Please express your opposition to Bill S-9. Write a letter calling for an end to marriage discrimination:
we ask from the world is equality not privledge and to have our 26 year relationship
recognized by the law. It is amazing how laws can change the way the world thinks.
long as discrimination continues to be sanctioned at the highest level while the
Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms is waved about, until we as individuals and
as a country start to think for ourselves and not the way we are told, and until
we are prepared to stand up and say"the emperor has no clothes", we
will continue to be less than who we are capable of being."
time is right for Canadians, regardless of sexual orientation, to be considered
full members of our society, and it is the strong voices of those who want to
see justice done that must prevail."
enshrine a flawed definition of marriage into legislation in order to pander to
the religious views of a vocal few is exactly the sort of travesty that
good to see you use your charm and wit in the Senate, may you long be a champion
of human rights."
and I believe that we are full Canadian citizens and that anything less than equality
before the law is unacceptable. We refuse to accept second class status."
are on the threshold of a brave, new world that since September 11, we so desperately
need. There is a yearning for peace, there is a yearning for harmony and there
is a yearning for inclusion. And we are looking for leadership."
are sure that you are aware that your taking this position in public will result
in hostile comments and unpleasant mail coming to your office, all "proper
and righteous" in tone. We too know a great deal about this kind of criticism
and that is why we want you to know that you have friends across Canada who respect
takes courage and strength to take a stand, as you have done, when so many around
you do nothing, or use their positions of authority and power to undermine the
Canadian tradition of tolerance and inclusion."
is through your efforts, boldness, and bravery, that one day soon, we will be
able to say with pride: 'The engagement is over my love, will you marry me?'"
the United States in 1999, there were 1317 incidents of reported hate crimes based
on sexual orientation. In those incidents, 1376 of the offenders were known to
have previously committed a hate crime.
"do we love and respect and understand our fellow gay and lesbian Canadians as much as anyone else, that we are ready to grant them full citizenship, the full benefit of that label of "decency" which we accord so readily to ordinary married couples, who themselves do nothing more than care for each other, build their households, and, if so blessed, raise children together?"
"Until gays and lesbians stand up as equals in our society and expect the same treatment as the rest of their citizens, the mainstream will continue to ask us to 'sit at the back of the bus'."
churches and government of our land must accept a portion of the blame for the
violence against gays and lesbians of Canada. Pastors of many churches preach
that homosexuality is an abomination against God, and we must change our sexuality.
Well, I think that their sermons are an abomination in God's eyes. God weeps over
the Church as the Pharisees in the pulpits preach hate and intolerance."
"Because we are lesbians, all six of us in our family have had to battle for one after another after another of the rights that other Canadian citizens take for granted."
"Why not be completely inclusive of the whole of society with this wonderful, life-giving benefit?"
need your help to keep Canada on track, to help us achieve true equality as loving,
productive, hard-working Canadian citizens. Throw out Bill S-9."
my situation, since my fiancé is transgender, according to the marriage
law, he cannot marry a female because he is biologically female (same-sex). He
is on hormone treatments (Testosterone) replacement treatments and looks male.
He has had his name legally changed to a male name and in outward appearance we
are a heterosexual couple. Yet, according to Bill S-9, he would only be able to
marry another man?"
simple solution was given to me by my fiancés 10 year old son. Equality
for All. Every Canadian has the right to marry and it should not matter what their
sexual orientation may be."
Advocacy - Letters - Bill S-9
March 14, 2002
Dear Senator Wilson:
It was wonderful to read your words in support of equal marriage for same-sex couples (March 13, 2002, senate debate on Bill S-9). In particular, your authority as a person of faith gave particular weight to your comments regarding the need for the separation of church and state.
Your encouragement, as we await the decision in our Ontario case, is timely, necessary, and most welcome.
Knowing you will come under pressure from various groups, we hope you will find the strength to continue to challenge and engage opponents in dialogue until we have achieved the just society that Canadians aspire to. Please continue to look for opportunities to use your influence to end marriage discrimination.
March 14, 2002
March 18, 2002
Dear Senator LaPierre,
As one of the litigants in Ontario in the same-sex marriage challenge, I would like to add my voice to those who support you in your debate with Senator Cools. The time is right for Canadians, regardless of sexual orientation, to be considered full members of our society, and it is the strong voices of those who want to see justice done that must prevail.
I firmly believe that those who fought for the rights of women in this country in the courts were equally challenged before women were considered "persons" in 1930, and it took courage to fight those battles, too. The end result is that women are now accorded full rights under the law.
You are following in mighty powerful footsteps as you do battle at the dawn of the 21st century... and I thank you for your courage.
March 18, 2002
Dear Senator LaPierre
I am writing to express my support fro the position you have taken, both with respect to Bill S-9 and also in warning the honourable members of the Senate, not to rely too heavily on the ruling of Mr. Justice Pitfield in the matter of equal marriage.
have rightly and justly spoken in the interests of all Canadians by defending
the rights of citizens against the ugly prejudice of Bill S-9. To enshrine a flawed
definition of marriage into legislation in order to pander to the religious views
of a vocal few is exactly the sort of travesty that
to the decision of Mr. Justice Pitfield. Your assertion that judges can be wrong
is bourne out by the words of Justice Pitfield himself in his own decision. Several
times, he questions whether the reasoning and logic he has applied are correct.
And it is very curious that Senator Cools has not
Senator, my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for what you have said and what
you continue to do. You may receive many negative comments, but please know that
there are just as many who will stand and applaud you for
March 18, 2002
March 19, 2002
Dear Senator LaPierre,
would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the importance of your response
to Bill S-9 re the Pitfield decision in
B.C. It is extremely important that Canadians know the truth.
Honorable Mobina Jaffer,
Dear Senator Jaffer,
were overjoyed to read your comments concerning the social importance of extending
full civil equality to homosexuals, including access to civil marriage. That a
Canadian Senator could stand up for us and "tell it like
Having lived together for more than a quarter century, we decided to ask for access to civil marriage in Québec. This has led us on a three year quest for justice that has turned into an incredible voyage through unfamiliar territory---lawyers, mortgages (to pay for the lawyers), courtrooms, media exposure--- to a whole new group of friends, from coast to coast to coast. Almost every day of the last three years has revealed something new and wonderful for us.
And, best of all, it has made our "relationship" stronger and more mature. An experience that we could never have expected, that has enriched our life together.
on September 14, 1998, when we first announced our intention to marry civilly,
had someone told us that, one day in the not too far future, a Canadian Senator
will speak some "home truths" to our nation about the importance of
the equality and the dignity that you seek, we would never,
How can we thank you for your thoughtfulness, your strength, your straightforwardness?
We are sure that you are aware that your taking this position in public will result in hostile comments and unpleasant mail coming to your office, all "proper and righteous" in tone. We too know a great deal about this kind of criticism and that is why we want you to know that you have friends across Canada who respect you enormously. And who are so proud of you for what you have done.
Again, we thank you and we want you to know that we admire you for your courage. From your courage, we take heart.
Hendricks and René LeBoeuf
Dear Senator Jaffer:
read, with great appreciation, of your stand for equality, and your support of
the right for any couple to choose who they will marry. I married my spouse, Joe
Varnell, at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, on January 14 this year.
We went to court this month in Ontario, in an effort to force Ontario and Canada
to register and recognize our marriage. Canada's lawyer, representing the Attorney
General of Canada, described her own argument
against equal marriage as "lame" ,
There are, as you know, couples in British Columbia and Quebec who are also seeking equality in the courts. It takes courage and strength to take a stand, as you have done, when so many around you do nothing, or use their positions of authority and power to undermine the Canadian tradition of tolerance and inclusion.
We need your voice, locally and nationally; we hope that you will continue to speak out as we continue our struggle for justice and equality. Thank you for helping to sustain this effort. Thank you for showing political courage and integrity in the face of strong opposition.
We would love to add your thoughts and words to our web site! Please consider contributing a statement (or past speach?) in support of equal marriage.
In appreciation for your example and leadership,
Bourassa and Joe Varnell
Dear Senator Jaffer:
Please accept this note as a message of thanks, from two gay men who appreciate your public view of equal-marriage. When Bob and I met in 1968, he was twenty years old and I was 25. We are now 54 and 59. We have lived our lives together, through many struggles, and mountains that had to be scaled. There have been times of great pain and grief, as we lost members of our families. But, there has been overwhelming joy, whenever we made a small step towards equality. Bob and I are now involved in what will probably be our final battle for justice. We want to marry, and show our love for each other in a very public way. You are one more candle that shines a bright light in the darkness of homophobia. It is through your efforts, boldness, and bravery, that one day soon, we will be able to say with pride: " The engagement is over my love, will you marry me"?
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
Thornhill / Bob Peacock
The Honorable Mobina Jaffer,
Senator for British Columbia
Parliament of Canada
I am an attorney for the same-sex couple, Michael Hendricks and René LeBoeuf, who are challenging the constitutionality of the prohibition against same sex marriage currently being heard in Montreal.
It has come to my attention that you have spoken out in favour of granting equal access to marriage to gay and lesbian couples who wish to to engage in this noble institution.
It has also come to my attention that your courageous stand has drawn criticism from certain quarters.
Well, Senator, please rest assured that there are many Canadians who are behind you, and who admire your willingness to speak out against this discrimination that besmirches our nation's good name.
When we all read about the heinous conviction in Egypt of scores of men who had nothing more ignoble than engage in a "debauched" party on a private cruise ship (ergo, they were homosexual), we shook our collective heads in disbelief that there are still nations who seek to criminalize ordinary sexual behaviour between consenting adults. Those of us who heard the howls of anguish of the convicted men in watching the news report on CNN were chilled by this event, and wondered what fate awaits these men in prison.
When we all read about the Taliban condemning homosexuals to death by bulldozing walls upon their living bodies, again, we were chilled at the hatred that prevails in other nations against this vulnerable minority.
Yet again, we in Canada are called upon to set the standard of humanitarian and decent treatment of all our citizens. The world looks to us for our decency, our tolerance, our sense of inclusiveness. Perplexing isn't it that we have so little awareness of how much we are admired elsewhere in the world for nothing more complex than our compassion for our fellow man?
And now you, Senator, have laid down the gauntlet for Parliament.
Your words have provoked a call to your fellow senators to reconsider positions, which, although perhaps innocently held in the past, now require reconsideration: do we love and respect and understand our fellow gay and lesbian Canadians as much as anyone else, that we are ready to grant them full citizenship, the full benefit of that label of "decency" which we accord so readily to ordinary married couples, who themselves do nothing more than care for each other, build their households, and, if so blessed, raise children together?
Or do we still carry deep in our hearts a flicker of hatred when we wish to withhold from gay and lesbian couples that ultimate sign of respect, somehow still grasping that discriminatory view that "their" relationships are less noble, less dignified, than our own messy marriages?
When I was called upon in Court to plead to the notion of "judicial deference", I had to justify to the Court why I thought it necessary that the Court to act to end this discrimination, lest the trial judge determine that she could have confidence Parliament would do the job.
And so, I pointed out to our trial judge that nothing prevented Parliament from convening the very next day, bright and early, and deciding to show the political will to grant equality to gays and lesbians. I felt it was indeed up to Parliament to lead the nation, to set the standard for what is right and just, and not slavishly to follow the dictates of those few for whom homosexuality remains a subject of revulsion. It is these few who hide their negative feelings about homosexuality itself, who then are so flustered by this concept of equal marriage, and who are so panicked that "those people" would be admitted to "their" institution.
Yet, it is the revulsion of those few that has prevented Parliament from acting.
And it was painful indeed for all of us to read the Parliamentary Debates which surrounded the eventual adoption of Bill C-23, Parliamentary Debates which we are now requiring our trial judge to read, so that she can experience for herself the voices of intolerance that were heard in the most august halls of our government.
Reading those transcripts made me realize just how fine the line is between our sense of civilization and that of the other nations whose treatment of gays we consider so offensive.
And so, it takes someone like you, Senator, to bring a strong voice of conviction to explain the simple decency and strong morality of welcoming gays and lesbians into that fellowship of true Canadian citizens.
I thank you again, Senator, for speaking out on behalf of this historically disadvantaged minority, and for reminding your fellow Senators that marriage is still indeed a cherished institution for ALL Canadians, whatever their personal and private sexuality.
Dear Senator Jaffer,
This is just a brief note to let you know how much your support of same sex marriage means to me. I have been blessed by a loving and supportive family who accept and honour my spouse. There are, however, many who are not so accepting, who belittle our relationship. We were joined in a ceremony by our church and consider ourselves to be a married couple yet we must enshrine the inherent rights of a spouse through the use of legal documents.
Canada is a world leader in peaceful democracy and social justice. We lead not with armed weapons but with social conscience. Let us lead the world and prove for all time that this is a land open and accepting of all it's citizens. When we see an injustice we do something about it - you have seen the injustice and spoken out on our behalf.
Praise! Thanks! and Many Blessings to you!!
Until gays and lesbians stand up as equals in our society and expect the same treatment as the rest of their citizens, the mainstream will continue to ask us to "sit at the back of the bus". A growing number of us believe that we already belong just by being here, just the way we are and we will continue to seek what is rightfully ours.
in our defense is most commendable and courageous. Courage takes heart and the
heart is where love abides. And that is what we are about.
The Senator's Reply
you for helping me keep what is right at the top of my mind.
March 18, 2002
Dear Senator Carstairs:
March 21, 2002
Thank heavens a lot has changed since 1866. In the 1970's, I was raped by my husband
when I was so ill with pneumonia that the doctor said I should be in the hospital.
This was during a time in my life when I didn't know what my legal rights were,
when I was in a psychological 'victim' state of mind. Ten years later, I learned
it was wrong, that I had rights, including the right to divorce. However, if this
had happened to me while under the strictures of the Hyde v. Hyde decision, I
would have had to accept such marital rape as my fate, over and over again, with
no recourse to divorce.
March 20, 2002
TO: HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE: Raynell Andreychuk-CHAIR, Joan Fraser-Deputy Chair, The Very Rev. Lois Wilson, Ethel M. Cochrane, Marisa Ferretti, Noel A. Kinsella, Vivienne Poy
LEGAL & CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Gérald A. Beaudoin, John G. Bryden, Nicholas W. Taylor, John M. Buchanan, Serge Joyal, Lorna Milne, Wilfred P. Moore, Pierre Claude Nolin, Jean-Claude Rivestrives
I am a 39 year old woman who has worked hard since the age of 18. I pay my taxes on time, contribute to my community and believe in equal rights for all. I have been married twice before and have two children, one who just turned 18 and now is able to vote.
have met a man who is a transsexual male, which simply means he is biologically
female waiting surgery to become the gender he should have been born with. Why
is the government playing God and prohibiting me from marrying the man I love?
gays, lesbians and transgenders live normal lives, raising children and contributing
to their community, province and country. My fiancé was given the freedom
of choice to enlist in the Canadian Army and served for 20 years before retiring.
Is the Canadian Government deciding for him that although he has fought for this
country and helped keep it safe, he cannot collect on the freedoms that he has
In closing I would like to ask a simple question. Are gays, lesbians, transsexuals and infertile citizens of Canada less deserving of the freedoms we value? A simple solution was given to me by my fiancés 10 year old son.
Equality for All.
Every Canadian has the right to marry and it should not matter what their sexual orientation may be.