Reports of the death of marriage equality in Canada have been greatly exaggerated, it seems, as both American civil-rights groups and the Canadian government itself are repudiating the suggestion that same-sex marriages performed for foreigners are invalid in the Great White North.
“No one’s marriage has been invalidated or is likely to be invalidated,” read a joint statement filed by the ACLU, Freedom to Marry, Lambda Legal and other LGBT groups. “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.”
Nearly a third of the 15,000 same-sex weddings performed in Canada were between two non-Canadians. For some it was merely symbolic—others live in jurisdictions that haven’t legalized gay marriages but that respect those performed elsewhere.
“We have no intention further of opening or reopening this issue,” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the Canadian Press. “This, I gather, is a case before the courts where Canadian lawyers have taken particular positions based on the law. But I will be asking officials to provide me more details with this particular case.”
“I want to make it clear that in our government’s view, these marriages are valid.” Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said in the Globe and Mail.