The case to be reviewed concerns the legality of Same-Sex Marriage, which was designed to instill and protect certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes. Introduced in July, 2003, the constitutional law was intended to encourage the distribution of legislative power, specifically the solemnization of marriage. The proposed legislation provided that marriage for civil purposes could be recognized as the lawful union between two persons while excluding all others. Furthermore, the legislation provided that nothing in the Act would consequently affect the freedom of officials of religious groups. Specifically, those individuals who refused to recognize or perform a same-sex marriage under the tenets of their religious beliefs would not be affected by the legislation. This case was extremely important for the gay and lesbian community in Canada. Prior to the introduction of this legislation, same-sex couples were excluded from both the social and economic benefits of marriage based solely upon their sexual orientation. In actuality, the resistance to same-sex marriage stemmed from a religious subtext, as the collective social attitude towards the institution of marriage is derived from religion.
[...] The legislation actually functions as an extension of the government's policy in regards to equality concerning same-sex couples. The government also stipulated that the equality rights of one group cannot, in itself, violate the rights of another. Therefore, since the proposed legislation was not in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the tenets it was meant to uphold: “Although the right to same-sex marriage conferred by the proposed legislation may potentially conflict with the right to freedom of religion if the legislation becomes law, conflicts of rights do not imply conflict with the Charter; rather, the resolution of such conflicts generally occurs within the ambit of the Charter itself by way of internal balancing and delineation. [...]
[...] A multitude of benefits, which were once reserved exclusively to heterosexual couples (such as dependant's relief, death benefits under no-fault auto insurance regimes, survivor benefits under workers' compensation and victims' compensation regimes, etc.) are now equally available to same-sex couples who satisfy the provinces' minimum cohabitation requirements where applicable, who co-parent a child)” (Equal Marriage for Same-Sex Couples, par. 23). Thus it would seem that the Canadian approach to same- sex unions has been a slowly evolving concept, one that has taken many forms and manifested itself in different ways before the Supreme Court of Canada. [...]
[...] In oral argument, counsel reiterated the government's unequivocal intention to introduce legislation in relation to same-sex marriage, regardless of the answer to Question (Same-Sex Marriage, par. 124). As such, the answer to question four, while an important threshold issue, was deemed not important enough to preclude the generation of same-sex marriage legislation. The Necessity for Equality within all Legal Institutions: Equality and legality must become synonymous in the eyes of every Canadian citizen. Although a number of the discriminatory laws and practices that were said to be in violation of the rights of gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals have been repealed, amended, or successfully challenged, members of this particular social group are still subject to marginalization within the national community. [...]
[...] In order to institutionalize a degree of universal tolerance toward the gay and lesbian community, the government needs to demonstrate a committed and consistent attitude towards same-sex marriage. Conclusion: The heterosexual community has often judged the gay and lesbian community for seemingly not being capable of maintaining an enduring, long-term relationship. Yet this supposition is made without considering the burden that the gay community must cope with on a daily basis (Wardle, 84). Living in a society that has normalized a set of values that are inherently contradictory to your own has no doubt been extremely difficult, and the legalization of same-sex marriage in Canada is akin to the final stage of Canada's gradual public acknowledgement of the gay community as equals under the law. [...]
[...] The provinces are vested with competence in respect of non-marital same-sex relationships, just as they are vested with competence in respect of non-marital opposite-sex relationships (via the power in respect of property and civil rights under s. 92(13)). For instance, the province of Quebec has established a civil union regime as a means for individuals in committed conjugal relationships to assume a host of rights and responsibilities: see the Act instituting civil unions and establishing new rules of filiation, S.Q c Marriage and civil unions are two distinct ways in which couples can express their commitment and structure their legal obligations. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee