Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bosom friends Anne Shirley and Diana Barry free to wed

With a few quick strokes of the pen today, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson will sign Bill C-38 into law. Gay and lesbian couples in Prince Edward Island, Alberta, Nunuvut and Northwest Territories will be able to join their brethren in the rest of the country in being able to wed as federal legislation on civil marriage goes into effect.

It's been a long and bumpy road, but I'm glad we've made it. In some respects, it happened faster than I thought it would, in other respects, much slower. My husband and I got engaged in the winter of 2002 and had our wedding ceremony in May 2003. Little did we know, during the year of wedding preparations, agonizing over invitation lists, planning the wording of our vows, selecting our officiants, and folding the 1000 paper cranes that would decorate the room, that the Ontario courts would legalize gay marriage only a month after our ceremony. There was no way to predict that. We were ready to get married, and didn't think that the law was likely to change any time soon.

A month later, the decisions in Ontario and British Columbia came down. We knew that we were going to get the legal documentation for our marriage, but since the Chretien government indicated that it wasn't going to appeal the decision, we thought we would wait until the government had passed legislation to cover same sex marriage from coast to coast - we didn't want to have to have to jump through the legal hoops more times than necessary. We could wait another several months for a majority government with little else on its plate to do the necessary.

As of June 2004, the Martin government had amended the Supreme Court reference on gay marriage - compounding the cowardice of the Chretien government which should have simply passed the legislation itself - pushing any chance of a decision to the fall. Then his numbers started to plummet, and it looked like a Conservative government was a real possibility. My husband and I decided, in the midst of an election campaign, that we were not going to miss out on having a legal gay marriage, even if it were overturned by a Harper government. We got legally married on June 24, in the heat of the election campaign.

A minority victory brought a sigh of relief from us, since we knew that at least the court decisions would be safe, even if federal legislation was still hanging in doubt. It would be another year before Bill C-38 made it through the House of Commons. It was that two year process from the Ontario court ruling to June 28th, 2005 which surprised me. It could have moved forward so much more decisively. But hey, I'll take it. Hopefully Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain are just the start.

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At 1:30 pm, Blogger Canadian Perasma said...

Who's going to bring the cordial?

At 2:12 pm, Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Well, once pen hits paper I'm pretty sure this is a done deal forever! Harper can spout off all he likes about repealing the legislation, but that'll never happen (even if it did of course, that alone wouldn't make your marriage any less legal, but regardless, even repealing the legislation will NEVER happen now, the demographics of the country point to INCREASED support for equal marrige going forward, not decreased!).

Congratulations on getting past the last hurdle toward making your marriage ABSOLUTLEY and COMPLETELY legally recognized from Coast to Coast! I can't wait to see a picture of the GG with a pen in her hand (I hope there'll be a picture!)

At 2:35 pm, Blogger Rick Barnes said...

Yahoo! I am happy today! I also did the story but from a different angle today,"Condoms set us free."

A long road and now we can go on! Thanks for telling us about Anne and Diana!

At 10:26 am, Anonymous JBG said...

Shamefully, our provincial government is in no hurry to recognize equality rights.

PEI not ready for SSM


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