Gays who wed in Canada 'not married'

2012-01-13 10:11
Ottawa - Thousands of foreign gay couples who wed in Canada are not legally married, a government lawyer argued in a case involving two lesbians seeking a divorce, according to court documents obtained on Thursday.

The two women, one from Florida and the other from Britain, both in their early thirties, wed in Toronto in 2005.

But Department of Justice lawyer Sean Gaudet said in a documented response to their application that they cannot be granted a divorce because they were not married in the first place.

"Neither party had the legal capacity to marry a person of the same sex under the laws of their respective domicile - Florida and the United Kingdom," he said. "As a result, their marriage is not legally valid under Canadian law."

Also, he said, married couples are required to live in Canada for at least one year to qualify for a divorce.

The case, which is to be decided next month by an Ontario Superior Court judge, could affect more than 5 000 couples from the United States and other countries who in the past six years have flocked to Canada to marry.

A 2004 court ruling effectively legalised same-sex marriage in Canada on the basis that denying gay couples the right to marry was discriminatory. A year later Ottawa passed a bill enshrining it in law.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's party in its first year in office in 2006 proposed a ban on gay nuptials but the resolution to "restore the traditional definition of marriage" was rejected by lawmakers.

Harper said on Thursday that his administration would not revisit gay marriage laws. "We have no intention of further reopening this issue," he said.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson added later that he would look at "options to clarify the law so that such marriages performed in Canada can be undone in Canada".

Read more on:    canada  |  gay rights

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.