In Canada, the government has just said that, since 2004, all the thousands of marriages of non-canadian gay and lesbian couples are not valid because of the domestic law and more than 5,000 of the approximately 15,000 same-sex marriages that have taken place are concerned.
Canada, just like other countries which legalized gay marriage, is used to marry gay and lesbian couples coming from other countries.
The Globe and Mail reports "the reversal of federal policy is revealed in a document filed in a Toronto test case launched recently by a lesbian couple seeking a divorce. Wed in Toronto in 2005, the couple have been told they cannot divorce because they were never really married – a Department of Justice lawyer says their marriage is not legal in Canada since they could not have lawfully wed in Florida or England, where the two partners reside."
In this case, Sean Gaudet, a federal lawyer, said marriages are not valid if the country or state were people come from did not legalized gay marriage.
The lawyer of the lesbian couple, Martha McCarthy said "it is scandalous !"
"It is offensive to their dignity and human rights to suggest they weren’t married or that they have something that is a nullity.”
She also said California, which recently faced a similar problem, passed a law recognizing the validity of same-sex marriages involving non-residents so they could obtain divorces.
That's crazy to imagine that we are fighting to have the right to marry and we also have to fight to have the right to divorce!
Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry told The Globe and Mail the federal position will be a major embarrassment for Canada internationally. He said it is too early to predict what effects the move may have on child custody, spousal support or asset division for estranged same-sex couples who were married in Canada.
"One of the benefits that marriage gives to families is security and clarity," Mr. Wolfson said. "They don’t have to deal with a tangle of uncertainty. If the Canadian government is serious about trying to cast doubt on people’s marriages, it not only insults their dignity and hurts them personally, but it raises all sorts of complex legal and economic questions for everyone who deals with them – employers, businesses, banks, and on and on."
The Court will hear the case next month.