Saturday, January 14, 2012

Canada--with no legal obligation to do so--will recognize "marriages" of sodomites and lesbians from nations where such unions aren't recognized

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:26-32

As reported by Thandi Fletcher of Postmedia News, January 13, 2012:

OTTAWA — The Conservative government plans to change the law to legally recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who came to Canada to wed, even if the laws of their home country do not, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Friday.

"I want to make it very clear that, in our government's view, these marriages should be valid," Nicholson said in Toronto. "We will change the Civil Marriage Act so that any marriages performed in Canada that aren't recognized in the couple's home jurisdiction will be recognized in Canada."

The legislative change will apply to all marriages performed in Canada regardless of the laws of the jurisdiction in which the couple lives, Nicholson said.

The minister was speaking in the wake of an international controversy sparked by a Toronto court case involving a foreign lesbian couple seeking a divorce in Canada.

The couple wed in Toronto in 2005. Under a court order, they cannot be named.

In response to their application, a federal lawyer for the Justice Department contended the couple cannot divorce in Canada under this country's laws, arguing that the two never really were married.

The lawyer put forth two interpretations of the law to support his argument.

The first, he said, is that a same-sex couple's marriage is only valid under this country's laws if gay marriage is also recognized in their home country or state — in this case, Florida and England.

The second argument was that Canada's Divorce Act states that all married couples, regardless of sexual orientation, must live in Canada for at least one year in order to divorce in this country, which was not the case for this non-Canadian couple.

On Friday, the Conservative government backtracked from the position put forth by the federal lawyer.

Nicholson did not say whether the government will look at amending the residency requirement of the Divorce Act, that a couple must live in the country for at least one year in order to dissolve their marriage.

A senior government official told Postmedia News on Friday that the government will not be looking at changes to the Divorce Act, as amending that legislation could have complicated outcomes.

"That opens up a whole bunch of problems," the official said. "(It could) make Canada kind of the divorce location of choice and that would put burdens on the courts here."

Instead, the official said the government is exploring other options of dissolving marriages for same-sex couples who do not live in Canada, a concept that Nicholson has echoed.

"I will be looking at options to clarify the law so that marriages performed in Canada can be undone in Canada," Nicholson said in a statement on Thursday...

...On Friday, Nicholson repeated what he and Harper said Thursday: that the issue of same-sex marriage is not on the Conservative government's agenda.

"We have been clear that we have no desire to reopen this issue" be said. "Both myself and the prime minister consider the debate to be closed," Nicholson said.

However, Postmedia News columnist Andrew Coyne argued, in his January 13, 2012 column, that the government is under no obligation to recognize the "marriages" of sodomites and lesbians from nations where such unions wouldn't be recognized:

This week’s media meltdown over same-sex marriage for foreign tourists was one of the more disgraceful episodes in the long history of phoney controversies in this country: a toxic mix of shrewd lawyering, shoddy reporting and partisan opportunism, all without the slightest reference to the relevant, and easily obtainable, facts.

The debacle began with a front-page screamer in Thursday morning’s Globe and Mail. In a “reversal of policy,” it reported, the Harper government had indicated it would not recognize as lawful thousands of marriages solemnized in Canada between visiting gay and lesbian couples since the practice was formally legalized here in 2005. The story suggested the government’s “hard line” had “cast sudden doubt” on the legal status not only of these couples, most of whom stayed just long enough to pick up their licences, but of gay couples living in Canada as well.

The government’s “about-face” was “revealed” in legal papers filed in the case of a lesbian couple who, having married in Canada, now wished to divorce here, and for the same reason: as they could not legally marry in either of the jurisdictions where they happened to live, Florida or England, neither could they divorce there. Of course, by the same token divorce would hardly seem necessary. But, well, it was important to them emotionally.

Imagine their shock to be told they could not divorce in Canada, either. Not only did they not meet the one-year residency condition required of all divorcing couples, gay or straight, but there was, according to the government’s filing, no marriage to dissolve: as their marriage was not legal in the jurisdictions in which they lived, neither was it legal here. The couple’s lawyer, Martha McCarthy, professed to find this position “astonishing,” not to say scandalous, offensive, appalling, outrageous and whatever other adjectives she could get her hands on...

...You would never know from any of this that in fact there had been no change in policy: that the position advanced by the government lawyer was not new, but merely a statement of settled law. You would never know because neither the Globe nor anyone in the frothing mob it aroused bothered to ask a lawyer — other than the one contesting the case. Had they done so, they would have been told some version of the following:

Normally marriage law is relatively straightforward. Each country defines marriage for itself, and within its borders its citizens are bound by that definition. Where citizens of one country marry in another, however, responsibility is divided between the two, according to the set of common-law rules known as “conflict of laws.”

The “formal validity” of the marriage — that is, whether the vows were exchanged in the appropriate manner— is determined by the laws of the place where the marriage was performed. But the “essential validity” — that is, whether the couple were eligible to get married at all — is determined by the laws of each partner’s “ante-nuptial domicile,” the place they lived before they were married.

There’s no actual controversy on this point. It’s supported by reams of precedent. It’s not some invention of this government, or of Canada for that matter, but is part of the fabric of international law. Nor is it surprising: I’m basing this article in part on a piece by Jeffrey Talpis, professor of law at the University of Montreal, in the Lawyer’s Weekly of Sept. 22, 2006. It’s hard not to sympathize with those who were told when they came to Canada they were legally married. But the fault lies with those who misstated the law then, not those who correctly interpret it now.

Indeed, the surest proof that the government lawyer was right on this point is that you are reading about it. McCarthy knows the law as well as anyone. If she were confident of her position, she’d simply have won the argument in court. Instead, she took her case to the court of politics, with spectacular results: by the end of the day, the government was promising to change the law to permit all non-resident gay couples to divorce, followed by Friday’s “declaration” that the marriages were also legal, whatever the laws in their home countries might say.

As with my previous post on the Harper government's invitation to foreign sodomites and lesbians to apply for admission to Canada Trudeaupia as refugees, here's more evidence that "Conservatives" are just conserving what Liberals have done before them.

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