Law and Same Sex Marriage

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Date Submitted: 11/15/2012 01:30 PM

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Which Case Had the Greatest Impact on the Canadian Legal System?

“The voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all

others,”(Ontario Court of Appeal). This had been the common law definition of marriage

in Canada since its founding and this dated definition has been a plague amongst court

rooms as well as the gay and lesbian community. Due to the fact that the definition

specifically referred to one man and one woman being required in a marriage, gay and

lesbian couples had been restricted from having a marriage that was legally recognized

within Canada. In 2001, 7 couples sought out to challenge the courts and change the

definition of marriage to two persons which would legally allow same-sex marriage. This

case, Halpern et al. v. Attorney General of Canada et al. had the greatest impact on the

Canadian legal system because it changed the legal definition of marriage from a man

and a woman to two persons, legalizing same-sex marriage, the results proved that

discrimination based on sexual orientation was not acceptable within Canada, and the

results continue to be a topic of debate within parliament, jeopardizing equality rights for

gays and lesbians.

In November of 2001, 7 couples set out on a mission. Their goal was to be able to

extend their relationships to the next level by having the state legally recognize theirs

marriages. Being same-sex couples, a problem arose as Canada’s marriage definition is

derived from the court case ruling of Hyde v. Hyde and Woodmansee, which was settled

in 1866. Due to the general view of society in the 19th century, the definition of marriage

used in British common law was not created to accommodate same-sex unions. This is

where the issue stemmed from as we know longer live in the 19th century, which results

in society’s growing acceptance of different life styles in Canada as well as the need to

create legal accommodations to...