Honourable Martin Cauchon Canada's
former Justice Minister, called on the cabinet to support equal marriage, days
after the June 10th, 2003, introduction of same-sex marriage in Ontario. The new
Justice Minister, Irwin Cotler seems less supportive. Please
write or call for equal marriage now.
on its own, the federal government's deferral to the Supreme Court on gay marriage
was gutless enough; the Justice Minister completely botching the announcement
was the icing on the cake. It's not as though there was any doubt that the Liberals
were dodging the issue. But did Cauchon really need to underscore that point by
literally hiding during his biggest announcement of the summer? The Quebec MP
is frequently mentioned as a potential leadership candidate down the road, but
his handling of this issue raises serious questions about his political judgement
and attitude ... It's nice to know that our Justice Minister won't back down from
those tough questions about getting high when he was a kid; it's just too bad
that real issues are too much of a hassle for him to bother dealing with." Pundit
Magazine, August 2, 2002
To Canada's Justice Minister A Call To Support Equal Marriage
am writing in support of your commitment to enacting same-sex marriage legislation,
because I fear that somehow the new same-sex marriage legislation before the parliament
is not receiving the support it needs and deserves.
been thinking about the people that I'm going to encounter in the future who are
going to think that my marriage is invalid. It's such a personal attack. I've
always been a politically-minded person and always held strong beliefs regarding
rights, and even more so when it comes to violations of those rights based on
identity (that's race, religion, sexuality, gender, nationality... things that
are just what you were born with, inherited, can't change). On this issue, however,
it comes down to me, to my own life, my own rights. My partner and I want to get
married, have children, raise them and be happy, work, be productive, love each
other. It sounds so simple. I find it incomprehensible how people can find these
desires so objectionable.
hope you'll keep your eye on what's happenning in Alberta. While the rest of the
country has celebrated becoming a more tolerant, accepting nation, Alberta's government
has continued to reveal it's ugly, bigoted side. Please make sure than when legislation
is enacted, that Alberta can't refuse. Let the legislation read: Marriage is between
2 persons, and this means you, Ralph Klein! The Adult Interdependent Relationships
Act in Alberta (or any other Domestic Partner federal equivalent) does not appease
these concerns. Discrimination is simple. Separate, similar status is not acceptable.
Thanks for your
support for same-sex marriage.
Kim Thorsen Edmonton
appreciate your hard work and dedication. I consider myself a fair and just minded
individual as well as a spiritually minded mother of two grown children. I would
like to express my support for same sex marriage, as I truly believe that equality
benefits us all in building strong foundations for a solid society. Division and
separation breeds fear and destruction. Unity and co-operation tears down walls
of fear, hatred and injustice. Canadian culture has evolved, and the time has
come for discrimination over sexual orientation to end, and full rights, benefits
and responsibilities to be given to gays and lesbians in equal marriage.
live in a free and peaceful land, where diversity is great. We are a global village
where a vast number of religious beliefs, cultures and languages are represented
as well as differing sexual orientations. Most people know more gay and lesbians
than they think, as gays and lesbians are everywhere, they are tax payers, building
communities, voting governments in and out, and overall contributing citizens
that now are demanding their dignity and rights to be upheld. Many are raising
children who are turning out to be intelligent, healthy and caring human beings,
in fact, many gay and lesbian couples that are raising children are truly modeling
the qualities of a sound family life with solid foundations that so many heterosexuals
in society unfortunately are sadly failing to give to their children in their
upbringing and overall wellbeing.
would be un-constitutional and un-Canadian for religious leaders to be told by
government and society how to conduct their worship services and who clergy are
allowed to marry, as they have the freedom to follow their faith in making those
decisions, just as gays and lesbians should have the freedom to follow their faith
and the right to be legally married where and how they choose, as heterosexual
couples do, whether they have a religious based marriage or whether they get married
in City Hall. These are basic human rights that cannot be denied any longer.
you for your time.
against gays and lesbians regarding marriage has once again been declared unconstitutional
and unjustifiable. The unanimity that exists in the legal community on this issue
is overwhelming. Two lower courts and two courts of appeal across Canada have
now asked that institutionalized discrimination against gays and lesbians be ended,
that the basic principles of democracy and human rights be applied, that gays
and lesbian be treated as full citizen and their rights as such be respected.
The opinions of these courts are in complete agreement with the recommendations
that the Human Right Commission and the Law Commission of Canada have made already
a few years ago. Several provincial Human Rights Commissions and all the organizations
of law professionals have argued in the same direction during the recent public
hearings lead by the parliamentary Justice Committee. Everyone knows that there
is not a chance that the Supreme Court of Canada would rule against the Charter
of Rights and Freedoms on this issue.
keep hearing complaints from MPs that the courts of law are stepping in too often
to decide on social policy issues that should be the prerogative of the Parliament
to shape. With all due respect, courts of law have had to do so when the Parliament
has proven incapable to act or has erred and failed to respect and protect the
rights of citizens. The Government and the Parliament were given a chance to take
prompt and responsible action to make marriage law comply with the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms. Neither have had the courage to help Canadian democracy grow
by ending the discrimination against gays and lesbians.
decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal states that discrimination has to stop
immediately and has redefined the federal definition of marriage, as being between
"two persons", with effect now. This is a clear message that an evident violation
of fundamental constitutional rights has to be corrected immediately. Fundamental
democratic rights are not opened to debate and committee hearings. The rights
of gays and lesbians have to be respected now.
Liberal Government and the Parliament have had a lot of time since the issue of
the unconstitutionality of the definition of marriage has been raised to act on
it and make Canadian laws comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the
fundamental principles of democracy on which Canada claims to be built. Instead
of acting at strengthening the Canadian democracy, the Government and the Parliament
of Canada have wasted time, money and resources in attempts to maintain the institutionalized
discrimination against gays and lesbians. It started with an unnecessary motion
on June 8, 1999, that tainted the Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act
with a discriminatory definition of marriage that has since been deemed unconstitutional
by four courts. Costly legal appeals followed, aiming at denying gays and lesbian
their basic rights to equal treatment. Last but not least, the Justice committee
held public hearings, which, sadly were used too often as a tribune to attack
the dignity of gays and lesbians, transforming it into a masquerade of a democratic
process, with the unacceptable and barely disguised complicity of some MPs. What
next? Will the Government invoke the notwithstanding clause to re-enforce the
status of second-class citizen that gays and lesbians have been enjoying? Isn't
it time for the Government and the Parliament to put an end to this string of
counterproductive and irresponsible policy? How much longer will the Government
and the Parliament protect the legacy of centuries of state and church orchestrated
homophobia that still survives in institutionalized discrimination against gays
and lesbians? How much longer will the Government and the Parliament refuse to
provide the gay and lesbian youths the safe environment to which they are entitled
and let them be submitted to the ambient homophobia still exuded by too many components
Government can still act with dignity, by fully complying with the decision of
the Ontario Court of Appeal and by leading the Parliament on the only responsible
path, which is to endorse the Ontario decision as federal law immediately. I hope
this is the decision you will make with no delay, along with dropping all the
are writing to express our support for extending equal marriage to same-sex couples.
It's the only fair thing to do.
met in 1997, fell in love and held a commitment ceremony in Fredericton in 1998.
We wanted to be make a true meaning commitment so in May of 2001 we travelled
to Vermont and were married in a Civil Union. Several of our friends have been
forced to do the same thing since we can't legally do it here. We have wills and
have been forced to pay for a "Power of Attorney" so we can legally make decisions
for the other in critical situations. Opposite-sex couples do not have to take
this costly step. It comes as a "perk" of marriage.
us, marriage is about love and commitment. We are just as loving and committed
as opposite-sex couples. We should be allowed to marry here and be recognized
by the government.
know that Parliament is now considering its options about how to treat same-sex
couples fairly. There is only one fair option - dropping the opposite-sex restriction
and letting same-sex couples get legally married.
has been talk about setting up a new institution that is similar to marriage but
called something different. That's not equality, that's segregation. If it's not
called "marriage", then it isn't marriage - it's second class status. We would
like our Vermont "Civil union" recognized here as a marriage.
prides itself on treating people with respect. If same-sex couples can marry it's
not going to stop opposite-sex couples from doing so. After the dust settles,
people will see it's no big deal. Other countries have done it, we should as well.
and let me know where you stand on this important issue.
Dickinson and Jason Curl
Justice Minister Cauchon, I urge you and the government to remove the appeal of
the Ontario ruling declaring unconstitutional the definition of marriage because
it discriminates against same sex couples, and to follow the recommendations of
the three Ontario judges.
ruling is very clear and precise about how the definition of marriage needs
to be changed to ensure that the constitutional rights of all are respected. The
ruling matches the conclusions of the Law Commission of Canada and of the Canadian
Human Rights Commission. Why continue to ignore the advice of experts? Why waste
more taxpayer money? Ongoing procrastination and bickering end up undermining
the fundamental principles of democracy that are enshrined in the Canadian Human
Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom. These rights are not
to be discussed, awarded, removed or tailored depending on what certain groups
may think or believe at a given time. The only consensus to be expected in a democracy
should be about seeing that its principles be upheld.
of the State from the institution of marriage altogether would not be an acceptable
solution. This would extend discrimination to all the people who are rejected
or being denied marriage by the religion they belong to and all the people who
by choice do not belong to any organized religion. This would make marriage a
privilege of religions, dangerously blurring the line beyond which the right to
freedom of religion is abused and the belief of some is allowed to rule the life
of all. This would create a legislative void and likely open the doors to other
countless and endless legal battles.
consequences of how this case is handled by all parts reach well beyond legal
definitions. The resulting public debate sends very strong messages to young people,
whose present and future well-being should be a major concern for all. Many of
them endure extreme emotional and sometimes physical pain at home, in the classroom,
on the street, in the arena, during religious activities because of the negative
way their sexual orientation is still perceived and portrayed by society. Too
many attempt suicide; all have scars. I am sure that they would find some hope
and comfort in a clear message form the Canadian Government reaffirming that the
Canadian Institutions will play their role in helping to end the supply of ammunitions
to their tormentors, and that they are and will be protected and equally treated
not only on paper but in the facts. I am afraid that it is not the message sent
by the decision to appeal the Ontario ruling. Once more they hear that, as homosexuals,
th! ey are not as worthy as their heterosexual peers; they hear that their rights
will be once more subjected to legal and political bargaining.
July 30, 2002
is happening to our just society? Is our Charter of Rights and Freedoms a joke
and is only valid for heterosexuals? Does the decisions made by 3 respected judges
in Ontario mean nothing if it doesn't fit the opinion of bigots?
partner of 26 years and myself are extremely disappointed with the Federal Liberal's
decision to appeal this decision. Is this about votes or what is right? These
questions along with many others are seriously shaking our support of the Federal
still trust that you will seriously consider the fair remedies that the judges
offered in their recent ruling in Ontario, as the leader of the Ontario Conservative
Party, Mr. Eves, [has agreed] to support their decision.
is the deadline for filing an appeal against the Ontario Superior Court decision
regarding same-sex marriages. To date we have heard nothing from you on this particular
Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Law Commission of Canada have both endorsed
gays and lesbians being provided full and equal access to marriage. Recent polls
conducted have indicated that Canadians are supporting the idea of same-sex couples
have the full right to marriage. The religious right have vehementy opposed any
changes in the law to end this discrimination against us. How these religious
groups can preach love and acceptance and then contradict these statements with
such hatred is a mystery to me. Many gay and lesbian couples have been in long-term
relationships and will continue to do so. All we are asking is to have the same
rights and privileges as our heterosexual counterparts. The right to chose if
we so wish to have our unions sanctified by the state.
know this is a difficult time for you and your colleagues as you struggle with
the decision facing you now. As a gay man in a long-term relationship and as a
member of the Board of Directors for Egale, Canada (Atlantic Region) I urge you
Mr. Cauchon to lead your party and our Country in to the 21st Century by granting
same-sex couples the rights that should be afforded each of us under the Charter
of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Constitution. The public opinion poll
recently conducted stated that this government can either lead public opinion
or listen to it. Well, public opinion suggests that Canadians are in favor of
gays and lesbians rights to marry. If the Government of Canada foregos the appeal
process and enacts legislation to grant gays and lesbians full access to marriage,
then they will be acting on the opinion of the public and leading public opinion
as well. Please do the right thing Mr. Cauchon. Stop this wasting of our tax dollars.
Stop denying us our Constitutional Rights. Don't appeal the Ontario Court decision.
Tabor, Atlantic Region Representative Egale, Canada
July 26, 2002
Prime Minister Chretien, Dear Justice Minister Cauchon
Candian Human Rights Act is one of the corner stones of the Canadian democracy.
Its adoption was a courageous decision and an affirmation by the Government of
Canada and the Parliament of Canada that they considered their duty to ensure
equal treatment and protection from discrimination for all people across the country.
The CHRA made de facto some older laws unconstitutional. Under such circumstances
it usually takes some time for all the intricate inconsistencies between older
laws and a new Act to come to the surface. The time has come for the marriage
law to be clearly identified as unconstitutional because it violates the CHRA
by discriminating against same sex couples. The Ontario ruling on same sex marriages
is simply a reminder that it is time to act on a modification of the marriage
law to make it conform to the CHRA.
urge you and the Government not only not to appeal the Ontario ruling, but also
to promptly engage Parliament to change the marriage law as recommended by the
Ontario Judges. Their ruling calls the Government and the Parliament upon their
duty to ensure that the CHRA is enacted and not just words on paper.
the Ontario ruling would send the message to Canadians that the protection they
should be guaranteed by the CHRA is just theoretical and that not only their own
Government does not want to stand up to reaffirm the fundamental principles stated
by the CHRA, but it wants to contest them and supports a society with second class
clearly engaging Parliament to amend the marriage law as recommended by the Ontario
ruling means that the Government gives up its duty to enact the CHRA nation wise
and is willing to leave a legislative void that will result in endless and costly
legal battles which are unnecessary since the essential issue is already settled
by the CHRA. It is the duty of the Government to take the question in its hands,
respond in a proactive way and resolve the problem with dignity.
fact that a majority of Canadians is in favour of a modification of the marriage
law to include same sex couples is reinsuring because it means Canadians value
the fundamental principles of fairness and equal treatment and protection for
all on which they want their society to be based. Even if it were a minority in
favour, it would be the duty of the Government and of the Parliament to ensure
that the CHRA be enacted. Diversity is a wealth and a challenge for Canada but
results in dissensions among Canadians about various issues. It is a challenge
for Canadians not to allow these dissensions to become the ruler of their country
but to work them out around the fundamental principles of the Canadian democracy.
It is the responsibility and the duty of the Government and the Parliament to
reaffirm and enact these fundamental principles, as I trust they will do by following
the recommendations stated in the Ontario ruling on same sex marriages.
Justice Minister Cauchon,
Canadians living in Windsor, and as one of the couples granted equal rights to
marry under the Ontario Superior Court ruling last week, we are writing to ask
that you put your full support behind the ruling, and behind not launching a costly,
ineffective appeal to the ruling.
is a precious, wondrous commodity in today's society, and we are asking, as fully
adult human beings, that we not be denied the right to choose freely the person
with whom we wish to spend the rest of our lives. We are asking that you support
us in our struggle to make our marriage as legal as it is loving.
you for your time and attention to this matter, Minister.