Canadian PM correcting divorce law to allow recognition of all marriages

The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is moving quickly to change Canadian divorce law in order to allow recognition of all same-sex marriages. The action is in response to a Justice Department attorney in Toronto interfering in the divorce of an American couple that was married in Canada.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

This contrasts sharply with the action of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott who intervened in divorce cases in Dallas and Austin.

In the Dallas case, a couple that lived and married in Massachusetts moved to Dallas and then tried to divorce. Abbott intervened saying that the divorce could not be granted because the marriage wasn’t valid.

In the Canadian case, the attorney argued that the divorce could not be granted because Canadian divorce law requires residency.

The Harper government threatened to invalidate all same-sex marriages of couples that lived where same-sex marriage wasn’t recognized.

What Harper and Abbott have in common is a disdain for same-sex marriage. Both interfered in simple divorce proceedings. What is different is the outcome.

While Abbott prefers that a same-sex couple remain married to show just how much they’re not married and demonstrate how they’re destroying traditional marriage as it’s existed since Biblical times, Harper decided to change divorce laws to make it easier for couples to split.

Harper had fewer options. While public opinion and court opinions are moving away from Abbott’s position, Harper has a clear ruling from the Canadian Supreme Court. In Canada, marriage equality has been ruled a right.

Julie Vaux, press secretary to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, sent a message to Dallas Voice that the minister could not comment on an ongoing divorce proceeding, however, “I want to be very clear that our government has no intention of reopening the debate on the definition of marriage. The case reported in the media involves the fact that, under current law, some marriages performed in Canada could not be dissolved in Canada.”

She places the blame on the previous Liberal government and said, “This is a legislative gap left by the Liberal government of the day when the law was changed in 2005. The confusion and pain resulting from this gap is completely unfair to those who are affected.”

But her main point is that all marriages performed in Canada will remain valid:

I want to make it very clear that, in our government’s view, these marriages should be valid. 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.
This will apply to all marriages performed in Canada. We have been clear that we have no desire to reopen this issue – both myself and the Prime Minister consider this debate to be closed.

—  David Taffet

Proposed divorce law could make D.C. the marriage destination of choice for gay Texans

Mrs. Barry Herridge

The straights have a new poster child for traditional marriage.

Sinead O’Connor ended her marriage to therapist Barry Herridge after 16 days. She said she knew the marriage was doomed just three hours after the ceremony.

But she still made it to 16 days. Maybe she needs to see a therapist. Oh wait … maybe she just needs to blame it on the gays.

But at least she will be able to end her marriage — no matter where she lives.

The Washington D.C. city council will take up a same-sex divorce ordinance in January, according to the Washington Post. The bill has the support of eight out of 13 city council members.

The problem, according to the city’s leaders, is that anyone can marry in D.C., but only residents can file for divorce there.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has done his part to deny marriage to same-sex couples by preventing them from getting divorced. One case in which he intervened involves a Dallas couple that was married in Massachusetts. Currently all 50 states and D.C. have a residency requirement for divorce.

With the attorney general’s intervention, the Dallas couple remains married, three years after beginning the process of divorce.

Should the D.C. law pass, couples married in that city will be able to divorce there, no matter where they live. Abbott will be unable to prevent Texas couples married there from divorcing there.

But O’Connor will be able to get divorced wherever she lives. And her 16-day marriage will be considered “traditional.”

—  David Taffet