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Dan Savage
Dan Savage, right with husband, Terry Miller
... according to some of the sharpest minds in LGBT legal advocacy. As pertains to the current rec-listed diary here.

The following is a joint statement from Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and Freedom to Marry:

LGBT Legal Groups: Canadian Marriages of Same-Sex Couples Are Not in Jeopardy

We write to respond to a news report from Canada that a lawyer in the current government has taken a position in a trial-level divorce proceeding that a same-sex couple’s marriage is not valid because the members of the couple were not Canada residents at the time that they married, and the law of their home jurisdiction did not permit them to marry at the time.  

No one’s marriage has been invalidated or is likely to be invalidated. The position taken by one government lawyer in a divorce is not itself precedential.  No court has accepted this view and there is no reason to believe that either Canada’s courts or its Parliament would agree with this position, which no one has asserted before during the eight years that same-sex couples have had the freedom to marry in Canada.

Canada permits non-residents to marry and thousands of non-resident same-sex couples have married there since Canada first began recognizing the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in 2003. Indeed, Canada’s Parliament codified the equal right to marry for same-sex couples in 2005.

The message for same-sex couples married in Canada remains the same as it is for same-sex couples validly married here in the United States: take every precaution you can to protect your relationship with legal documents such as powers of attorney and adoptions, as you may travel to jurisdictions that don't respect your legal relationship. There is no reason to suggest that Canadian marriages of same-sex couples are in jeopardy, or to advocate that people try to marry again elsewhere, as that could cause these couples unnecessary complications, anxiety, and expense.

This is a lot of very good legal minds, that have done a lot of very good work on this specific issue. As such, since they all have endorsed this statement, and I'm feeling relieved that their reasoning and expectations are sound.

This incident does demonstrate the sort of silly insanity same-sex couples regularly confront with their "geography-based" marriages. You're married in Iowa, cross the state line to Nebraska, your legal rights disappear.

And another problem it highlights is that the civil rights of LGBT people are so easily influenced by the passing winds of political change, as is currently happening in New Hampshire, where an insurgent Republican majority stands at the ready to strip their residents of marriage equality on Jan. 18.

Someday it will be better. But not today.

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