SOSC 1910 Lecture Notes - Moodle, Reference Question, Heterosexism

16 views4 pages
Published on 29 Jan 2013
of 4
Lecture#16: Challenging Heterosexism-Law and Social Activism
Essay due feb.29th topic approved by next week
Film: Politics of the Heart
Outlines a group of activist who worked to change Quebec’s civil code to
adopting laws on Gays and Lesbians marriage
At the end of the day their cause prevails
Quebec was the first province to make sexual orientation legal in the law
These events led to lesbians and gays against violence
There was violence against older gay men
ACT UP awareness of HIV infection …the gay couple was involved in this
Round table was developed to deal with murders, violence and all types of
2 lesbian couples…talking about how they had issues with sperm situation
They had children anyway
They said that they knew that there would b discrimination for they’re
children but wither way there would be
Their gay relationship was a plus not a minus
They tried to get their marriage license and changed it from “husband and
wife” to “husband and husband” which was illegal in the criminal code
So they couldn’t get the license and decided to try it in court
Preliminary bill was signed not a bill …it was the easy way to include the
most “important things” and leave the rest
Quebec recognizes the civil union of homosexual couples 2001?
All the gays and lesbians were furious with this because it didn’t outline
anything much…they still couldn’t legally have family rights
They met with the Minister of Justice expressing their fury with him
They needed public opinion support to get family rights in the union
There were 3 testimonies made by teenagers who told their story…one about
how this girls mother is still hiding her sexuality
This helped the case of adding parenting rights in the union for same sex
The bill was being reviewed in the National Assembly where the billed
passed unanimously
Gay couples in Quebec gained full parental rights and marriage
*read these cases in kit
The legal strategy itself has been carries out over less time but is equally as
During the late 80’s and early 90’s all provinces with the exception of Alberta
had rights in their law
Haig- 1992, Supreme Court of Canada judgment. They said that even though
judgment wasn’t written in the act they were going to read it in
Mossop- 1993 Supreme Court case, gay couple and one of them was denied
leave from work to attend his partners father’s funeral. The supreme court
said that this was discriminatory
Egan- 1995, case that established that sexual orientation is a ground for
protection under section (1). First big-chartered case. Their spousal benefits
were denied.
Around 1995 we see a shift in public opinion, half of the public think that
sexual orientation should be protected
Re k and B, reached Ontario provincial court level. They said failing to allow
same sex partners to adopt each other’s children was a violation of their
Vriend- 1998, Supreme court of Canada, last time the supreme court is going
to talk about whether sexual orientation will be in human rights code…This
was the last chance that Alberta got to include sexual orientation in human
rights code
Rosenburg- 1998, Challenge to the income tax act. This was challenged
because it forced pension plans to refuse same sex benefits.
There are lots of pieces of legislation that was discriminatory.
In Ontario we had 98 pieces of legislation all containing the idea that a
spouse was only a man and a woman
M. v. H- 1998, case about spousal support when a relationship between
lesbian partners broke down. The judges in this case came out for the first
time and said that these families provide emotional and financial support.
Just like heterosexual relationships the same things are lost when a
relationship breaks down. The judges said that gays and les experience a
significant disadvantage and excluding them from the law contributed to
their invisibility to the law. Talking about how the law was used a s a sword
Smitherman- 2002, Marc was a gay teen and wanted to take his partner to his
high school prom. Smitherman is a person who came in and went to court
asking for an injunction to prevent the school from barring Marc from
entering his prom. The school said interaction out of prom between romantic
partners is a form of sexual activity. Allowing marc and his partner to attende
prom would be endorsing marc and his partners sexual conduct. But, the
judge issued the injunction so Marc was allowed to go to prom
Halpern- this was where the Ontario court of appeal looked at the common
law definition of marriage. The common law definition of marriage is the
union of a man and woman, which violates the charter. So, from this case
marriage was defined as the union of two people.
Same sex marriage reference- The government has the ability to refer a case
straight to the Supreme court. They changed it into a reference case. They
drafted new legislation in regards to same sex marriage. They wanted to
know if legislation complied with the charter. They asked four questions: 1. Is
the legislation that commits same sex marriage within the jurisdiction of the
federal government? Yes it is. 1. Is this legislation consistent with the
charter? Yes 3. Whether section 2a of the charter which protect freedom of
religion…does it protect religion and allow priests and stuff to perform same
sex marriages if it’s outside of their beliefs? 4. Whether or not it was still
okay to keep marriage only between a man and a woman
The government’s legislation complied with the charter so it was
Section 318- there was a push to have sexual orientation included in this
provision. This section talks about hate against identifiable groups. Hate
based on colour, race, religion, and ethnicity. Now, an identifiable group is
considered sexual orientation. When we have incitement or promotion of
hatred or someone who is deliberately inflicting harm. It allows the court to
give more harsh punishments than the regular sections of the criminal code
dealing with assaults and stuff
In 2001, the police raided a lesbian bathhouse, after it the community filed a
complaint and a civil suit against the police. It was settled outside of court for
350,000 to go to charities, the cost of legal fees and sensitivity training for
the Toronto police. The settlement told police that they no longer needed to
be watching or harassing this community.
This group has pursued it’s claims successfully in court overall
Just because we see successful court cases and protection in the charter it
doesn’t mean that discrimination has ended
Yogtakarta Principles
Principles were made by a panel of legal experts
These principles are important because they are the first of international
law directed specifically at protecting the LGBT community
The principles remind states who have signed international covenants
about human rights that protection of sexual orientation and protection
of gender identity s part of those treaties
We haven’t introduced a separate covenant internationally, these
principles tells the state how to interpret the provisions they already
B signing HR treaties they do have obligations to sexual minorities used
to build on, expand and improve our HR principles