Yesterday I watched with bewilderment as the Leftwing politicians, lobbyists and media assailed the Harper Government over the difficulty a foreign gay couple is having obtaining a divorce.
Perhaps the most egregious of these attacks was the one by Paul Martin, accusing the governent of ‘tampering’ with same-sex marriage.
This is a complex legal problem that seems to have developed on his watch so it really is rich for him to be castigating Stephen Harper for this one.
The National Post has an excellent article showing some of the inherent issues that need to be addressed – Same-sex union issue ‘closed’:
The federal lawyer’s argument against granting the couple a divorce may “seem crazy,” but it does have at least some foundation in an arcane, technical branch of the law meant to reconcile different jurisdiction’s regulations, experts said.
The residency requirements for getting divorced here are a quagmire that was just waiting to suck someone in, they argue.
“It’s a legal mess,” commented Brenda Cossman, a family law professor at the University of Toronto. “There have been a couple of us who have been saying for a time, ‘This train is coming down the track and there are some bodies tied to the tracks.’ And now here it is.”
And to any gay couples planning to use Canada as a Marriage Tourism destination, please do your homework first. It may be easier (and less expensive) to get married in Canada than it is to get divorced.
Straight couples learned that a long time ago.
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Some common sense here from the Calgary Herald – Divorced from reality:
For its part, the Globe over-played the front-page story, including a bold and splashy headline: “The same-sex marriage trap.”
How is it a trap? Same-sex couples coming to Canada to get married presumably already know their marriages won’t be valid in the jurisdiction where they live. Why else come to Canada to get married, legally but symbolically, as it should go without saying that those legal rights do not travel with them.
The marriage is legal in Canada and would have been viewed as such, and divorce would have been allowed, had the couple stayed here, but they did not. They moved to jurisdictions that don’t accept Canada’s marriage law. Canada can’t force its rules on other jurisdictions, nor should it, for those other jurisdictions might want to force their rules upon Canada…
Tonda MacCharles deserves credit for this very fair and objective column – Conservatives suggest divorce law could be revised to help same-sex couples.
More Noteworthy Links (that should have been in a new post but I’m too tired):
Before long she was joined by a swelling chorus of indignation: on the Globe’s website, on Twitter, and from the ranks of the opposition, all of whom agreed the government was engaged in some sort of skullduggery. At best, it was attempting to export its social conservatism to other countries. At worst, it was allowing their social conservatism to dictate the law here.
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.”
Minsky’s musings: Some facts under the story – Global News:
There was no policy reversal and no law change. There wasn’t even a proposal to change the law.
But why let facts get in the way of a good smear, right Lefties? (You know who you are, you scum.)