Thousands of Americans have gone to Canada over the past few years to get married. As of today, their marriages are nullified, thanks to conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s new policy.
Dan Savage is one of the people whose marriage was unceremoniously dissolved last night.
I know there are a million other shitty things happening in the world, many with more gravity than this, but this is the thing that really deflated me today.
No. This is not what happened. There is no new policy. No one’s marriages have been dissolved. The Department of Justice is intervening in an Ontario same-sex divorce case, and they’ve put forward the argument that the marriage is not valid because they are citizens of a country that does not have same-sex marriage as legal. It’s a stupid legal argument to make, and yes it is alarming that a government department would even bring it up, but no one’s marriages have been dissolved.
Re: Dan Savage, he was interviewed by the Globe & Mail today:
Mr. Savage noted that Prime Minister Stephen Harper appeared surprised when he was questioned about the legal opinion. Mr. Harper said he did not intend to reopen the issue.
“Hopefully this is just one rogue lawyer or two and not policy of Canada’s Conservative government. If it is Canada’s Conservative government then the issue has definitely been re-opened,” Mr. Savage said.
So to summarize:
- Stephen Harper is an idiot, and he probably did know that his government would advance this argument
- BUT, this argument is a submission to a court. It’s a flawed argument, and the judge won’t accept it.
The case in question involves two Americans who are trying to mount a constitutional challenge against Ontario’s residency laws for divorce following the breakdown of their same-sex marriage. In Ontario, you need to have resided in the province for 1 year in order to get divorced. The federal government intervened and submitted the argument that their marriage was never valid, because of what I said before.
It’s awful, horrible, and should not be happening, but everyone’s marriages are still valid.
The blog that stfuconservatives linked to is hyperbolic and flat-out wrong.
So the argument might not work in the case at all.