July 8, 2003
marriage arrives in B.C.!
any further delay in implementing the remedies will result in an unequal application
of the law as between Ontario and British Columbia, with same-sex couples being
denied the right to marry in British Columbia until July 12, 2004 while same-sex
couples in Ontario may marry as and when they choose to do so."
this has been a long and difficult journey. We will cherish this day as long as
Today, British Columbia became Canada's second province to end marriage discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. Of the three provinces where marriage cases were heard in Canada, B.C. was last to deliver a court victory for same-sex couples.
"We believe in the public commitment and support of relationships, the richness of the public-private nature of that act of community and the personal belief in the equality of all Canadians," Anthony Porcino and Tom Graff said in a statement published by The Globe and Mail, July 8, 2003
Ontario upped the ante on June 10 when the Court of Appeal for Ontario rewrote the common-law definition of marriage, effective immediately, for all of Canada. Although the Ontario court order for compliance applied only to Canada's most populous province, the Canadian Justice Minister said, "It would be a good thing if the provinces went ahead to recognize same-sex unions based on the Ontario court decision, but that's up to the provinces (Montreal Gazette, June 21, 2003).
On June 30th, the B.C. Attorney General's office announced that it would end its fight against same-sex marriage. With the evaporation of federal and provincial opposition, lawyers representing couples in B.C. filed a court request to have their suspended remedy changed to one of immediate effect. As Justice MacPherson said in the Ontario case, "When you win, you win."
The laughable, ineffectual move further highlighted the group's tenuous hold on reality, and underscored their hypocrisy.
"Re-defining marriage to include same-sex couples is a matter for Canadians and their elected leaders - and not the courts - to decide," said Focus on the Family on May 1, in response to a court victory in B.C.
The governing Liberal party agreed in spirit, if not intent. With government support now on the side of same-sex marriage, the homophobes are running back to the very same courts that they have so often criticized and maligned for upholding Canadian Charter values.
Today's action in British Columbia is a victory, not only for gays and lesbians, but for all Canadians who believe in equality and human rights. Attention should now turn to Quebec, where a delayed court remedy is still in effect, and to the rest of Canada, where provinces no longer have any excuse to maintain marriage discrimination. The mighty river of justice keeps on flowing and will eventually cleanse this country from coast-to-coast-to-coast, and beyond our borders where there is much work left to be done.
Congratulations to the people of B. C. who have joined a civilized new world order. We hope equal marriage advocates in that province will not rest, however, until all of Canada enjoys the freedom now found in Ontario and B.C.