NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Canada or Massachusetts? That’s the question, according to Lambda Legal.
The homosexual activist legal organization has published guidelines for same-sex couples considering “marriage” — underscoring the possibility that same-sex “marriage” could be legal in America this year, at least in one state.
The publications give the pros and cons of acquiring a marriage license in both Canada and Massachusetts. One is titled, “Decisions, Decisions: Deciding Whether to Get Married in Canada or Massachusetts”; the other, “We Got Married in Canada, What’s Next?”
The guidelines cover everything from residency requirements to tips for publishing a wedding announcement.
“Your best options are the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Ontario or, shortly Massachusetts,” one of the publications reports.
The Massachusetts’ high court issued a ruling Nov. 18 that same-sex couples could not be denied marriage licenses under the state constitution. It stayed its decision for 180 days, meaning that same-sex couples could be receiving marriage licenses in mid-May. Many members of the Massachusetts legislature are hoping to prevent the ruling from taking effect.
The Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia began granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples last year.
Conservatives are pushing for a constitutional marriage amendment, saying it is the only way to protect the traditional definition of marriage. Every Democrat presidential candidate opposes it; President Bush said in his State of the Union speech Jan. 20 that the country might need it and that the “the sanctity of marriage” must be defended. Four major polls last year showed support for an amendment to be anywhere from 54-58 percent.
According to Lambda Legal’s guidelines:
— British Columbia, Ontario and Massachusetts do not limit marriage to residents.
That means that same-sex U.S. residents can get “married” in Canada, even though those licenses aren’t recognized by the U.S. government. It also will mean that couples from other states likely will be able to get “married” in Massachusetts, and then sue in their home state to get the license recognized there.
— Getting a divorce could be messy for non-residents.
Assuming their home state doesn’t recognize such a license, a couple from, say, Texas would have to live in Canada for a year before a divorce is granted.
The same premise applies to Massachusetts, although that state’s law refers to the residency requirement as “some period of time,” which, according to Lambda Legal, is “not clearly defined.”
— A 1913 Massachusetts law may serve as a roadblock to same-sex out-of-staters getting licenses. The law says that couples from another state cannot get married in Massachusetts if their home state wouldn’t have let them marry.
“It will take some time to learn whether it will be applied at all,” one of the publications states.
Interestingly, both publications issue caution toward filing lawsuits.
“As we’ve seen in Massachusetts, well-planned lawsuits can occasionally advance the battle for marriage equality,” Lambda Legal notes. “But it’s a big decision to file a marriage lawsuit and a mistake to do it without consulting experts.
“If you lose … you’ll establish a legal barrier not just for you and your partner, but for many other same-sex couples as well.”
Lambda Legal and other prominent homosexual activists chose not to sign on to an ongoing lawsuit in Arizona, preferring to place their resources in other states where there was a better chance of success.
One of the publications gives advice for those already “married,” showing in detail how the homosexual movement can be advanced in increments. It advises couples to:
— Fight for workplace benefits, such as family sick leave and health insurance.
“Often, these benefits are offered only to married employees. Now that you’re married you can advocate to receive the same benefits for your family.”
— Throw a wedding reception, picnic or potluck.
“Invite everyone on your block, and tell your wedding story.”
— Send a wedding announcement to the local newspaper.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) coordinates a nationwide effort to have such announcements included in all papers.
— Consider holding a religious ceremony.
“[H]aving a ceremony is a great way to fulfill your own spiritual needs while at the same time educating the members of your congregation,” the publication states.
— Seek family discounts at the local pool and gym.
“There’s so much you can do that doesn’t take going to court,” it notes. “You can advocate for your marriage at work and in your community, advancing your own interests and at the same time blaze a trail for other LBGT families.”