Harper says he has no intention of reopening debate on same-sex marriage

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the federal government has no intention of reopening the debate on same-sex marriage.

HALIFAX — Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the federal government has no intention of reopening the debate on same-sex marriage.

Harper’s comments come after the Globe and Mail reported Thursday that his government has served notice that same-sex couples who came to Canada since 2004 to get married are not legally wed.

The newspaper cited a document filed in a Toronto test case recently launched by a lesbian couple seeking a divorce.

Harper says he is unaware of the details of the case, but he does not want to reopen the debate on same-sex marriage.

“We have no intention further of opening or reopening this issue,” Harper said in Halifax, where he made a shipbuilding announcement.

“This, I gather, is a case before the courts where Canadian lawyers have taken particular positions based on the law. But I will be asking officials to provide me more details with this particular case.”

The NDP’s Olivia Chow said Harper was sending out confusing messages about the government’s intentions, calling the about-face “hugely embarrassing.”

“You can’t say that you support gay marriage and then have lawyers say that you don’t in court,” Chow said at a news conference at her Toronto office.

“It’s a very backwards way, and I think it will disappoint a lot of Canadians.”

Chow said if the flip-flop was truly a misunderstanding, the prime minister can easily resolve the matter by instructing the government’s lawyer in the divorce case to use a different argument.

A win for the government under the current premise that a same-sex marriage performed in Canada is not valid if the couple doesn’t live here, she added, would mean that the 5,000 non-residents who were married in Canada are not legally wed.

“I think Mr. Harper is hiding behind the law and using a backdoor way to say to these loving couples: ’Sorry, we no longer recognize your marriage’,” Chow said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer reports 32 new cases of COVID-19

COVID-19 modelling projections highlight the importance of “aggressive countermeasures,” says the provincial… Continue reading

Suspected thieves caught red-handed by Sylvan Lake RCMP

Incidents happened last Sunday and Monday in the Birchcliff and Lacombe County areas

Optimist Club of Red Deer donates to youth shelter

The Optimist Club of Red Deer has donated more than $1,800 to… Continue reading

Easter Bunny visiting central Albertans to support food banks

The Easter Bunny has been enlisted to help raise money for local… Continue reading

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Message from RE/MAX Commercial: What to do when ‘sorry we’re temporarily closed’ is part of your business as landlord or tenant

Do you have questions about rent reductions or deferral of lease payments? Experts can help

Demographic data ‘essential’ to track spread of COVID-19: researchers

Demographic data ‘essential’ to track spread of COVID-19: researchers

COVID cases surge past 19,000 with 501 deaths; Quebec has most fatalities

COVID cases surge past 19,000 with 501 deaths; Quebec has most fatalities

NHLers reflect on league pause: ‘All of a sudden someone turns the car off’

NHLers reflect on league pause: ‘All of a sudden someone turns the car off’

Lafreniere tops list of NHL draft-eligible prospect

Lafreniere tops list of NHL draft-eligible prospect

Crowd attends Colombian gang leader’s funeral amid lockdown

Crowd attends Colombian gang leader’s funeral amid lockdown

Most Read