Same sex marriage is also known as Gay marriage. The terms gay marriage and same sex marriage represents socially or legally recognized marriage between two people who are of same gender. The Netherlands was the first country to recognize same sex marriage in 2001. Legal identity has been given to same sex marriage in Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway and Sweden. These are the only countries where same sex marriage is given importance same as the opposite sex marriage. Canada is the fourth country to legalize same sex marriage with the endorsement of Civil Marriage Act on July 20, 2005.
Prime Minister Paul Martin’s Liberal government has introduced Civil Marriage Act on February 1, 2005. Canada has witnessed a mile stone with the rulings in Ontario, Quebec and B. C; it has legalized lesbian women and gay men to marry1. (Same-Sex Marriage). Same sex marriage was legalized in the provinces on different dates such as in Ontario, British Columbia, it was recognized in 2003. In Quebec, Yukon Territory, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, same sex marriage was legalized in 2004.
New Brunswick, Alberta, Prince Edward Island, Nunavut territory and the Northwestern territories were recognized in 2005. The legality of the gay marriages was authoritatively established in the given years. The definition of marriage is very important in the Federal Government and many of the priests and people opposed to change the meaning of marriage. But, with the introduction of bill C-38-Civil Marriage Act, the legal definition of marriage in the Act has been amended as “marriage, for civil purposes, is the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others”.
This Act extends legal benefits to the couples of same sex marriage and it gives equal treatment to those couples under cooperative laws and Canada’s business cooperation in regard to income tax, divorce, veteran’s benefit etc. The main purpose of the Civil Marriage Act is to recognize same sex marriage as it was mentioned in section 15 of the Charter of Rights and freedom that marriage can be performed without any discrimination based on sexuality. There should be equal access to same sex marriage couples as given to opposite sex couples. The equality rights of the couples should be respected.
The important point is that the Civil Marriage Act has been given freedom of Religion. The priests or the officials of religious groups can refuse to perform gay marriages in respect to their religious views. Same sex marriage in Canada has a long history and they are facing many problems since 1965. In 1965, a person named Everett klippert was labeled a dangerous sexual offender because he had sex with other men. He was sentenced to long prison terms and there arise a public debate in Canada about this issue and legality of homo sexuality.
In 1969, the Federal Government made reforms to Canada’s criminal law and gave importance to individual freedom in the perspective of sexuality. In contrast, today lesbian and gay communities enjoy protection and legal benefits. The legal status of homo-sexual has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. Homosexuality has been decriminalized and discrimination has been forbidden in the areas such as employment, military service, income tax, pension and immigration. Contradicting same-sex couples the right to get married is denying them the right to equivalent protection of laws2. (Mark Strasser)
The Canadian decision of giving equal importance to the same sex marriage is important in two contexts. Canada is direct neighbor of United States and the Gay Americans can easily get married in Canada. This is easy because Canada do not have a residency requirement for marriage. This kind of marriage is recognized in Canada but it is not recognized when these couples enter in to America. At present, it is unlikely in most of the states. Canada has also accepted foreign gay marriages. The Canadian citizen can perform same sex marriage outside Canada and then sponsor the spouse for immigration to Canada3. Kevin Bourassa). This was introduced by the Conservative Government on January 24th. This is important victory towards the equality of lesbian and gay Canadians. Lesbian and gay couples legally married outside Canada are now recognized in to family class, spousal immigration sponsorship applications. This is happy news for those who support the lesbian and gay marriages and who fight for their equality among all issues. Canada has now emerged as a world wide leader for the movement of equal marriage as thousands of foreigners are coming to Canada to get married.
There are people who support and oppose the view on same sex marriages. There are many pros and cons on the lesbian and gay marriages. Marriage is a fundamental human right and not a religious issue4. (Gay Marriage). One of the advantages of the same sex marriage is that it bolsters the economy. The state can boost their tourist by legalizing same sex marriage. It has a civilizing influence on the country. Canada is the multi-religious, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society. To become a fully accepted society, description and oppression against lesbians and gays should be abolished.
Same sex marriage increases the quality of life. If the gay, lesbian couples are legally married, they would get financial benefits including joint insurance policies, file joint tax returns, pension plans, social security, medicare etc. Same sex marriage can decrease the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. Though there are many advantages, we can see disadvantages also. The disadvantages are-Lesbians and gays make poor parents. Children need to rise by their biological parents; in same sex marriage at least one parent is genetically unrelated to child.
The children would be exposed to homophobia and are subjected to hate by the society and other children. Some people opine that legalizing same sex marriage is the biggest mistake in its history. Because to discuss the same sex marriage, it is considered to be bad taste by our elites. This issue is not truly about homosexuality and it has nothing to do with homosexual people living together. The opponents of same sex marriage have religious and ethical objections. The deconstruction of marriage began with the heterosexual world rejecting it, not with the gay community asking the right to marry.
Not only in Canada, but in the world, we are persistently legitimizing families where there is no male and female parent or role model. Children do not have real understanding of family life. Unbalanced families are created where children do not understand and enjoy difference between mother and father, man and woman. This is dangerous social engineering. The new legal status for lesbians and gays has been a controversial issue in Canada in both parliament and public. But it has been accepted by many people, in many cultures and a normal part of life.