OTTAWA - The Green Party of Canada finds it atrocious that the Harper government is now trying to assert that same-sex marriages performed in Canada are not legal if the couple does not live in Canada. “If a marriage license was issued, that couple is justified in assuming their marriage is legal. That the Harper government is trying to double-talk their way out of this is extremely insulting and embarrassing,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands. “We call on Prime Minister Harper to immediately initiate legislative action that will recognize the validity of same-sex marriages for non-residents.”
“Everyone thought this issue of same-sex marriage was settled. Canadians have over and over again indicated that they believe people have the right to marry without being discriminated against for their sexual orientation,” said Chris Lea, former leader of the Green Party of Canada and the first openly gay political party leader in Canadian history.
Canadians believe in freedom from discrimination. This includes people having the right to live their lives without being discriminated against for their race, creed, ethnic background, political beliefs or sexual orientation. A majority of Canadians applaud the fact that Canada was one of the first countries to sanction same-sex marriage. Existing legislation and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms prohibit discrimination.
In 1996, the Green Party of Canada became the first federal party to officially support the inclusion of same-sex couples in civil marriage.
“The Harper government’s position shows a total disrespect of gays and lesbians and their families, contempt of law, legislation and due process. As confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada, our rights are equal to the rights of other citizens and visitors in Canada. This new position promotes hate in a time when too many young gay, lesbian and transgender people are being bullied into taking their lives,” said Lea.
“We must not allow these backward steps. We must remain vigilant and work toward our vision of a world in which difference is accepted and celebrated, whether it is sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” said May.