Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Homosexuals Appeal Ontario Marriage Decision

Written by Rev. H.A Bergsma
Despite having won a decision in Ontario Divisional Court that declared the definition of marriage unconstitutional, several of the same-sex couples involved are seeking leave to appeal that decision, the Ottawa Citizen reported. In documents filed with the Ontario Court of Appeal, they claim that the lower court's decision to suspend its ruling for two years to allow Parliament to change the law is "excessive" and should be overturned. Delaying a decision for that length of time, they argue, would be a "grave injustice." "There is no need for deference to Parliament when the impugned provision relates to the common law, as opposed to legislation," their motion states. They also want the Court of Appeal to "expedite" its hearing of the appeal of the decision filed by the federal government. And that, say the lawyers, is the real purpose behind this latest legal manoeuvre. "The real issue," co-counsel Joanna Radbord, told the Citizen, "Éis to send a message to the government that nothing other than full and equal marriage is acceptable. We are not going to go away, if they try to introduce some alternative form of recognition [for same-sex couples]."(From Focus on the Family Canada.)

Meanwhile, responding to the Ontario court ruling--which is now under appeal--federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon announced that the government plans to consult Canadians on the future of marriage. That process is expected to get underway shortly with the release of a Justice Department discussion paper to be followed by public hearings. The Montreal Gazette reported that Canadian taxpayers have paid over a third of the fees incurred by the two men who had launched the original court challenge. Of the approximately $180,000 spent to date, $62,000 has been covered by grants from the federal government-funded Court Challenges Program. This highly controversial program funds individuals and groups seeking to challenge federal laws based on the Charter. A further $8,000 has been raised by donations. The two men have paid only $20,000 out of their own pockets. The lawyers have assumed the remainder.

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