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April 11, 2003
City community advisory committee urges recognition of same-sex marriages
  
Members of the City of Toronto Community Advisory Committee on Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual and Transgender Issues today made a deputation to the federal Standing
Committee on Justice and Human Rights, urging legal recognition of same-sex
marriages.

"Legally recognizing common-law relationships was a welcome and important
change. Let's take that next important step and give same-sex couples the same
rights as opposite-sex couples, by allowing them the option to marry," said
Councillor Kyle Rae, who is the chair of Toronto City Council's Community
Advisory Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues. "For over
thirty years Toronto City Council has supported the equality rights of this
community, and last July City Council called upon the Prime Minister to take
steps to permit same sex marriages as a right," continued Councillor Rae.

"Canada has been a world leader in equality and human rights. Now Canada has
the opportunity to show leadership again," said Tatum Wilson, the co-chair of
the City's Community Advisory Committee. "The courts recognize that
discriminating against individuals by virtue of their gender or sexual
orientation is unacceptable. We implore this government to recognize the
inequality inherent in denying benefits to our communities and honour the
Charter of Rights and Freedoms by recognizing same-sex marriages," he said.

Amelia Golden, also a member of the City Community Advisory Committee, said,
"The Justice Committee has already recognized that extensive social and
economic benefits come along with marriage for a committed couple. It is
unacceptable that same-sex couples do not have that crucial option available to
them in deciding the nature of their relationships. It is patently unjust that
some families do not have the same benefits and recognition of others simply
because of the gender of those involved."

In December 1999, Council established five community advisory committees on
access, equity and human rights, one of which addresses lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender issues. These advisory committees provide a formal mechanism
for City Council to obtain community advice on a variety of issues.

The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights is holding hearings in 11
cities across Canada this month to hear from organizations and individuals on
the Minister of Justice's discussion paper on marriage and the legal
recognition of same-sex unions. The discussion paper is available on-line at
http://canada.justice.gc.ca/en/dept/pub/mar/index.html.


Media Contact
Councillor Kyle Rae
416-392-7903

 

 

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