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Gay marriages:

2016-NOV-30: Ontario, Canada:
Passage of "All families are equal act."

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"All families are equal act" is passed in Ontario:

Jennifer Mathers McHenry gave birth to a child at a hospital in Ontario, Canada. It was a difficult birth. Jennifer and her wife Kirsti realized that in the unlikely event that Jennifer had died giving birth, that Kristi would have no status as a parent. She would not necessarily be able to legally take their two children home, because theirs is a same-sex marriage, and Kirsti had never adopted either child.

Fortunately, that would have been a very improbable outcome for Jennifer's pregnancy:

  • In the vast majority of countries in the world, the maternal death rate is decreasing rapidly.

  • In Canada, it was estimated in 2015 that the rate has been stable at about 7 per 100,000 live births in recent years. 1 Canada has a universal health care system that covers hospital and physician visits.

  • In contrast, the maternal death rate in the U.S. is estimated to be about 25 per 100,000, and is rising. 2 In that country, many pregnant women without adequate health insurance have little or no access to pre-natal care; their first visit with a physician is when they are in labor. Sadly, as a result, many more die of readily preventably causes.

Jennifer's fear remained one more concern that pregnant couples who use assisted reproductive technology experience in Ontario. Some of these couples are of the same-sex; others are of the opposite-sex and infertile.

Jennifer did survive, and the family of Jennifer, Kirsti, and children Cy and Ruby is intact. However, Kirsti had no legal status as parent. The existing family legislation in the province would require the couple to go to court so that Kirsti could formally adopt their children. That can cost thousands of dollars for each child.

Cheri DiNovo is a member of the of the Ontario Legislature (MLA) in the New Democratic Party (social-democratic). She sponsored a bill to make the first update to parenting laws in the province since 1978. She was motivated by a desire to have all families treated equally, and to prevent the necessity of some parents having to go to court to establish the parenthood status of one or both spouses.

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Progress of Bill 28:

Bill 28, "An Act to amend the Children's Law Reform Act, the Vital Statistics Act and various other Acts respecting parentage and related registrations," is popularly known as "Cy and Ruby's Law," after the two children mentoned above. The Legislature's Standing Committee on Social Policy scheduled public hearings for 2016-OCT-17 and 18.

Even though gay marriages were legalized across Canada in mid-2005, many religious and social conservatives still strongly oppose marriage equality and deny that such marriages are in any way equivalent to those by opposite-sex couples.

The bill passed third (final) reading in the Legislature on NOV-30, but not without incident. Half of the conservative MLAs (Members of the Legislature) were not present for the vote. One MLA had a special reason for not attending. Sam Oosterhoff, aged 19, had been elected in a byelection on NOV-17 in the riding of Niagara-West Glanbrook. He is strongly pro-life, believes in evolution, and considers himself "absolutely not" a homophobe. He campaigned against a recently updated sex-ed curriculum in Ontario public schools. He is the youngest Ontario MLA in history. Oosterhoff delayed his swearing-in ceremony for a few days until his family could be available, and thus missed the opportunity to vote against the bill. He previously said that he "definitely would not have supported it." 3 On NOV-29 he issued a tweet saying that the bill is "disrespectful to mothers and fathers." 4

As of DEC-01, the bill is awaiting Royal Assent in which the Lieutenant Governor will sign the bill and make it law. This is a routine procedure. It is expected to come into effect on 2017-JAN-01.

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Support for the bill:

  • Patrick Brown, the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in Ontario expected his entire caucus to vote in favor of the bill. The MLAs from his party who attended the Legislature on NOV-30 joined with members of the other parties and voted unanimously in favor of the bill. 3

  • Clare Graham, a spokesperson for the Liberal Party in Ontario had said:

    "People in Ontario value diversity and equality -- that’s why all parents and their kids need to be treated equally under the law. ..."

    "There is no one way to start and raise a family. We’re proposing to update Ontario’s parentage laws so that parents who have a baby with the help of a doctor don’t need to spend their money on a lawyer and go to court just so they can be their own kid’s parents. The best thing for a kid is that there is no uncertainty about who their parents are. At the end of the day, this is about ensuring that all kids are treated equally by recognizing the legal status of their parents no matter if their parents are LGBTQ2+ or straight, and no matter if they were conceived with the help of a doctor." 5

    "LGBTQ2+" refers to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual, Queer, and Two-spirited persons. The term "Two-spirited is a North American Aboriginal term that refers to people who carry two spirits, one male and one female.

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Opposition to the bill:

  • Many religious and social conservatives opposed Bill 28. A main reason is that it altered Ontario marriage law to group together "mother" and "father" and refer to them as "parents." This was needed in order to accomodate same-sex couples who, by necessity, must conceive children using assisted reproductive methods. Lesbian and bisexual females in a same-sex marriage must obtain sperm from a source outside of their family. Also, gay and bisexual males in a same-sex marriage must arrange with a surrogate woman to become pregnant and give birth.

  • According to Lianne Laurence writing for Life Site News, Gwen Landolt, vice president of of REAL Women criticized the Liberal party for:

    "... ramming through a revolutionary bill to completely restructure ‘family’ relationships solely to please the LGBT community. ... [The bill] completely turns on its head the former understanding of ‘family’ which consisted of individuals united by [opposite-sex] marriage, blood and adoption." 6

    She also warned that Bill 28:

    "... does not address practical details such as the custody and support of the child [which makes it] extremely difficult to determine who is on first base in regard to the child."

    She said lawyers stand to benefit from the litigation resulting from family conflicts caused by the new law, saying "Lawyers will be pleased with this bill." 9

  • Webmaster's comment [bias alert]:

    In reality, the understanding of marriage and family was modified in 2005 when the Federal Government legalized gay marriage.

    She might not have been aware that the Bill 28 was not a "Liberal" bill. It was sponsored by a New Democratic Party member, and supported by all of the Liberals, New Democratic Party and Conservative Party members who attended the Legislature when the vote was taken.

  • Queenie Yu unsuccessfully ran in a recent Ontario by-election on SEP-01 as an independent candidate. She received 2% of the votes cast. 7 She said:

    "The government is trying to erase all trace of biological parents from these children for an ideological motive. It’s just unnatural." 6

    She also commented:

    "The communists had their one-child policy; Ontario has [Liberal Premier] Wynne’s four-parent policy. Being a father or mother has been trivialized." 5

  • Charles McVety, of Canada Christian College, said:

    "The premier is re-engineering the family. She removes 'mother' 17 times. Removes 'father' 23 times. The Act is amended by striking out the 'mother' and substituting it with 'birth parent' and 'father' with the word 'parent'. ..."

    Mothers are the bedrock of society and their love gives life. A mother can take the place of all others but no one else can take the place of a mother." 5

    Webmaster's comment [bias alert]:

    McVety's latter comment seems to eliminate the need for fathers in a family. That is a radical concept that I have never seen a religious or social conservative express in the past.

    During the public hearings, the bill's sponsor, MLA Cheri DiNovo was not pleased with comments by McVety and Yu. She pulled no punches when responding:

    • She told McVety:

      "I think I speak for other Christians who actually follow in the steps of Jesus Christ and who talk about love, compassion and acceptance and inclusion, that I will pray for you and your family. I will pray that the people that listen to you actually open their hearts and actually read scripture. ... I’m sad to see that your children are here. Because God forbid -- literally -- that they should have children who are LGBTQ because my suggestion would be they would love them." 8

    • She told Yu:

      "I’m very aware of what the bill says. The only reason it does that is because it’s inclusive. It includes all parents, not just mothers. That was very carefully explained by the testimony just before you. ... It certainly is inclusive of more mothers than the current laws, and that’s what we’re hoping for -- and inclusive of all children. 8

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
  1. "Canada maternal morality rate," Index Mundi, 2016-OCT-08. at: http://www.indexmundi.com/
  2. Sabrina Tavernise, "Maternal Mortality Rate in U.S. Rises, Defying Global Trend, Study Finds," New York Times, 2016-SEP-21, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
  3. Allison Jones, "All Families Are Equal Act Passes: Same-Sex Parents In Ontario Won't Have To Adopt Own Kids," Huffington Post Canada, 2016-OCT-30, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/
  4. Alex Ballingall, "Sam Oosterhoff sworn in as youngest MPP, says he’s ‘absolutely not’ a homophobe," Toronto Star, 2016-DEC-01, at: https://www.thestar.com/
  5. "Wynne government targets 'mother' and 'father'," Toronto Sun, 2016-OCT-16, at: http://www.torontosun.com/
  6. Lianne Laurence, "Pro-family groups fight Ontario Liberals’ effort to redefine ‘parent’ to suit LGBT activists," Life Site News, 2016-OCT-17, at: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/
  7. "Scarborough—Rouge River (provincial electoral district)," Wikipedia, as on 2016-SEP-17, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
  8. Joe Warmington, "Demise of 'mother' and 'father' delayed," Toronto Sun, 2016-OCT-20, at: http://www.torontosun.com/
  9. "Ontario redefining family," The Interim, 2016-NOV-25, at: http://www.theinterim.com/

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How you may have arrived here
"SSM" means "same-sex marriage"

Home > Religious info. > Basic > Marriage > SSM menu > SSM submenu > Canada > here

Home >Religious information > Basic info > Canada > Canada > here

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality> SSM menu > SSM submenu > Canada> here

 

Copyright © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2016-DEC-01
Latest update : 2016-DEC-01.
Author: B.A. Robinson

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