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BRITISH COLUMBIA IN CANADA MAY RECOGNIZE SAME-SEX COUPLES

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Source: Canadian Press news agency, 1997-JUN-05

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New legislation was tabled by the provincial government of British Columbia in Canada. If passed, it would consider same-sex couples as legal spouses, with full legal rights regarding child custody, spousal/child maintenance and child access. (British Columbia had already passed legislation without any dissent which allows same-sex couples to adopt children.)

Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh said "You have to recognize the reality of different families and provide security and benefits for the children of the families...I've heard nothing but positive things about that legislation"

Reform member of the legislature, Richard Neufeld, predicts substantial opposition to the granting of equal rights to gays and lesbians. (The Reform party is an ultra-conservative national and provincial political party).

The Premier of British Columbia says that a check will be made of all provincial legislation currently on the books to make sure that discrimination against gay and lesbian couples is be eliminated. This is the first province in Canada to do this; it may be the first jurisdiction in North America to eliminate such discrimination.

About 200 supporters of the anti-gay group Research Institute organized a demonstration in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery. They were demonstrating against the use of gay-positive books in the British Columbia school system which support gay and lesbian families. They were also demonstrating against the proposed family law legislation. The demonstration was hijacked by about 400 gay and lesbian activists who chanted "Hate is not a family value." The anti-gay group lost the shouting match.

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On 1997-JUN-24, Archbishop Adam Exner of the Roman Catholic church expressed opposition to the legislation because gay and lesbian relationships are "gravely immoral" It would equate homosexual relationships with heterosexual marriages and weaken the fabric of society. He urged Roman Catholics to pressure the government.

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