LGBT Legal Groups: “No Reason to Suggest That Canadian Marriages ... Are in Jeopardy”

Author: Chris Geidner
Publication: Metro Weekly
Publication Date: January 12th, 2012

Click here to read the article at Metro Weekly 

Responding to a report today inThe Globe and Mail that "a [Canadian] Department of Justice lawyer says [a same-sex couple's] marriage is not legal in Canada since they could not have lawfully wed in Florida or England, where the two partners reside," concern quickly spreadthat Americans who married in Canada and have returned to the United States could have the validity of their marriages challenged. Several LGBT legal organizations issued a statement this afternoon, however, assuring people that "No one's marriage has been invalidated or is likely to be invalidated."

The groups added: "There is no reason to suggest that Canadian marriages of same-sex couples are in jeopardy ...."

The statement -- issued by Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, and Freedom to Marry -- notes:


The position taken by one government lawyer in a divorce is not itself precedential. No court has accepted this view and there is no reason to believe that either Canada’s courts or its Parliament would agree with this position, which no one has asserted before during the eight years that same-sex couples have had the freedom to marry in Canada.

[UPDATE FRIDAY @ 2PThe Globe and Mail reports:

All same sex marriages performed in Canada are legal and the law will be changed to ensure that divorce is readily available to non-residents who were married in the country, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says. ...

The situation has been “completely unfair to those affected.” Mr. Nicholson said. “I want to make it clear that in our government's view, these marriages are valid.”

The announcement appears to clear up a continuing source of controversy that erupted Thursday when The Globe and Mail reported a divorce case in Toronto where the Justice Department took the position that a same-sex marriage involving non-residents is not legal unless their home country recognizes it as such.]