This new monthly column features news and issues affecting gays and lesbians in Canada and around the world. Look for it on the second week of each month, only in The Voice.
Update on Gay Marriage Rights Around the World
In Canada, same-sex marriage is spreading like wildfire. One territory, the Yukon, and six provinces perform these marriages. Toronto and Vancouver are hot spots for tourism, especially from the United States. Couples are flocking to Canada to get married because, although it is legal in the Netherlands and Belgium, all of Canada’s provinces and territories have no residency requirements, unlike the Netherlands and Belgium. Residency is only required for divorce in Canada.
Ashley MacIssac, the Cape Breton fiddler, says he plans to hold Canada’s “largest gay wedding” in Alberta if he can find someone to marry. Previously the re-elected Alberta government under Premier Ralph Klein passed bill 202, which amended the provincial Marriage Act to include an opposite sex only definition of marriage.
MacIssac hasn’t found anyone to marry yet, so his plans are on hold. He is trying to find a TV company to produce Who Wants to Marry Ashley MacIsaac as a reality TV show. The outspoken fiddler has had previous drug issues.
Because of the rights granted in Canada, a couple married in Vancouver is suing the Irish Exchequer (Minister of Finance) for their marriage to be recognized for the purposes of tax benefits. The Irish Constitution, however, says that the state must protect marriage. The document does not define it. The High Court (second highest in Ireland) has granted leave for the couple to sue.
The Prime Minister of Ireland and the Archbishop of Ireland believe same-sex couples should be granted rights, but in what form would need to be decided. An all party committee of lawmakers this month also launched public hearings into possible reforms to family law in Ireland, a predominantly Roman Catholic country where homosexuality was outlawed until 1993.
During the US Presidental election, 11 states voted to amend their constitutions to define marriage as between “One man and one woman.” However, in Oregon, a Republican lawmaker is leading the way to have legislation passed to allow gays and lesbians to have rights through Vermont style civil unions. The lawmaker is expected to have an uphill battle.
Queen Elizabeth II has signed a comprehensive civil partnership bill that is expected to come into law fall of 2005. The bill grants gay and lesbian couples the same rights as heterosexual married couples. The delay in its enactment is to give financial institutions and other agencies time to update their systems to comply with the new law.
On the web:
The Washington Post is distributing an “anti-gay” magazine. It was bought by religious groups and claims that gays die at the age of 41. They say that it isn’t hateful, but opponents of the ad say it is “intellectually dishonest” and that the Post is trivializing their concerns.
With the new movie Alexander out in theatres, everyone expects a nice, wholesome movie. Well a team of Greek lawyers is suing the makers of the film because they portray the hero as Bisexual, and claim it is false. There are new questions now as to weather or not the leader was in realty, gay.
Quote of the Month
“I guess I’ll stay because it’s too cold in Canada, because Australia is just as bad as the U.S. these days, and because I haven’t gone and checked out Argentina yet. Also, because in the end, we will win, once all 29 million of us come out to the people around us. Is there anybody you’re not out to yet?”
– Rex Wockner when asked if he was going to move to Canada.