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Canadian Gay Couple Barred From U.S.

LGBT Canadian couple Barred from US

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#61 Bella

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 09:02 AM

CJ AEGIS, on Sep 19 2003, 02:58 AM, said:

These two men were trying to enter the state of Georgia under the legal guise of a married couple.  Since same sex unions are illegal in Georgia they would be violating the law of that state by officially declaring themselves as a legal couple.  If the Customs Officials had allowed them to do so they would have been violating Georgia State Law.  Now link this with the Federal DOMA Rov cited above and you have a very stout case why a Federal law and at least the laws of one state would have been violated.
Sorry, but you're wrong - they weren't trying to enter Georgia, they were denied entry to the U.S. by U.S. Customs officials at Toronto International Airport, before they had even boarded a plane!  Here's an excerpt from canada.com:

"A gay married couple said they were refused entry into the United States after a U.S. customs official at the Toronto airport wouldn't accept their customs clearance form as a family."

And, BTW, they didn't publicize this to get attention - since they live in the same city that I do, I know that they've been fighting for gay rights for years.  They were one of two couples same-sex who were married at the Metropolitan United Church after the reading of the banns, over a year before the Ontario Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions in THIS province.

#62 Drew

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 09:30 AM

Bella, on Sep 19 2003, 09:02 AM, said:

And, BTW, they didn't publicize this to get attention - since they live in the same city that I do, I know that they've been fighting for gay rights for years.
That doesn't necessarily disprove my suspicions that this is a publicity stunt. Rather, it actually supports it. If they were just traveling to Georgia for, say, a visit to Flannery O'Connor's home town, you might convince me. But you say they've been advocates for this cause for years, and that they got "married" before gay marriage was legal in Canada. The phrase "civil disobedience" comes to mind--when someone knowingly goes against established laws, ordinances, conventions, etc. in order to draw attention to a cause. It certainly seems to fit.

And the reason I suspect it is because they had the option of filing out the proper forms as required by customs officials and they refused. I suspect they knew that this would happen and they were hoping to draw attention to same-sex marriage in the US. (Note that they were heading to a same-sex marriage advocacy event in Georgia, not in their native Canada. So obviously they're interested in changing U.S. Law.) As a result, we have sensational headlines like the one used as a subject header on this thread. But like all sensationalism, it doesn't tell the whole story. It front-loads the article with half-truths designed to elicit a particular emotional response in the reader. They're having more success getting their message out by making headlines than by showing up at an event where they'd pretty much be preaching to the converted already.

Even though I disagree with them I have to admit it's a pretty clever way to reach people with their message. Yes, it depends on a press that loves sensationalism and supports their cause, but that certainly isn't a roadblock.

Edited by Drew, 19 September 2003 - 09:32 AM.

"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#63 Bella

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 10:09 AM

Drew, on Sep 19 2003, 02:30 PM, said:

And the reason I suspect it is because they had the option of filing out the proper forms as required by customs officials and they refused. I suspect they knew that this would happen and they were hoping to draw attention to same-sex marriage in the US. (Note that they were heading to a same-sex marriage advocacy event in Georgia, not in their native Canada. So obviously they're interested in changing U.S. Law.) As a result, we have sensational headlines like the one used as a subject header on this thread. But like all sensationalism, it doesn't tell the whole story. It front-loads the article with half-truths designed to elicit a particular emotional response in the reader. They're having more success getting their message out by making headlines than by showing up at an event where they'd pretty much be preaching to the converted already.
The two men in question don't need to draw attention to this issue, since it's already been the focus of a Parliamentary vote this very week.  It's a news topic here every day right now (we also have a Provincial election on October 2nd, where it's an issue) - their story just happened at a time that the link would draw even more attention.

As for your comment that "they're interested in changing U.S. law", I'm sure they know they haven't got a snowball's chance in hell of that happening.  One of the men has written a book about their experiences in going through the church wedding and it's more likely that they were there to discuss their experience, in addition to providing information on gay rights issues in Canada.

I doubt that most Americans, unless they are involved in the same-sex marriage issue themselves, have been following what's going on with the Cdn government's position on this issue.  Since canada.com is a site that's a pain to link to, I'll repost the article on a Parliamentary vote.  BTW, the Cdn Alliance is our most right-wing party:

"Canadian Press
Thursday, September 18, 2003

OTTAWA (CP) - The Canadian Alliance isn't giving up its fight to block same-sex marriage.

Two days after the party narrowly lost a vote in the House of Commons on a motion to preserve the traditional definition of marriage, an Alliance MP introduced a private member's bill Thursday calling on Parliament to define marriage as the union of "one man and one woman."

The bill says it should be up to the provinces to legalize any other kinds of relationships.

The Liberal government announced plans to legalize gay unions after several courts ruled that the current definition of marriage is unconstitutional. Draft legislation has been referred to the Supreme Court of Canada to ensure it's compliant with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. An opinion is not expected for several months.

Alberta MP Grant Hill, who introduced the Alliance bill, said he believes the top court would uphold the current definition of marriage.

Justice Minister Martin Cauchon dismissed the Alliance bill as one more effort to short-circuit the government's plans to allow same-sex couples to wed.

"It's a tremendous lack of respect for the Canadian people, a tremendous lack of respect as well for the court system and parliamentarians."

Cauchon also rejected continued suggestions by Liberal leadership frontrunner Paul Martin that other options, such as civil unions, could be considered.

Martin is widely expected to replace Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who retires in February.

Cauchon noted that courts in both B.C. and Ontario rejected civil unions as a solution.

"Separate but equal institutions are not something that would meet the criteria of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

A private member's bill rarely passes, but the issue of same-sex marriage is a volatile one and many Liberals could support the Alliance.

On Tuesday, the House voted 137-132 against an Alliance motion to maintain the current definition of marriage. More than 50 Liberals sided with the Opposition. "

#64 Drew

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 10:20 AM

Bella, on Sep 19 2003, 10:09 AM, said:

The two men in question don't need to draw attention to this issue, since it's already been the focus of a Parliamentary vote this very week.  It's a news topic here every day right now (we also have a Provincial election on October 2nd, where it's an issue) - their story just happened at a time that the link would draw even more attention.
Interesting coincidence, eh? :cool:

Quote

As for your comment that "they're interested in changing U.S. law", I'm sure they know they haven't got a snowball's chance in hell of that happening.  One of the men has written a book about their experiences in going through the church wedding and it's more likely that they were there to discuss their experience, in addition to providing information on gay rights issues in Canada.

So why come to the U.S. to talk to advocates of same-sex marriage if they're supposedly not interested in U.S. law on the issue? Perhaps because they want to give people down here information on how to achieve their aims?

Quote

I doubt that most Americans, unless they are involved in the same-sex marriage issue themselves, have been following what's going on with the Cdn government's position on this issue. 

You would be wrong. Canada's decision has been all over the news down here.

Edited by Drew, 19 September 2003 - 10:22 AM.

"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#65 Bella

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 10:31 AM

Drew, on Sep 19 2003, 03:20 PM, said:

Bella, on Sep 19 2003, 10:09 AM, said:

The two men in question don't need to draw attention to this issue, since it's already been the focus of a Parliamentary vote this very week.  It's a news topic here every day right now (we also have a Provincial election on October 2nd, where it's an issue) - their story just happened at a time that the link would draw even more attention.
Interesting coincidence, eh? :cool:

Quote

As for your comment that "they're interested in changing U.S. law", I'm sure they know they haven't got a snowball's chance in hell of that happening.  One of the men has written a book about their experiences in going through the church wedding and it's more likely that they were there to discuss their experience, in addition to providing information on gay rights issues in Canada.

So why come to the U.S. to talk to advocates of same-sex marriage if they're supposedly not interested in U.S. law on the issue? Perhaps because they want to give people down here information on how to achieve their aims?

Quote

I doubt that most Americans, unless they are involved in the same-sex marriage issue themselves, have been following what's going on with the Cdn government's position on this issue. 

You would be wrong. Canada's decision has been all over the news down here.
It's amazing that it could be a co-incidence, since I doubt the American organizers of the conference would have needed prior information that the Cdn Alliance would be drafting this motion for Parliament.  Did they also know that Parliament just reconvened after their summer break?

Your comment about providing information to Americans is almost exactly what I had just said - that they were invited to provide information.

The only feedback we've seen from the US media about the whole issue is that it's a threat to your policies, but not how extensive the coverage is.

#66 Rhea

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 10:40 AM

DWF, on Sep 19 2003, 06:37 AM, said:

Kosh, on Sep 19 2003, 09:09 AM, said:

DWF, on Sep 18 2003, 10:44 PM, said:

If this is homophobic, then who's homophobic, the custom's agents enforcing the law, Congress for making the law, or the President for signing the law? :unsure:
The country in general. Our laws work against gays the same way they worked against minorities in the past. Liberty and Justice for all is a nice idea, but it does not exsist.
But the conplaint that, this is homophobia gone amuck, so to speak it would have to be in the intent, and I don't think Clinton is homophobic, as I pointed out he put gays into the millitary, so I don't see who's been homophobic here. :wacko:  :unsure:
My contention is that enforcing laws meant to apply to United States citizens and residents on *VISITORS* from other countries is ludicrous. If I again use the example of some muckety-muck sheik with multiple wives who came to the US on holiday, do you really believe that they should be denied entry or forced to choose which wife signed papers as a single woman just so they could pay a visit to the US for a couple of weeks? And whose business is it that a gay couple legally married under the laws of their country comes here as a family?

My contention is, and will remain, that it is not the business of the United States to take a stand on the legal status of families from other countries who are merely visitors.

If we reverse this and assume that all other countries are as narrow-minded as we are, it would mean that US citizens have absolutely no right to go to other countries for divorces, because why should the other countries honor marriages made in the US? You could scratch all those quickie Mexican and Carribean divorces.  :p

Edited by Rhea, 19 September 2003 - 10:42 AM.

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#67 Drew

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 10:43 AM

By the way, here's the panel discussion they were to be a part of:

Quote

Challenging Par: What Makes a Family in the 21st Century

Explore the historic moment we have come to in the LGBT civil rights movement with this panel as it explores the legal status of same-sex partnerships and what is needed to achieve the full marriage equality that is within our reach. Same-sex couples have now begun marrying in Canada, promising cases are underway in the U.S., and the recent Supreme Court ruling gives us an additional powerful tool for ending the "gay exception" that excludes us from legal equality here at home. States and politicians continue to move in the direction of civil marriage equality, some by supporting "all but marriage" steps, while robust discussion and polls show continuing growth in support for gay people's freedom to marry. As in any civil rights movement, there will also be continuing resistance, opposition, and hesitation... and the need to bring more resources and allies into our struggle for victory.

Note that the question of "what makes a family" is thematically linked to their reason for refusing to enter the U.S.--because they couldn't fill out a "family" form. Note, also that this panel will discuss "what is needed to achieve full marriage equality" in the U.S.

The more information I'm given, the more it seems likely they hoped to have a border dispute for the sake of publicity.

Like I said up there somewhere, it's a clever strategy for drawing attention to their cause.

By the way, the news article referred to the conference they were attending as a "human rights" conference. This is another half-truth by the media. More specifically, it's a conference centered on gay-rights advocacy. So we have a sensational headline that positions the story as "Gay Couple Barred from U.S.!" containing information that doesn't really tell the whole story.
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#68 Drew

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 10:52 AM

Bella, on Sep 19 2003, 10:31 AM, said:

Your comment about providing information to Americans is almost exactly what I had just said - that they were invited to provide information.
. . . about how to change U.S. law. You said you didn't think they'd be interested in that, however the panel in which they were to take part has that exact purpose.

Perhaps a sensational news article about how they were barred from the U.S. might encourage fence-sitters to take action to achieve that goal. Like I said, they probably reached more people with their message through this act of refusal than if they'd actually appeared at that convention. The convention, after all, would be attended by people who already agreed with them. However, a sensational news article that positions the U.S. as the Bad Guys™ because we don't recognize their marriage will be read by people who normally wouldn't attend a conference on gay rights. They're broadening their support base.

Clever.
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#69 Bella

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 11:03 AM

Drew, on Sep 19 2003, 03:52 PM, said:

Bella, on Sep 19 2003, 10:31 AM, said:

Your comment about providing information to Americans is almost exactly what I had just said - that they were invited to provide information.
. . . about how to change U.S. law. You said you didn't think they'd be interested in that, however the panel in which they were to take part has that exact purpose.
Actually, that's not what I said - I said they probably knew they didn't have a chance at changing any US laws.  Why would they?  Canadian rights activists have enough challenges ahead of them with our Parliamentary motions and equalizing their rights without focussing on American legislation.

#70 Rhea

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 11:06 AM

Quote

Bella, on Sep 19 2003, 10:31 AM, said:

Your comment about providing information to Americans is almost exactly what I had just said - that they were invited to provide information.
. . . about how to change U.S. law. You said you didn't think they'd be interested in that, however the panel in which they were to take part has that exact purpose.

Perhaps a sensational news article about how they were barred from the U.S. might encourage fence-sitters to take action to achieve that goal. Like I said, they probably reached more people with their message through this act of refusal than if they'd actually appeared at that convention. The convention, after all, would be attended by people who already agreed with them. However, a sensational news article that positions the U.S. as the Bad Guys™ because we don't recognize their marriage will be read by people who normally wouldn't attend a conference on gay rights. They're broadening their support base.

Clever.

^But they ARE a family. They may not be YOUR kind of family, which is at the root of the whole dispute. Why should they pretend to be something they're not? They're not asking to move here. They aren't asking to be married here.  What they do at home is NOT the business of *this* country.

Edited by Rhea, 19 September 2003 - 11:08 AM.

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#71 Drew

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 11:11 AM

Further Googling brings me to this description of the incident from the couple themselves. They make it pretty clear that their refusal was intended to make a point.

Quote

The paperwork would have taken about a minute for us to accomplish. Some quick personal facts, a series of check boxes, my signature and I would be done and on my way to Georgia. But why were we going there? Wasn't this the very issue that we were going to speak about - our status as a family. Could we really claim to go and speak about how important it is for the public to recognize LGBTQ couples as families after sneaking across the border as single people?

We said that we would not fill out a second form and when the customs agent insisted, we went back to immigration. This time Immigration supervisor (Mr. C. Norton) supported the position of the customs agent and the supervisor asked, 'Is it a problem filling out a second form?'

I thought about the event we were about to miss. It was being opened by Coretta Scott King whose husband had rallied the nation in support of an African-American seamstress who refused to move to the back of the bus. It wasn't the paperwork, it was what the paperwork represented. We informed the Immigration Supervisor that we would not be entering the country and with disappointment, and frustration , we made our way home.

The United States is a sovereign country. They have the right to refuse entry to anyone they want and the issue of the United States recognizing the marriages of U.S. citizens who come to Canada to get married is one that needs internal debate. But this is a case of the United States in essence telling the Canadian government which Canadians qualify as families and which Canadians do not.. Maybe the form should be altered to read, 'One form per family as defined in American law." Then we, as Canadians, can decide whether to venture into the 'land of free' or not, hiding our relationships and ourselves in order not to be bothered. I guess it just depends on how much emotional baggage we are willing to tote along with our carry on.

Now, you'll also note that they claim they've entered the U.S. as a "family" a few times in the past since they've been married, and that they never had any trouble. So, in truth, it wasn't "The United States" that reqested they fill out separate forms, but one customs-offical cog in the wheel of the U.S. Customs bureaucracy.

Had they entered the country at another time, in another place or when this particular official was taking a bathroom break, no problem at all. It's a tiny incident blown to massive proportions because the press loves the sensationalism of it all.
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#72 Drew

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 11:14 AM

Quote

What they do at home is NOT the business of *this* country.

Precisely.  :cool:
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#73 Bad Wolf

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 11:14 AM

sierraleone, on Sep 19 2003, 12:33 AM, said:

You're asking me to know the laws of the USA, when I don't very well know my own country's? ;)
No I'm asking you to accept that there is a huge difference between the law of one state in the US and "US Law" and to stop arguing as if one equates to the other.:)

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#74 Drew

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 11:16 AM

Clone post!

By the way, can you marry your clone?

Edited by Drew, 19 September 2003 - 11:17 AM.

"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#75 Bad Wolf

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 11:17 AM

Bella, on Sep 19 2003, 07:02 AM, said:

Sorry, but you're wrong - they weren't trying to enter Georgia, they were denied entry to the U.S. by U.S. Customs officials at Toronto International Airport, before they had even boarded a plane!  Here's an excerpt from canada.com:
Thank you Bella!

:cool:
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#76 Bella

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 11:51 AM

Una Salus Lillius, on Sep 19 2003, 04:17 PM, said:

Thank you Bella!
Any time Lil. :)

#77 Drew

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 11:52 AM

What do I need to do around here to get a "Thank you, Drew"?

:angel:
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#78 Bad Wolf

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 12:13 PM

:lol:

Why, thank you Drew!!!!  

:hehe:

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#79 HubcapDave

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 01:04 PM

Rhea, on Sep 19 2003, 08:40 AM, said:

DWF, on Sep 19 2003, 06:37 AM, said:

Kosh, on Sep 19 2003, 09:09 AM, said:

DWF, on Sep 18 2003, 10:44 PM, said:

If this is homophobic, then who's homophobic, the custom's agents enforcing the law, Congress for making the law, or the President for signing the law? :unsure:
The country in general. Our laws work against gays the same way they worked against minorities in the past. Liberty and Justice for all is a nice idea, but it does not exsist.
But the conplaint that, this is homophobia gone amuck, so to speak it would have to be in the intent, and I don't think Clinton is homophobic, as I pointed out he put gays into the millitary, so I don't see who's been homophobic here. :wacko:  :unsure:
My contention is that enforcing laws meant to apply to United States citizens and residents on *VISITORS* from other countries is ludicrous. If I again use the example of some muckety-muck sheik with multiple wives who came to the US on holiday, do you really believe that they should be denied entry or forced to choose which wife signed papers as a single woman just so they could pay a visit to the US for a couple of weeks? And whose business is it that a gay couple legally married under the laws of their country comes here as a family?

My contention is, and will remain, that it is not the business of the United States to take a stand on the legal status of families from other countries who are merely visitors.

If we reverse this and assume that all other countries are as narrow-minded as we are, it would mean that US citizens have absolutely no right to go to other countries for divorces, because why should the other countries honor marriages made in the US? You could scratch all those quickie Mexican and Carribean divorces.  :p
I again refer to my earlier example of American couple who go to Saudi Arabia to work.

I don't think we'd take the trouble to observe the local customs and laws of Saudi Arabia and then sit by while an Arab sheik disobeys ours.

#80 sierraleone

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 01:25 PM

What? They can't, or shouldn't go to the US to discuss gay marriage/unions? Besides the fact how closely entwined our countries are, should priests, or advocates for national childcare, or advocates for toughing the penalties for juvenile offenders not be allowed to go to conferences in the other country? They don't really except to change the other countries laws (or whatever they are trying to change), they expect their counterparts to do it (or at least try). Heck, there are people trying to get laws changed half-a-way a world from their country. Women's issues and rights in middle eastern countries. Children's rights across half the world, so they won't be working in a sweat shop when they're eight. Or at least improving their conditions.

Think of all the organizations the exist on both sides of the border.
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Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
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