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Toronto legalizes gay marriage

Same sex marriage Toronto Canada

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#1 Rov Judicata

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 09:30 AM

:cool:

http://reuters.com/n...storyID=2906900

Quote

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's largest city, Toronto, decided on Tuesday to start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples after an Ontario court set aside the heterosexual definition of marriage as unconstitutional.
What would be Canada's first legal gay marriage ceremony after the decision was immediately scheduled for Tuesday afternoon between two men who had been among those who had brought the legal case.

And retroactively the court decision also recognized two other gay marriage ceremonies that had taken place in Toronto in 2001, declaring those unions valid.

"They're married, as effective today," said Joanna Radbord, a lawyer for some of the couples.

The federal government was putting up no immediate roadblock. Mike Murphy, a spokesman for federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, said: "We're examining the ruling...We have to take some time to review it."

The three-person Ontario court ruled that the federal law limiting marriage to heterosexuals violated the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms, part of the Canadian Constitution.

Here's an article about the wedding itself:

http://reuters.com/n...storyID=2908402

Quote

TORONTO/OTTAWA (Reuters) - Two Toronto men were wed on Tuesday in the first legal gay marriage ceremony to be held in North America after a landmark Canadian court ruling set aside the heterosexual definition of matrimony.

The Ontario provincial court decision also retroactively recognized two religious gay marriage ceremonies that took place in Toronto in 2001, ordering the province to register those marriages.

The city of Toronto began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples immediately after the ruling. Toronto lawyer Michael Leshner and Michael Stark were the first to take advantage of the change and were married in the afternoon.

The ruling may still be challenged by the Canadian government. But Justice John Hamilton, who conducted the ceremony, said until that happens the marriage is legal.

"It's the law. They're married now. If the crown appeals and they win well, we'll have to see what that holds. But right now they're married," he told Reuters.

If the ruling is not appealed, the province of Ontario would be the first jurisdiction in North America to legalize gay marriage. Vermont and Quebec have allowed gay civil unions but not full marriage.

Canada's federal government, which is responsible for the marriage law, was putting up no immediate roadblocks.

"I think it's time for us to recognize that same-sex marriages are part of our societal norm," Deputy Prime Minister John Manley said in Ottawa after a cabinet meeting.

If the government had wanted to block gay marriages, it would have to quickly seek a stay of the ruling, while deciding if it wants to appeal.

CANADA MAY STILL APPEAL

Justice Minister Martin Cauchon said he would make a decision on an appeal later on Tuesday or on Wednesday.

"I know the decision of the Court of Appeal in Ontario has immediate effect so we have to move quickly," he said.

The three-person Ontario court ruled that the federal law limiting marriage to heterosexuals violated the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms, part of the Canadian Constitution implemented under former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

After exchanging rings with Stark, a euphoric Leshner appealed to Prime Minister Jean Chretien not to oppose the ruling.

"This is our gift to Canada, Pierre Elliot Trudeau's gift to Canada and hopefully Jean Chretien's gift. Because we are just two ordinary Canadians who love each other. We're not a threat to anyone," Leshner said.

The decision was one of three rulings expected this year by appeals courts in provinces across the country.

A decision in May by a British Columbia appeals court had given the federal government until July 2004 to change its law to include homosexual marriages, and Cauchon had said he was mulling an appeal.

But the Ontario court ruled that to wait for federal action would deny the gay couples their constitutional rights. The court redefined the common law definition of marriage as "the voluntary union for life of two persons to the exclusion of all others."

In so doing, it substituted "two persons" for "one man and one woman."

"The common law definition of marriage is inconsistent with the Charter to the extent that it excludes same-sex couples," the court ruled.

The decision drew an angry response from conservative groups opposed to same-sax marriage.

"The appointed, unaccountable courts should not be permitted to continue their bizarre role of determining public policy," said Real Women of Canada.

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein said he would block any attempt to impose gay marriage in his province, Canada's most conservative, by using the "notwithstanding clause" in the Constitution allowing governments to override court decisions.

"If there is any move to sanctify and legalize same-sex marriages, we will use the notwithstanding clause. Period. End of story," he said.

(Additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa)

Spiffy.

Most telling line:

Quote

But the Ontario court ruled that to wait for federal action would deny the gay couples their constitutional rights. The court redefined the common law definition of marriage as "the voluntary union for life of two persons to the exclusion of all others."

Agreed. The ability to make babies doesn't factor into it. Once again, most excellent.
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#2 Bad Wolf

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 09:35 AM

YES!!!
Now if the Americans would just join the 21st century on this and discard these puritanical notions of marriage...

:p
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#3 Nikcara

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 10:25 AM

YAY!!!  good for them!  I was really mad when they kept it illegal for gays in marry in California.  Marriage should be about love.
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#4 Delvo

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 01:03 PM

Javert Rovinski, on Jun 10 2003, 04:34 PM, said:

The ability to make babies doesn't factor into it.
Actually, it does. And it's the ONLY thing that would if there were any use of basic sense in these cases. Marriage is NOT about the two people who get married. It's not about their rights or their happiness. Few people would dispute two people's right to live together if they feel like it, but that's not the point, because that's not a marriage. Those who equate non-recognition of "gay marriages" with having anything against homosexuality or wanting to stop homosexuals from being and doing what they want are simply lying.

Think about it. Nobody ever issued an official decree that brothers and sisters are brothers and sisters. Friends aren't treated differently by the law because they are friends. Mentors and protegees are not recognized, rewarded, punished, tracked, or even seen by government. Only one kind of relationship does the government meddle in, and it's the same kind of relationship that all cultures that exist have some kind of ceremony to make official and base the structure of their society on: the sexual relationships between adult men and women. Why is the government, along with other governments and religious leaders and tribal elders all over the planet, picking on heterosexual couples like this? What business is it of anyone else's? The distinction between this relationship and others is the production of children, to whom society owes much and from whom it will eventually expect and require much. Homosexual couples and society have no special obligations to each other like parents do. That's why societies that have openly accepted homosexuality have still not assigned those couples the same legal (or religious) status as heterosexual couples, any more than they have equated any other kind of human relationship with it. (...which destroys claims that non-recognition of "gay marriages" is puritanical or non-21st-century.)

Of course, that doesn't account for infertile heterosexual couples (rare enough that tradition hasn't dealt with them because it didn't really know that some couples really can't ever have kids because of biological obstacles), or for heterosexual couples that don't intend to have children (not really much of an option until recently). This happens to apply to me; whether I wanted to be recognized by government as married or not, I shouldn't be allowed to, since any relationship I could get involved in would have to involve everyone knowing from the start that I/we will not have children... and that makes such a hypothetical relationship irrelevant to anyone but the two people in it.

If people in some other kind of relationship even want to throw a wedding-like celebration to make a statement about it to everone else, that's all up to them, of course, just like their decision to live together. It's none of my business. But it's not the government's either. Only in the case of creation of families can there be a case made that the government has any reason to take note of personal relationships at all.

For that matter, if the government were to, for whatever mysterious and highly suspicious reason, start meddling in non-child-producing relationships by bothering with official recognition of them, then those others would STILL be substantially different from marriage, so we'd have to create an additional, separate kind of legal status to deal with it...

#5 Bad Wolf

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 01:20 PM

Quote

Those who equate non-recognition of "gay marriages" with having anything against homosexuality or wanting to stop homosexuals from being and doing what they want are simply lying.

Delvo you'd get a lot further in your arguments if you didn't accuse everyone who disagrees with you of lying.

Frankly I think that anyone who disapproves of same sex marriage is homophobic.

And I don't care if you think I'm lying.
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#6 G1223

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 01:24 PM

I can live wth this as it has been determined by courts and population as a whole. I personally do not care but I can see that other will have objections.  I hope that at least debate has been done and vote taken.

I do worry when the PC movement forces changes in things without a vote. If a vote has been taken then win or lose everyone can say they had a say.
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#7 Nikcara

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 01:27 PM

Ok, for one, what's wrong with homosexial couples that decide to adopt?  That's one issue I have with Delvo's statement - even gay people can raise children.  Some might even want 'their own' children enough that lesbians will go to a sperm bank or gays get a woman to become in virto fertilized by one of the men's sperm and have kids that way.
And I think the main thing about marriage is that it is meant to be a union of two people who love each other so much that nothing should come between them.  In some ways becoming one.

To say that no allowing homosexual marriages does not discriminate means whoever is making that statement needs to re-think a few things.  Same-sex couples can not share insurance policies, for example.  They don't get the tax breaks that married couples do either.  So either you think of some sort of legal union that would allow for same-sex couples to enjoy all the benifts that straight married couples get (which would just be marriage by a differnt name) or find some other way of giving them equal benefits.

There is also the fact that not allowing same-sex couples to marry has a negative pyschological impact.  Seeing your straight friends getting married to the people they love but not being able to marry the person you love because of gender issues has to make one feel belittled, as if their love isn't as genuine as it is between a man and a woman.  Which is, of course, bull.

Edited by Nikcara, 11 June 2003 - 01:28 PM.

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#8 Nick

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 01:29 PM

I do not understand the draw to offical state-recognized marriages.  Although, that people still do it and find it advantageous in some way--then there have to be at least SOME reasons.  Otherwise, people would just have "marriage" ceremonies with no government recognition and be done with it.

The "no kids" argument doesn't hold up by the way.  I know many many MANY gay mothers and fathers who've had kids with ex husbands/wives before they realize they were gay.

Furthermore, adoption is a more prevalent option for same sex couples.

The government should recognize the union of ANY couple that wishes it, otherwise some benefit is being imparted upon some segment of society that is not being imparted on another.  And that's discrimination.

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#9 Nick

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 01:36 PM

G1223, on Jun 10 2003, 09:28 PM, said:

I can live wth this as it has been determined by courts and population as a whole. I personally do not care but I can see that other will have objections.  I hope that at least debate has been done and vote taken.

I do worry when the PC movement forces changes in things without a vote. If a vote has been taken then win or lose everyone can say they had a say.
The courts can only work with what's already there.  If the Canadian constitution permits gay marriages--they must be permitted.  It's merely a situation where a case has come to their attention and the laws on the books conflict with the constitution. I don't know the Canadian system, but in the U.S., if the Supreme Court made a decision that voters really didn't like--there are avenues to address that.  We can amend our constitution in those cases.

Canadian voters DID vote for that, when they approved or at least elected the officials who approved and ratified their consitution.

And regardless of when THAT hapened, I'm sure they can still amend that document as needed.

-Nick

#10 Delvo

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 01:55 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Jun 10 2003, 08:24 PM, said:

Delvo you'd get a lot further in your arguments if you didn't accuse everyone who disagrees with you of lying.
That's why I don't do it. I only call it that when it IS that. For example...

Quote

anyone who disapproves of same sex marriage is homophobic.
There, that's a lie. You just accused me of having feelings I don't have, which would be obvious to anyone who bothers reading what I wrote instead of ascribing whatever prejudice they might have in mind to me.

Quote

And I don't care if you think I'm lying.
That doesn't change the fact that it's what you just DID.

Edited by Delvo, 11 June 2003 - 01:57 PM.


#11 Rhea

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 02:06 PM

:cool:  :cool:

And Delvo, it is entirely possible to state an opinion without attacking everyone who doesn't agree with you. You might try it some time.

Edited by Rhea, 11 June 2003 - 02:09 PM.

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#12 Nikcara

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 02:08 PM

Quote

Those who equate non-recognition of "gay marriages" with having anything against homosexuality or wanting to stop homosexuals from being and doing what they want are simply lying.

It's not lying if you say what you believe.

Quote

Frankly I think that anyone who disapproves of same sex marriage is homophobic.

And I don't care if you think I'm lying.

Lil is stating THAT IS HER BELIEF.  You can't tell what she thinks or doesn't think is true.  I happen to agree with her on that issue.  I'm not lying.
If you want to prove that homophobia has nothing to do with not allowing same-sex marriages, come up with a better argument against them, or counter what I said in reply to your statement.
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#13 Rhea

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 02:12 PM

How about coming at this from the opposite direction? If marriage were ONLY about having children, then only people capable of having children together would marry. Lord have mercy, but I can't believe we're having this discussion! Rhea rolls her eyes

Obviously there's more to the relationship than just children.
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#14 Rov Judicata

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 02:17 PM

Rhea, on Jun 10 2003, 08:16 PM, said:

How about coming at this from the opposite direction? If marriage were ONLY about having children, then only people capable of having children together would marry.
More than that.

It would mean only the people who *could* and *would* have children would get married.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#15 Nikcara

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 02:20 PM

Quote

f marriage were ONLY about having children, then only people capable of having children together would marry
-Rhea

Wouldn't that also mean that if a couple couldn't have kids all of a sudden (woman got cervical cancer or something along those lines) that the marriage would have to become anulled?
We have fourty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse  -- Rudyard Kipling

Develop compassion for your enemies, that is genuine compassion.  Limited compassion cannot produce this altruism.  -- H. H. the Dalai Lama

#16 Alex

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 02:24 PM

Probably no one here knows this, since I'm new, but I'm gay. So, yeah.

Anyway, I think it's great that Toronto legalized gay marriages. :)
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#17 Delvo

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 02:26 PM

Nikcara, on Jun 10 2003, 08:31 PM, said:

Ok, for one, what's wrong with homosexual couples that decide to adopt?... Same-sex couples can not share insurance policies... They don't get the tax breaks that married couples do...
I agree these are problems with the non-recognition of "gay marriages". But they do not ARISE from that non-recognition; they just are highlighted by it. Also, as I said above, the child-bearing standard doesn't work perfectly with heterosexual couples either, so non-child-bearing couples end up with benefits meant for parents, and heterosexual but unmarried parental couples do not. But these complications to the system only add other topics to discuss separately from the question of "gay marriages"; they don't counter the basic premise. And imperfections with the "marriage system" as we know it and ways in which it can be abused and confused in certain cases do not constitute reasons to make the system even more self-contradictory, flawed, and abused and confused than it already is.

If we were to debate these other questions separately, my guiding principle in each case would still be the same: government's only business in personal affairs (in which no crimes are committed) is and has always been when people are going to raise children. Insurance companies' business decisions are a separate issue not for the government to deal with; tax breaks should be based on children instead of the marriage itself (which eliminates one of the other problems this thread isn't even about: childless heterosexual "marriages"); my accepting homosexual couples with children as families would depend exclusively on my being convinced that this is a sanction-worthy way for the children to be raised. See my pattern? If one REALLY doesn't think sexuality is the government's concern, one wants to keep the government OUT of it, not find extra contexts in which to have government stick its nose INTO it.

Quote

So either you think of some sort of legal union that would allow for same-sex couples to enjoy all the benifts that straight married couples get (which would just be marriage by a differnt name) or find some other way of giving them equal benefits.
Ya, if you're talking about couples with kids, or couples without them, rather than mixing and equating one of each. Only my "equal benefits" for the childless ones would be "none". Like I said, imagine the government deciding how much to favor or hinder any OTHER two people in any other kind of relationship, based on its assessment of their feelings for each other.

#18 Delvo

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 02:30 PM

Rhea, on Jun 10 2003, 09:16 PM, said:

If marriage were ONLY about having children, then only people capable of having children together would marry.
Yes. That's the idea. That's what marriage is all about. It's the only reason why any such relationship is worth special note by the officials.

Quote

Obviously there's more to the relationship than just children.
Yes, but we're not talking about what there is to the relationship; we're talking about the government's role in it.

#19 Bad Wolf

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 02:32 PM

Thank you Nik.

I'll leave it at that.

There is NO rational reason for opposing gay marriage.  Yes that is my opinion.

And when you eliminate the rational you are left with the irrational.

And that's where homophobia comes in.

Sorry Delvo but in my view this is a cut and dry issue.

Homophobia is not a pleasant word but there it is.

If you were opposed  to interracial marriage I'd call you a racist.

*shrug*

Lil
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#20 Rhea

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 02:33 PM

As far as I'm concerned, any two adults that are willing to go to the trouble of making a long-term commitment ought to be able to make that commitment without having to worry about not being able to own property together, be covered on each other's insurance, basically have their union recognized in a legal way. I don't much care what sex each participant is.

I just don't see the big deal, I guess. :Oo:
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH



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