BRITISH COLUMBIA IN CANADA MAY RECOGNIZE SAME-SEX COUPLES
Source: Canadian Press news agency, 1997-JUN-05
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
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.
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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