A prominent American homosexual activist is challenging U.S. courts to recognize his same-sex “marriage,” which was granted in Ontario after a provincial court ruled Canada’s ban is unconstitutional.
Rev. Troy Perry, left, and partner Phillip De Blieck were granted marriage license in Toronto last week (Photo: Toronto Star)
Rev. Troy Perry of Los Angeles, and his partner of 18 years, Phillip De Blieck, were issued a married license in Toronto July 16.
Perry, founder of the predominantly homosexual Metropolitan Community Churches, will announce today his campaign to ensure the bond is recognized in his home country.
“I don’t care what the U.S. government says. My partner, Phillip, and I are legally married under Canadian law,” Perry said after his ceremony, according to the newssite 365gay.com.
“We’ve put our nation on notice: We’re coming home and we are legally married,” he added.
Perry, who says he and his partner are “missionaries for marriage equality,” is encouraging thousands of same-sex couples to follow their lead and head to Canada.
As WorldNetDaily reported, Toronto began issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples last month after a provincial court ruled the federal law limiting marriage to heterosexuals violated the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms, part of the Canadian Constitution.
Since then, a British Columbia court has made a similar ruling.
The Ontario decision stemmed from a challenge brought by two same-sex couples who were united in a ceremony at Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto in January 2001.
In response to the ruling, homosexuals in the Detroit area announced they plan to cross the nearby border for a massive group wedding in August.
“I never thought gay marriage would be legalized in my lifetime,” Perry said. “God bless Canada.”
Appeal to Constitution
Perry, who considers himself the first national homosexual-rights leader to marry in Ontario, argues the U.S. government, through a concept called “lex loci contractus,” has recognized marriages performed validly in other countries, including Canada.
A decision not to recognize same-sex Canadian marriages, he insists, could be a violation of international treaty law and of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
“We are not seeking special treatment,” Perry said in a statement. “We seek equal treatment. That is the only gay agenda – equality for everyone under the law.”
“To not recognize my marriage and the marriages of thousands of other same-sex couples, would be discrimination – and we will not stand for that any longer,” he said.
The Netherlands and Belgium are the only countries that treat a same-sex couple’s relationship exactly as one between a man and a woman. While homosexual marriage is not legal in the U.S., Vermont has a civil-union law that allows couples to register and receive most of the benefits and rights of married couples without calling it marriage. Earlier this year, California’s state Assembly passed a historic bill that would award virtually all the rights of marriage to homosexual “domestic partners.”
Thirty-seven U.S. states have passed laws that bar them from honoring same-sex marriage from another jurisdiction. However, in Massachusetts and New Jersey, homosexual couples have filed lawsuits, and some analysts believe if a marriage license were issued in one of those states, it would have to be recognized in all others under the U.S. Constitution’s “Full Faith and Credit Clause.”
A decision in the Massachusetts case is said to be imminent.
Canada’s federal government says it will introduce legislation this fall to allow same-sex marriage. In his announcement of the decision, Prime Minister Jean Chr?tien emphasized the bill will allow religious groups to refuse to perform same-sex weddings.
However, evangelical groups opposing same-sex marriage say they will keep a close eye on that aspect of the bill, particularly since the right of religious exemption was not addressed in the Ontario court’s ruling.
Bruce Clemenger of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, an umbrella group for churches, charged that by not contesting the Ontario decision, the government has allowed the court to unilaterally alter “an institution of vital social significance.”
A prominent Canadian Christian television host plans to retire from his program after 41 years in order to campaign against same-sex marriage.
David Mainse, host of the show “100 Huntley Street,” says he is intent on maintaining the word marriage to mean a man and a woman,” the Toronto Star reported.
A Toronto lawyer who represented the MCC in the Ontario case, conceded marrying in a country that recognizes same-sex unions doesn’t necessarily mean their acceptance in countries that do not.
“The principle is marriages in one country are recognized in other countries, but there are some countries and people and institutions that are going to discriminate against them,” said Douglas Elliott. “They aren’t going to recognize their marriage.”
Employers, for example, might not grant spousal benefits to same-sex couples issued a license in Ontario, he said.
Perry’s partner, De Blieck, however, said his employer, Southwest Airlines, began offering benefits to employees in same-sex relationships about three years ago.