As discussed on Skepchick, a 14-year-old girl scout posted a video on YouTube calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies over the Girl Scouts’ policy of accepting everyone who presents as female into scouting.The video has since been taken down.
A lawyer from Canada’s conservative government suggested that marriages of foreigners performed in Canada (like those of many gay couples) should no longer be valid. After a huge international outcry, the government claimed they would allow foreign citizens to get divorced rather than invalidating hundreds of marriages.
Jessica Ahlquist won her lawsuit, and a Federal judge has ordered the immediate removal of the Cranston school prayer banner. More at Friendly Atheist.
The image of the Cranston School Prayer Banner is from Friendly Atheist.
The thing that really bothered by about the marriage issue was that nearly all of the outcry was based on some very shoddy reporting of the facts both in the mainstream media and on queer activist sites. It mostly got reported (as it does in the Dan Savage blog entry), as the government having already invalidated these marriages.
It was ultimately a question of legal standing, and how to approach the question of marriage tourism when the couples would not be (under existing law) entitled to divorce in Canada or in their home jurisdictions, where their marriages are not recognised.
For the record, I think marriage tourism is a bad idea because of the legal snarls it can cause. I understand the desire of couples to have their relationships recognised by some government, but at the end of the day it has no legal effect on their real lives and remains purely symbolic, at least until problems like this arise.
Having a marriage certificate from almost any country is pretty much acceptable to all businesses and organizations, even most governments. Many foreign couples have used a Canadian marriage certificate to prove being spouses, to their employers, insurance companies, and hospitals during emergencies. I’m not sure about settling estates and death benefits, but still, far from merely symbolic.
But in a jurisdiction where the certificate has no force of law, how can this be? And, where the certificate has no force of law, how is a valid one different from an invalid one?
Certainly in situations where the local government accepts it we are not talking about the same problem, since the opinion was specifically regarding couples who did not live in jurisdictions that recognised their marriages.