Government Approaches Key Deadline to Pass Gay Divorce Bill

The federal government seems to be approaching a key deadline to pass a bill intended to close a legal loophole, which has prevented foreign same-sex couples who married in Canada from seeking a divorce. The issue was highlighted in the international media after a case erupted in February 2012, in which a lesbian couple that married in Toronto in 2005 failed to acquire a divorce because the Divorce Act required applicants to have resided in the country for at least 12 months.

Once the issue was highlighted, the government suffered intense international pressure to address the matter. Consequently, the government acted quickly and introduced Bill C-32, i.e. the Civil Marriage of Non Residents Act, in order to address the matter in August. Meanwhile, the government struck a deal in the court case, allowing the case to be hold in the interim. The agreement stated that the proceedings would be stayed until the time the bill was passed and received a royal assent, is defeated or until June 1, 2013.

However, the bill hasn’t been progressed from the introduction stage since that day until now, speaking about which lawyer, Martha McCarthy, stated on Friday that “I have no information about what (the government is) doing and I don’t have a plan yet with my clients.” Additionally, McCarthy explained that “my options are to reinvigorate the proceedings — take steps to schedule a hearing or some other dialogue, or to try and get some individual outcome for my client.”

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