Same Sex Marriages Legalization in Canada

Same Sex Marriages Legalization in Canada


Many European countries have allowed same sex weddings, one of them being Canada. The Netherlands, Belgium and Spain are the other countries which have allowed same-sex weddings. Many individuals in Canada did not like this move and many complications were faced. In the 1970s, homosexuality was deemed an illegal crime in Canada because, unlike days now where the legislation allows the activity, the offenders received a long-term sentence. “In conventional Canadian law, homosexuality was treated as a sin, “the civil partnership between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.” (Makerenko, 2007). That’s how marriage was described. Marriage between two adults of opposite sexes was only allowed by that statute.

Historical Summary of Same-Sex Relationships in Canada

(Cbc News, 2007) Argues that in 1965, a 24-year-old young man revealed to the police that he had a deep desire with other men and that he had long enough romantic affairs with other men with fellow men and that he was not prepared to adjust. He was seen as a law-offender and was incarcerated in Canada for many years. In 1967, the general view regarding homosexuality in Canada was updated by Pierre Trudeau. He required homosexuals to be seen as average people and found it inappropriate for the state to meddle with its residents’ bedrooms.

In 1969, Pierre’s amendment to this policy passed and homosexuality was no longer seen as an offence in Canada. Because of this, Everett Klippert was released.

Same Sex Marriages Legalization in Canada

Quebec was the first province in Canada to incorporate homosexuality in its civil rights code on December 16th, 1977. By 2001, almost all provinces of Canada except Alberta, the island of Prince Edward and territories on the North West abolished criminal charges on homosexuality.

In 1978, a press by the name of Pink Triangle was charged after being found guilty of possessing erotic material “men loving boys and boys loving men” for sale. It took them at least six years to solve this case at the courts and on 15th June 1982, a judge named Thomas Mercer gave a ruling that changed the view of homosexuality. “It is perfectly legal to advocate what in itself would be unacceptable to most Canadians.” (Cbc News, 2007)The judge argued.

In 1979, sexual orientation was added to the human rights act of Canada which was spearheaded by Canadian human rights commission. In Feb. 1981, at least 300 men were arrested in a crackdown by the police in Toronto  and there was a mass action taken by about3000 people on the streets of Toronto to protest against the arrest.1985 saw the parliamentary committee release a report that stressed equality for all especially to the discriminated homosexuals. Homosexuals were treated with much despise, subjected to physical abuse, psychological oppression, and hate speech.1988, was one historical year when Svend Robinson, chairman of the new democratic party announced publicly that he was gay. He was the first gay Member of Parliament. Delwin Vriend was a university lecturer who was fired from his job because it was found out that he was a homosexual. He sued the government of Alberta and in 1994, the court proposed the sexual orientation to be added to the act. In July 16th 2005, bill c-38 that is the same sex marriage bill was delayed in parliament and on 27th the same year and month, a vote was cast by the M.Ps. on 20th July 2005, C-38 becomes a law that grants legality to same sex marriages.

Critical Analysis of Same Sex Marriage Policy

As mention earlier in the task, a victim by the name of Everett Klippert was found guilty of the offence and was charged in 1965. It was found that he had several same sex relationships with different men in a period of two years. He was sentenced indefinitely and his appeal to the Supreme Court was dismissed. This case invoked a debate as to whether homosexuals should be punished by the law. During the sweeping reforms of Canada’s criminal law in 1969, the issue of homosexuality was looked into. Pierre Trudeau at that time the minister of justice fought for the freedom of sexuality. He rebuked the law from interfering with privacy of adult individuals in the nation. This saw the release of Klippert in 1971.

After same sex marriages were given a chance in Canada, there was a problem of discrimination against homosexual persons, as a result to fight discrimination in Canada, Quebec was the first province to accept homosexuality and this was followed by the other provinces. The federal government changed the on Canada’s immigration act .this saw the homosexuals free from being viewed as immigrants. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was constituted though it did not give equality rights to these victims of homosexuality and in 1995 discrimination against these persons was discouraged. In 1992, the government accepted these persons to serve the nation and live openly with their couples.

1999 saw the federal government allowing homosexuals to enjoy same rights and advantages as their counterparts in normal marriages in relation to their pensions and income tax.2004 saw the federal government protecting the gays and lesbians. It was an offence for anyone to discriminate these people and spread hate speech.

By the year 2000, homosexuality was fully acceptable in Canada. Now there was struggle to institute marriage in these relationships. Any official approval of same-sex marital arrangements, whether “civil unions” or “domestic registered partnerships,” will be ineffective. Further, it was argued that in extending marriage to same-sex couples, including gays and lesbians would claim benefits that were immediately available to newly married heterosexual couples.” (Makerenko, 2007) Equality for Gays and Lesbians argued. Though the government was hesitant to progress of this la on homosexuals in June 2005 legalization of same sex marriages was ruled. The Conservative party of Canada was the one that introduced the idea of sticking to the traditional meaning of marriage to the House of Commons. This was supported by all the house members even in the opposition party. Bill C-23 was introduced by the federal government which denied marriage to homosexuals. In 2003, the federal government changed the definition of marriage to include the homosexual couples. They changed it to lawful union between two people and no religious body was to refuse to perform the marriages despite their religious beliefs.

In the year 2004, Paul martin was the new prime minister in the liberal government. He promised to work on this issue. In the year 2005, he introduced the c-38 bill, i.e. the civil marriage act which saw the legalization of SSM. When a vote was cast on the same, it was passed by a margin. Many members of NDP, members of liberal and block MPs cast a vote in favor of it. Many conservative MPs were not for it. After the election, in the House of Commons, this bill was delivered to the senate where it worn with a 47 vote and after receiving a royal assent, it became a law. This is how the vote was cast in the House of Commons regarding the bill.

Party For Against Absentees Total
Liberals 95 32 4 131
Conservatives 3 93 2 98
Bloc Mps 43 5 6 54
NDP 17 1 1 19

 The prime minister of the conservative government attempted to bring another motion in the House of Commons to restore the traditional meaning of marriage but he was not successful as many commoners decided to support the new law of allowing same sex marriages.

(Makerenko, 2007) “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.” Opponents of same sex marriages assert that the definition of marriage violated this chapter because it did not encompass the interests of homosexuals. This issue gained momentum and was to the court system in Canada, i.e., Ontario Court of Appeal and the Canadian Supreme Court.

In Ontario court of appeal, a case was handled on two married couples of the same sex were denied registration by the in the Ontario government even though they had had their church wedding in one of the churches that wedded their heterosexual counterparts. The couple took the case to Ontario court of appeal which is the highest provincial court in Ontario. This court in reaction to this matter ruled the traditional definition of marriage invalid and defined marriage in a new way (Makerenko, 2007) “the voluntary union for life of two persons to the exclusion of all others.”

In the other side, the Supreme Court has been not in agreement with the decision made by Ontario court of appeal and therefore decided to draft their own bill which altered the definition of marriage in the region and which would favor the homosexuals too (Makerenko, 2007). The Supreme Court had to address those concerns raised by Paul Martin’s Chrétien government and liberal government

Its response included the following;

  • -Federal powers have the right to modify the concept of marriage without seeking regional approval. (2007: Makerenko)
  • -The Canadian Supreme Court concluded that the current concept of marriage was not in violation of any charter.
  • -The Supreme Court of Canada has protected all religious figures from holding rituals for same-sex marriage if they did not go hand and hand with what constituted their religion.

How Do Same-Sex Marriages Affect the Field of Social Work?

Homosexual households are often frowned down upon regardless of their sexual orientation, unlike their heterosexual peers. Such parents are exempt from privileges such as the inheritance of infants. (Brinkmann, 2004)In every area of a Childs development, be it cognitive, emotional and social, both male and parents are needed. Both parents are important in the development of their children to give shape to their sexual identity. The male parents have a way of influencing their children to be innovative and creative while female parents engage their children in predictable activities. The two parents are different sources of personality and provide a wider scope of love to the child, something that same sex marriages do not provide. (Rita A.Webb, 2011), explains that same sex marriage issue is being discussed today.

For all social workers it is essential to have social work policies, practices and ethical concerns on gay marriages. NASW is a body that has been chosen consisting of social work representatives that recognizes equal rights of all people. They address the issue of gay marriages in the context of equality, civil rights and ethical practice. Same sex marriages have negative impact on an individual, as a couple and as a family. This union raises a number of children today in Canada but they have no rights for child custody, and have no freedom to make their own choices, right to family medical leave, proper health care, inheritance, no social security benefits, don’t get their survival benefits and taxes.

According to scientific research there are several nuances about female and males that children as young as one day old can distinguish and this can influence the way a child grows. There is no stability of this kind of a relationship and this puts the children being raised in this setup at risk of being brought up in single parented families. Children brought up in this environment are deprived of the experience of fatherhood and motherhood

Impact of Same-Sex Marriages in the Current Canadian Society

 (Robinson, 2005) argues that legalizing this union in the society strengthens the institution of marriage. Many marriages in the European countries had suffered divorce and separation and legalizing same sex marriages came in handy to curb up the issue. Liberals in Canada stress that the legalization of same sex marriages was not a threat at all to the society of married couples in Canada. No marriages were broken because of this. Liberals proved that married couples are happier, with good mental and physical health than their single counterparts and this may cause them to live long life. This applies to all couples including the same sex married couples.

After the legalization of this type of marriage, a number of marriage commissioners lost their jobs for refusing to marry homosexuals and new commissioners were hired to replace the fired ones.

Most public schools taught that all the three existing types of marriages were legal provided they were based on love but when these students came back home, they were taught by their parents that homosexuality was wrong.

It was also proved that same sex parenting was same as opposite sex parenting or even more effective than opposite sex parents by far. There is no difference between children raised by homosexuals though earlier on we noted above that these children face discrimination as their parents do.

On marriage, conservatives are worried that same sex marriages may affect the Canadian culture. They see this as something that will bring long term effects that will be negative.

For religious scholars like senator St.Germain (Weldon, 2011)”Such open, blatant bigotry is disgusting to God”. He deeply held the notion that same sex marriage was a violation of Gods law and saw this all as an abomination. A same sex marriage has negative impacts on society. Same sex marriages suffer very meniscus cases of divorce unlike their opposite sex counterparts.

Divorced people who practiced same sex marriages were referred to as gay divorcee. These unions have been proved to be very stable (justice education society, 2011) many gay couples chose not to get married after all as their counter parts do but at least they have freedom to choose. Legalization of this kind of union has brought about confidence in these people therefore they live without guilty conscience.

The court came to acknowledge the fact that procreation was not the only reason why people got into marriage institutions; rather marriage was more of companionship.

 (, 2003) “Charter already fully protects religious officials from being forced to perform marriages that would be against their religious beliefs, although they also found that the one clause in the bill on religious freedom was not entirely within federal jurisdiction, and that any further protections that might be desired would have to be made within provincial and territorial laws.” Religious leaders didn’t want their places of worship to be turned into a place where this practice considered being an abomination in the society and to their belief. They therefore refused to proceed over such functions and this led to the government protection religious leaders on this ground. The government made sure that no one forced to do anything that the religious leaders were not to precede over.


Since support for same sex marriages has increased over the years, it is something that is gaining momentum in society. As we all know, society is dynamic; ever in a state of change; therefore, gay marriages will continue to exist among people with lack of religious backgrounds and the young generation.

As a dynamic society, one should be able to accept change no matter your religion and beliefs. (Moats, David 2004), they noted that the biggest factor in the growth of support for same sex marriage and civil unions has been largely contributed by the young people, including the conservatives, who are more inclined to both civil unions and same sex marriage than the seniors.

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  • Rita A.Webb. (2011). NASW-National Association of social workers. Retrieved November 25, 2011, from (2003, July 8th). Retrieved November 22nd, 2011, from the Maclean family law group.
  • Weldon, T. (2011, November 18). Catholics and Gay Marriage: Hostile Rant Meets Strong  Response. Retrieved November 25, 2011, from