Canada Government Nullifies Thousands of Gay Marriages
By Brittny Drye
Thousands of happily married LGBT couples around the world were devastated yesterday to learn that, in fact, they were not married.
A Department of Justice lawyer under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party of Canada government has nullified all same-sex marriages performed in Canada in which the couples’ native country does not permit gays and lesbians to marry.
The federal policy reversal was prompted by a lesbian couple who were seeking divorce. The two wed in Toronto in 2005 when they could not do so in their homes of Florida or England. The couple was told that they cannot divorce because they were never legally married. “It is scandalous,” says Martha McCarthy, the Toronto lawyer who represents the couple. “It is offensive to their dignity and human rights to suggest they weren’t married or that they have something that is a nullity.”
“It is appalling and outrageous that two levels of government would be taking this position without ever having raised it before, telling anybody it was an issue or doing anything pro-active about it,” she continues. “All the while, they were handing out licences to perform marriages across the country to non-resident people.”
Dan Savage, an American author and journalist, who wed his husband in Toronto in 2005, writes, “There will be lawsuits, time and money will be wasted, oceans of ink and pixels will be spilled, before this issue—the full civil equality of gays and lesbians—winds up before the Supreme Court of Canada. I’m confident that justice will prevail—God bless the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms—but the decision to reopen this issue is going to be one massive distraction for the Canadian government. Gays and lesbians inside and outside of Canada are going to make sure of it. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go wake up my husband and tell him we got divorced last night.”