This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Love And Marriage

"Failing to recognize this U.K. civil partnership as a marriage would perpetuate impermissible discrimination, primarily because in the U.K. these parties could not marry because of their sexual orientation, but had to enter into a civil partnership instead. 
"Their union is a lawful union under the laws of the U.K. Their union is of two persons, to the exclusion of all others. In the simplest terms it meets the statutory definition of marriage in Canada. Because these parties could not marry in the U.K., but had to enter into a civil partnership there instead, they have suffered discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation."
Ontario Superior Court Justice Ruth Mesbur

Clearly, an unsupportable, insufferable situation, one that Canadian reading of the law has set right. To our huge relief. Two Canadian men who achieved a 2009 "civil partnership" ceremony in Britain have now been recognized within Canada, on the basis of that civil partnership ceremony in the U.K. as legally married to one another.

Oops. Almost. Past tense, that should be. They have since split. And it is the issue of matrimony-gone-asunder and the aftermath of separation and divorce with one member of the broken partnership claiming financial support from his former spouse that describes the issue whereby Wayne Hincks sought the solution that Justice Ruth Mesbur concurred with. Which will doubtless not elate one half of the ex-couple.

Mr. Hincks is an architect. While living in Britain, he met another architect, Gerardo Gallardo, in 2009. The two swiftly established an intimate relationship, and in a few months' time took part in the blessings of a civil partnership. Which guarantees just about all the rights and responsibilities as a conventional opposite-sex marriage. Lacking the dignity of nomenclature, alas.

Mr. Gallardo, who owned his own architecture business in Toronto, returned there. And Mr. Hincks accompanied him, giving up his job in Britain. As such things may happen, the relationship soured. And Mr. Hincks felt entitled to a financial settlement. Denied him under Canadian law since the civil partnership was not considered marriage, so Mr. Hincks was not formally entitled to full legal spouse benefits.

"I've spent $50,000 to get to this point. And the point I've gotten to is having exactly the same rights as any other same-sex or married citizen in Canada.
"What it does is put me at the beginning of a divorce case after two years. When we separated, I had no recourse to find housing in Toronto or social support.
"...I had no way of getting any spousal support that any normal spouse would be able to claim for, and I had no way of having a home", explained Mr. Hicks piteously.

The Ontario government intervened on Mr. Hincks' behalf, that he be treated in the divorce settlement with all rights available under the provincial Family Law Act, available to a legally married spouse. Though a federal government lawyer argued against the bid to equate Britain's civil partnership with Canada's definition of a same-sex marriage, Mr. Hincks prevailed.

The judge stated that "the validity of a marriage is determined by the law of the place where the marriage was celebrated. Canada relies on British case law that says a civil partnership is not, by definition, a marriage." However, Justice Mesbur concluded finally that Britain's inherently discriminatory "parallel" regime of civil partnership rather than fully constituted marriage abraded the intention of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

So Mr. Hicks need no longer fret himself over searching for paid employment, and failing that, wandering homeless on the streets of Toronto. He need not have recourse to job-hunting now to fulfill his wish to "having a home". The divorce settlement will provide for his financial well-being. Sounds like a scofflaw who received oodles of empathy, doesn't he?

Amassing the $50,000 required in legal fees to pursue the financial entitlement he insists is his, yet pleading that his jobless, homeless status rendered him a pitiful, broken ex-spouse in need of succour.


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