A new statement issued by Justice Minister Rob Nicholson today clarified the Harper government's position on same sex marriages, stating that all same sex marriages performed in Canada are legal and the law will be changed to ensure that divorce is readily available to non-residents who were married in the country.
Mr. Nicholson also said that the current legal situation, which prevents any couple who was married in Canada but hasn't lived in this country for at least a year from obtaining a divorce here, is "completely unfair to those affected". The law as it currently stands leaves thousands of same sex couples in the painful position of not being able to get a divorce if they wish to. Mr. Nicholson went on, "I want to make it clear that in our government's view, these marriages are valid".
Dan Savage, the sex advice columnist who issued a harsh statement about the situation yesterday, took to his blog again today, this time under the headline "Canada: Terry Is My Husband Again... Or Will Be Soon". Today's post is brief and to the point. It begins "Good news:" and quotes a news story about the situation. He finishes the post by saying "it would appear that, for the moment, and until the law is changed, we are not legally married in Canada, BC marriage license notwithstanding".
The National Post's Editorial Board published an opinion piece today in which they called the media response to the situation a "bout of left-wing hysteria", going on to state that "the Harper government's alleged homophobia is a cynical, slow-news-day media invention, and casts far more discredit on the government's hysterical critics than the government itself".
Dan Savage Savages Stephen Harper
January 12, 2012
It's been a day of confusion about the status of same-sex marriage in Canada. Questions about the rights of same-sex couples came to the fore because of a divorce case involving a lesbian couple who married in Canada in 2005, but are now living apart, one in Florida and the other in the UK. Because neither of those governments recognizes Canadian same-sex marriages, the couple was unable to obtain a divorce in their current home countries, and so turned to the place where they were married.
Current Canadian law, though, states that non-resident couples who marry here must live in Canada for one year before they can legally divorce. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says the Harper government is considering changes to the law that will make it easier for foreign couples who married in Canada to obtain divorces. When asked about the status of gay marriage in Canada, Stephen Harper said that "we have no intention of further re-opening or opening this issue".
Sex columnist Dan Savage, who married his husband Terry in Vancouver in 2005, attacked Harper's statement:
"Sorry, mother***er, but this "issue"--the civil equality of gays and lesbians--is wide open now and your f***ing government opened it. The debate over same-sex marriage and the civil equality of gays and lesbians has been returned to the frontpages of Canada's newspapers and a renewed debate over same-sex marriage will dominate Canadian television and radio news programs. And Canada's religious conservatives will doubtless complain--loud and long--about their precious children having to hear about homosexuality every time they turn on the news. Stephen Harper's government reopened this issue, not the gays, and Stephen Harper's government deserves the blame."
We created a card to congratulate Dan and Terry on their continued union - you can see it on the show tonight. Check it out below:
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