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Same Sex Marriages Essay

1777 words - 7 pages

Marriage is a fundamental institution in Canadian society today, and has been the topic of much controversy in recent years. The issue of same-sex marriage has caused debates between many groups in society. Not just in Canada, but around the world, individuals and governments have debated whether marriage has a continuing value to society, and if so whether and how the state should recognize married relationships in law. Many groups are opposed to same sex marriage, however, it is now legal in Canada. Everyone has the right to get married, whether they are a same-sex couple, or a man and a woman. In order to reflect values of tolerance, respect, and equality consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, access to marriage for civil purposes should continue to be extended to couples of the same-sex.When it comes to the issue of same-sex marriage, the Canadian public opinions are divided. Some feel strongly that the government should support marriage as an opposite sex institution, since married couples and their children are the principal social unit on which society is based. Others believe that for reasons of equality, governments should treat all conjugal relationships - both opposite sex and same-sex - identically. Our constitution makes it clear that Parliament has an essential role to play in deciding important social questions. The government of Canada believes that Parliament is the best place for this debate to take place.Marriage is without dispute, one of the most significant forms of personal relationships. For centuries, marriage has been a basic element of social organization in societies around the world. Through the institution of marriage, individuals can publicly express their love and commitment to each other. Through this institution, society publicly recognizes expressions of love and commitment between individuals, granting them respect and legitimacy as a couple. The ability to marry, and to thereby participate in this fundamental societal institution, is something that most Canadians take for granted. Same-sex couples do not, because until recently they were denied access to this institution simply on the basis of their sexual orientation.In June, 2003, there were several cases in the Ontario Court of Appeal concerning same-sex marriage. Seven same-sex couples, who became known as "The Couples" wanted to celebrate their love and commitment to each other by getting married in civil ceremonies. One case involving these couples was Halpern v. Canada. Throughout history, marriage has been defined as "the union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others." The central question in this appeal was whether the exclusion of same-sex couples from the common law definition of marriage breaches ss.2 (a) - freedom of conscience and religion - of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in a manner that is not justified in a free and democratic society under s.1 of the Charter. This case was...

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