”.

      On the flip side it would be nice to see him commit political suicide!

  3. The Englishwoman’s marriage would be recognised as a CP here, so she could divorce in the courts here if she wanted to.

    1. James Incer 12 Jan 2012, 2:44pm

      No it wouldn’t.

    2. True about the marriage being recognised as a CP in the UK, but incorrect on the divorce/dissolution count as far as I am aware. You can’t file for divorce in a jurisdiction that never agreed to marry you in the first place. This is just Canada’s ill-thought-out law coming back to bite them…we’ve all known for a while that the different residency requirements for marriange and divorce was going to get messy eventually.

      1. If she has domicile in the Uk she can divorce here. Nothing to do with where you got married or Cp’d. If a CP is recognised here, or is a marriage recognised as a CP here, then obviously if you have domicile, i.e. this is or has become your home, you can divorce here.

      2. I suspect that if it were not for our specific legislation that states that a foreign gay marriage will be recognised as a CP, it would have to be recognised as a marriage, as with any other foreign marriage.

    3. Robert in S. Kensington 12 Jan 2012, 4:09pm

      Except I find that to be an absurd situation. For one thing, a marriage certificate does not indicate that it’s a CP in the UK,it’s merely inferred or treated as such. The two aren’t the same by definition or by the law. Downgrading legal same-sex marriages to conform to CP recognition doesn’t really cut it, but the fact remains, the couple never entered into a CP in the first place. What our government is doing is pretending that the marriage was never a marriage but a CP from the outset. Absolute stupidity.

      1. They’ve been fudging the issue of polygamous marriages entered into abroad before the parties move to the UK for years.

    4. UK residents with foreign marriages should assume that they are unable to divorce. My wife and I discussed this extensively before marrying.

      A UK resident with a foreign marriage can apply for a CP dissolution. A dissolution should then allow the partners to enter into a new UK civil partnership or UK marriage. But a UK CP dissolution would likely not be considered valid dissolution of the marriage in other countries (except for Ireland), since it does not have the title of divorce.

      This is a mess. If one of the ex-partners moves to a same-sex marriage jurisdiction, it will be possible to get a divorce. But in a jurisdiction with no same-sex partner recognition, the original marriage may well be unenforceable in that country, but may still prevent a new opposite-sex marriage. In areas (except for Ireland) with DP/CU recognition, it is more complex still.

      If neither of the couple is resident in the UK, then they cannot apply to the British courts for a dissolution and are stuck.

  4. This is an issue of international private law, which is alway very complicated. Countires may or may not recognize marriages or unions made in other countries: there is no general rule. In Europe, coutries usually recognize gay marriages as registered partnerships and vice versa, depending of the local legislation, if they have more or less similar legal consequeces.

    So, if I had married in Canada the Finnish goverment would recognize it as a registered partnership, but the French ‘pact’ would be dealt just as a private contract.

  5. Who cares can we just give this subject a rest, it’s just a lawyer trying to make more money.

  6. Chris Martinuk 12 Jan 2012, 4:25pm

    This is a bad interpretation of the law as it was intended, and it should be crushed. Using their reasoning, if an interracial couple’s home country banned interracial marriage, they couldn’t get married here. Ditto with different religions, or any other stupid excuse to discriminate.

    Canada is supposed to be tolerant and understanding; hopefully the public and the courts won’t stand for it.

  7. jamestoronto 12 Jan 2012, 4:31pm

    This is just the opinion of one lawyer involved in a divorce proceeding. While a marriage between two people performed in Canada may not be legal in countries or states that do not recognise equal marriage, it most certainly is in jurisdictions that do have same-sex marriage.

  8. As Chris Martinuk says, this looks like nonsense.

    Some jurisdictions will not marry people who would not be allowed to marry in their place of residence. This includes some US states with laws from the anti-miscegenation era. But Canada is not one of those jurisdictions. It seems doubtful that the Canadian government has correctly interpreted Canadian law, and the courts may well set this opinion aside.

    Moreover, this opinion smacks of haste. What of a couple resident overseas wishing to marry in Canada and then immigrate, on the basis of one partner’s Canadian nationality or work visa. Would they now be prevented from doing so? And what of opposite-sex couples resident in jurisdictions with draconian marriage restrictions, such as Saudi Arabia – would a woman with Canadian nationality but resident in Saudi, and wishing to marry a Saudi man, be unable to do so legally in Canada? If the government wishes to implement this vexatious provision, they had better penalise all equally.

  9. Peter & Michael 12 Jan 2012, 4:40pm

    Civil Partnerships are not valid outside the UK, and if Scotland gets its way, not valid there either, this is why we wish for Same-Sex marriage on par with marriage as between hetrosexual partners which does not require validation in any other country. If the coalition is sincere in bringing full equality, we cannot sustain a second class civil partnership to full Same-Sex marriage. Even in the countries that have Same-Sex marriage or Civil Partnerships, they are only valid for that country, ie; a couple having a Civil Partnership in the UK, this will not be recognised in any other country!

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 12 Jan 2012, 9:45pm

      Actually some countries do recognize British CPs if they happen to offer similar unions for their own same-sex couples. But of course, there are varying degrees of same-sex unions across the EU and in other countries. None are uniform, some offer more rights than others. This is the very reason why allowing same-sex civil marriage matters most. All of these non-married unions are a mish mash of inequality.

      1. Peter & Michael 13 Jan 2012, 8:59am

        Not in Spain, and they have same-sex marriage. We had problems with the police when staying at a hotel about this.

  10. Art Pearson 12 Jan 2012, 4:49pm

    My understanding of international law is that you are legally married as long as the marriage was legally performed in the country where it took place. Otherwise, if you got married outside of your home country, you would have to marry again when you got back. I.E. if you were British citizens and got married in Spain, while on holiday, you would have to re-marry when you got back home. That is not what is currently accepted. As long as you were legally married in Spain, you are legally married in Britain.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 12 Jan 2012, 9:43pm

      We don’t have same-sex marriage in the UK yet. Any British same-sex couple marrying elsewhere would not be recognised as legally married upon return to the UK but their union would be downgraded to a Civil Partnership for now. For straight married couples, that’s a different matter.

      1. David Myers 12 Jan 2012, 11:00pm

        Shouldn’t be. That’s why gay marriage is fundamental. Anything else is cowtowing to that old racist concept, struck down by the US Supreme Court, of “separate but equal” (not)!

    2. Only if Spain has no domicile requirement, but I think most countries do. The UK does. You cant validly marry in the UK if you don’t have a home here or aren’t living here. The question is does Canada have a domicile requirement? If not, I fail to see what the relevance to the Canadian government of the law in a foreign country, or any reason why the marriages would be invalid. I can’t see any rationale at all for their position.

      1. I’m referring to neither party having a home here.

    3. Re-reading the article, it looks like Canada has no domicile requirement for marriage, but does for divorce,at least one year. This is crazy, and must affect both gay and straight couples.

      As for validity based on the legality in the home country, unless the statute explicitly says this, the guy is talking out of his bottom.

  11. As a United Church of Canada clergy person, I have officiated at gay marriages with joy and a sense of privilege, as I do at any marriage. I am appalled by the government’s position. If anything good comes from this it will be that Canadian citizens begin to recognize the danger posed to our prized democracy by right-wing fundamentalist ideology. God help us all!

    1. hey!
      /wave wave wave

      I got married at a United Church!

      Was the most beautiful wedding ceremony I’ve ever seen.. of course! it was MINE!

  12. SilenceIsGolden 12 Jan 2012, 6:04pm

    All those mentioned aspects aside: Are we really to understand that anybody in the US, in those women’s lives, gave a crap about their Canadian marriage? The article mentions “benefits people” and “employers.” THAT is the most surprising thing to me in all this. Everybody I know who got married here in Canada but lives elsewhere has no illusions whatsoever that this marriage has any real life “value” for them, other than recognition by family and friends. I’m seriously confused and would appreciate some insight.

  13. This is a very poor interpretation of the law, and effectively says that canadian law in its own right is not sovereign or independent. It would give rise to a floodgates argument that no law in Canada could be valid if other countries disagreed with it.
    It’s a constitutionally dangerous path to go down, and I hope the court has sense to uphold the validity of the marriage. The origin of the parties should be of zero importance to the validity of the law.

    1. David Myers 12 Jan 2012, 11:01pm

      Just another back door attempt by Harper’s conservatives to weaken gay marriage just like you would expect from this “George Bush wannabe”!

    2. If they are suggesting it is international law, that can’t be true. Otherwise British or Canadian Muslims or Africans would not be able to enter into polygamous marriages in any of the 65 or so countries where this is legal, because it would be illegal in their home country. Can you imagine the reaction in those countries?

  14. So they will be refunding marriage license fees etc. obviously.

  15. Why would you get married in a foreign country and expect it recognisef at home?

  16. Singapore Sam 13 Jan 2012, 1:21am

    Nowhere in any of the online reports does the lawyer give any authority for his statement about the validity of the marriage. So where does he get that idea from? It sure ain’t in the Hague Convention on the Recognition of Marriage.

  17. Singapore Sam 13 Jan 2012, 1:23am

    Well nowhere in any of the online reports does the lawyer give any authority for his statement about the validity of the marriage. So where does he get that idea from? It sure ain’t in the Hague Convention on the Recognition of Marriage.

  18. Singapore Sam 13 Jan 2012, 2:07am

    From the National Post in Canada:

    “To be clear — the suggestion that these couples were never married under Canadian law, a suggestion advanced by a single government lawyer — is ridiculous. The notion that Canadian law should be dependent on the local laws of every single other jurisdiction on the planet is asinine. A government that has made so much of standing up for Canada’s values on the world stage has no business declaring our own laws subservient to any other land’s. We might not have the hard- or soft-power to give our laws much weight abroad, but we can at least honour them in our own country.”

  19. Take nothing for granted. Our battles will continue well past our generation and well into the future generations.

    As i said before in another article. Words on paper are meaningless unless they are acted upon. Here is a prime example of who cares what is written, we will do what we want. If that means changing the law, so be it.

    Be warned, the war is far from over

  20. Here’s one for the Harpercrite files!
    The Civil Marriage Act received royal assent on July 20, 2005. During the 2006 federal election campaign, Conservative leader Stephen Harper pledged to re-open the issue of same-sex marriage should his party form government. Following the Conservative victory in the election, Harper promised to bring the matter to the Canadian House of Commons “sooner than later” in the form of a resolution on whether parliament should consider a new law banning same-sex marriage. Should such a resolution pass, a new bill would have to pass both the House of Commons and the Canadian Senate in order to become law. (See also Members of the 39th Canadian Parliament and same-sex marriage)

    The composition of the Senate has changed little since the debate on the Civil Marriage Act. Eight new Senators have been appointed since July 19 2005 when the Civil Marriage Act passed third reading in the upper house. These are Senators Larry Campbell, Andrée Champagne, Dennis Daws

    1. Cont:
      On December 7, 2006, a motion calling on “the government to introduce legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage without affecting civil unions and while respecting existing same-sex marriages” was defeated in the House of Commons by a margin of 175 to 123 and Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared the issue settled pledging not to reopen it even if his party wins a majority government in the next election. Therefore, the issue will not be brought to the Senate in the foreseeable future.

      So… here we are again, will he won’t he revisit the issue? perhaps now that Jack Layton is not around to keep him in office and he has a majority anything is possible!

      “We haven’t forgotten your promise Mr Harper!” (like he keeps promises!)

      1. Great stuff, Steve_R

        1. @Jonpol… The key to breaking his promise is the “next election” Stephen Harper made this promise in his first term in office… he didn’t revisit it in his second term (he honored his word)

          He is now in his third term… and has a majority!

          As sly as he is… technically he could break his promise “say he didn’t” because he only promised not to revisit it in his second term

  21. Let’s ignore the Harper apologists here and get to the crux of the matter.

    If this ruling is upheld, thousands of people from around the world have been deliberately scammed by the Canadian government.

    You know all of those pretty ads encouraging you to come to Canada to get married and enjoy equality? Most of them are paid for by the Canadian government, with the express purpose of getting LGBT couples from places around the world to spend cash on Canadian airlines, hotels, restaurants, and activities to stimulate their tourist economy. Thousands of people, taking the Canadian government at its word, spent perhaps thousands (or even tens of thousands of dollars) each to get married in Canada rather than in another jurisdiction. If Canadian marriage licenses are declared to be invalid if one or the other resident lives in a place without marriage equality, all of those people have been completely defrauded by the Canadian government in a big cash grab.

    There’s also a practical issue

    1. You must mean this one?

  22. jamestoronto 13 Jan 2012, 6:21am

    This whole controversy stems not from Canadian marriage laws but from Canadian divorce law. A lesbian couple were legally married in Canada – one partner from Florida, one from UK. Neither of their native jurisdictions recognise same-sex marriages so they were unable to obtain a divorce in either Florida or the UK because the marriage did not exist in their laws. However, to obtain a divorce in Canada both parties have to have been resident in Canada for one year. They either hadn’t read a lot of the literature available to them or they chose to ignore it. Unable to obtain a ‘quickie’ divorce one of them launched a lawsuit against the Province of Ontario for a hefty sum ($30,000 I believe). Canadian same-sex marriages are no different than any other jurisdictions. A marriage legally performed in say New York or Vermont is not valid in Texas or Florida, a marriage legally performed in Belgium is not lawful in the UK. The problem is with the refusing jurisdictions.

    1. “So hypothetically” Why divorce? if your same sex marriage is not legal or recognized any where else… your not married! as long as you don’t return there? if you remarried else where you wouldn’t be a bigamist-polygamist because technically you were not legally married (J/K)

      It all sounds so simple! (as if) until you get the lawyers involved!

      1. You would not be allowed to remarry in the UK as the Canadian marriage is recognised as a CP. If they live here, as apparently they do, as well as in Florida,it could be dissolved; the question is would the dissolution be recognised in Canada. But as you say, does it matter?

  23. Dr Robin Guthrie 13 Jan 2012, 10:43am

    And in English that means?

  24. In Other News: Thousands of parking and speeding fines imposed upon vistors to Canada have been refunded on the grounds that the culprits would not have been breaking the law in their home countries.

  25. But the fact remains that Canada DID marry them and issued certification, willfully and knowingly that it might not be recognised in their home country.

    There is a double standard here. Straight couples whose marriages were recognised when they came to Australia can obtain divorces here which were not recognised in the jurisdiction they came from, and subsequent marriages have been conducted here AND recognised which would be considered bigamous in their home countries where divorce is not permitted.

    It all comes down to reciprocity agreements, The Ontario position that the gay marriages are invalid because the home country does not recognise them should be challenged under Canada’s discrimination laws.

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