Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Canada, US and UK: Same-Sex Marriage

The three close allies Canada, the United States and, the United Kingdom are all debating the issue of same-sex marriage. Canada has same-sex marriage, the UK has civil unions and, the United States federally has neither. The debate for or against has been flaring in all three countries in the past week.

Canada became the fourth country in the world to have same-sex marriage last year after federal legislation was passed although, many provincial courts had ruled that a ban was unconstitutional under the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms. The main opposition came from the Conservatives and their traditional values base. Although, many religious groups in Canada came out against the legislation some such as the Unitarian Church supported them. Now that the Conservatives hold the government Prime Minister Harper has said he will hold a vote later this year about reopening the debate, despite even some Conservative Members of Parliament coming out against it.

In the United States however, President Bush has promised to go one farther. Bush will be introducing legislation to put a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Currently the Federal Constitution does not address same-sex marriage, but individual states have different laws. Some states have bans on same-sex marriage, others don't address the issue, some provide same-sex benefits, a couple have same-sex unions and, Massachusetts has same-sex marriage.

The United Kingdom has civil partners federally, but the move towards same-sex marriage is being pushed in the courts due to Canada. Canada unlike other countries does not have a residency requirement for same-sex marriage. Some couples have come from other countries such as the United Kingdom in order to get married in Canada then to go back home. One couple Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson who were married in Vancouver three years ago have taken the issue to court in order to get their marriage recognized. Both are university professors who are pressing the issue in order for that word marriage as British civil partnerships give the same rights to same-sex couples as marriage does, but with another name.

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Blogger sappho said...

Great post, with alot of good information about gay-marriage in Canada & the UK!
Thank you for this. I have been thinking alot about this issue, & was going to ask you about Canada's views/laws...you beat me to the punch!!

5:05 p.m.  
Blogger sappho said...

I also wanted to ask you what you & your fellow Canadians feel about your healthcare. When I bitch about the US's healtcare system, I get slapped with a "Your lucky, in Canada you have to wait years to get...."

8:45 p.m.  
Blogger Mark Dowling said...

there is also a BC marriage recognition case in the Irish courts at the moment.

11:24 p.m.  
Blogger Jade said...

Yeah mostly in Canada even a lot of people who oppose same-sex marriage just want it over with. The issue was drawn out and the new government is unfortunately drawing it out again.

Also, many of us are very proud of healthcare. Tommy Douglas the man who brought health care to Canada was voted the Greatest Canadian last year. However, the system is slowly being eaten away at. Staff and equipment are being cut and, services are being delisted though provinces do vary because, health is under provincial juristiction. Its moving slowly towards privatization, but to run on that platform would be political suicide still.

Oh and Mark thanks for adding that. I had heard about that and also a case with Israel I believe due to the lack of residency requirements.

12:38 a.m.  

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