Skip to comments.Supreme Court okays same-sex marriage; religious freedom protected
Posted on 12/09/2004 8:14:07 AM PST by Tumbleweed_Connection
Canada's top court says Ottawa has the authority to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, but religious officials cannot be forced to perform unions against their beliefs.
The Supreme Court of Canada refused to say whether the traditional definition of marriage - between one man and one woman - violates equality rights.
It noted the federal government has already accepted lower-court judgments that excluding gays from marrying is discriminatory.
"The government has clearly accepted the ruling of lower courts on this question and has adopted their position as its own.
"The parties to previous litigation have now relied upon the finality of the judgments they obtained through the court process."
The court says times have changed and the legal definition of marriage should change with them.
"Several centuries ago, it would have been understood that marriage be available only to opposite-sex couples.
"The recognition of same-sex marriage in several Canadian jurisdictions as well as two European countries belies the assertion that the same is true today."
Still, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms clearly protects religious freedom, says the court.
The court's landmark advisory opinion signals the final stage of a long, bitter fight over whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry.
Justice Minister Irwin Cotler predicted Wednesday that the court would give the Liberals a green light to move ahead with a bill to legalize same-sex unions as early as this month.
Same-sex marriage could become legal across the country next year if the minority Liberals win enough support in the divided House of Commons.
It's expected a vote on legalizing gay weddings would narrowly pass even without the support of several Liberals and the Conservatives.
Judges in six provinces and one territory have already struck down the traditional marriage definition, saying it violates equality rights. Thousands of same-sex couples have already tied the knot.
Should the legislation pass, Canada would join Belgium and the Netherlands in allowing gays to wed.
The high court opinion on same-sex unions is strictly advisory.
Still, its political aftershocks will reverberate among pro-and anti-gay marriage factions across Canada.
The high court reference comes 18 months after former prime minister Jean Chretien abandoned his government's fight against same-sex marriage by refusing to appeal provincial court rulings in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec that declared traditional marriage laws unconstitutional.
His government then drafted legislation that would allow gay and lesbian weddings in city halls, courthouses and in religious institutions that choose to perform them.
To ensure the bill is legally bullet-proof, the Liberal government asked the high court three questions:
-Does the federal government have exclusive authority to define marriage? The question was a pre-emptive strike at any provincial attempt to thwart the new law. Alberta Premier Ralph Klein has said he would use the Constitution's notwithstanding clause to cancel the legislation in his province.
-Does the charter protect religious groups from having to perform gay weddings against their beliefs?
-Is the proposed same-sex marriage law constitutional?
Prime Minister Paul Martin expanded the reference after he was sworn in last December, adding a fourth question: Is the traditional definition of marriage - between one man and one woman - also constitutional? This was aimed at clarifying once and for all whether the century-old definition of marriage is flawed.
The federal Conservatives and several Liberal MPs are expected to wage a bitter final battle to preserve marriage for heterosexuals.
For a minute I got concerned, then I saw it was in Canada. As if anyone gives a sh*t what happens up there.
Religious freedom is not protected, since the government, rather than merely allowing, is promoting homosexual activity through civil same sex marriage, despite the religious and moral beliefs of many.
Had me scared there with that headline. Thought it was US.
thought it was US - phew.
Looks to me like the Canadian supreme court punted this back to parliament to decide.
Nothing would surprise me anymore with our Supreme's Not even that!. God help us! Maybe now all the gays who want to get married can join the dems who are still upset with the re-election of Bush and move to Canada. With the guys who don't want to go to Iraq as well. One big happy country!
Don't worry, they will start work on the US directly! You have a lot more gays than we do...although they will probably all be swarming up here now twittering away, wedding rings at the port...BLAH!!
Disgusting, absolutely disgusting.
This country will now be like a magnet to homosexuals. With them comes their diseases but no problem, we have socialized medicine so we can all pay to aid and abet this sordid lifestyle CHOICE.
I so wish I had gotten out years ago.
For now! We know how libs work, even in Kanada. They attempt to play both sides of an issue, no matter how transparent.
Give it another year, 2 maybe and religious officials (which means Christians) will then be forced to perform unions or else..............
this is actually a GREAT thing. thing of it, a mass exodus of people moving to Canada so they can marry their "partners"!
You mean it's optional in Canada? Cool. Let's do that here. Adopting the position of the court is optional. LOL! Works for me. Um...no thanks. Hey, wouldn't that get Roy Moore off the hook?
"Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people."
But Americans better wake up, especially Republicans.
The President's cave-in on so-called 'civil unions' in the closing days of the campaign signals surrender on the part of our leadership.
'Civil union' IS 'gay marriage' by another name.
Everyone better get that through their heads, right now.
More important is the fact that the federal marriage amendment would have BANNED courts of any stripe from legalizing civil unions, gay marriage, or whatever other name they want to call the same thing. The courts would be out of the legislating business on this issue, INCLUDING CIVIL UNIONS.
Yes, Bush and others are suckers for buying the idea that civil unions are different than marriage. But we must remember that's not the point. The point is to remove the courts from the business of deciding this issue for all. If we lose in the legislatures then we just lose. That's the right way to play this. We need STATE amendments to ban all of the above precisely because we have no federal amendment restricting the power of the courts. As long as the judges can legislate, we need to ban the whole array of word options.
Show them a good time, and maybe they'll stay!
It matters because Immigration issues will impact the USA. Right now USA citizens are suing the USA government for a spousal visa for their homosexual sex partners. There are also homosexual "couples" married in Canada suing to have the marriages recognized in the USA.
These are efforts to overturn the 1996 DMA.
Canada is also the only country with which the USA has a "presumed legal in the USA" agreement. (it is reciprocal) In theory the Canadian government could force recognition of homosexual marriage under that presumption.
It is a mess. It is also worth noting that the MSM will cover this with far more zeal than the 11 states who passed DOMA amendments in order to show a faux trend.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.