Will a judge decide that a gay marriage from 1974 was legal?
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Manitoba Human Rights Commission is working with a gay couple to receive a judicial review of a 2018 decision. The couple, who held a wedding in a Canadian Church in 1974 despite gay marriage not yet being legal in their province, is looking to get their wedding and marriage legally recognized.
“We’re dealing with irrational prejudice here,” said one of the men, named Chris Vogel. “I mean, we fell in love. We settled down. We’ve lived happily ever after.”
In 1974, Vogel and Richard North got married in a Canadian church within the province of Manitoba. Three decades later, in 2004, Manitoba became fourth province to legalize gay marriage. Afterward, the couple tried to get their wedding and marriage validated by the government.
In 2015, a judge ruled that Vogel and North’s marriage was a “nullity,” and a 2018 ruling agreed. In his written decision over the second case, Judge Robert Dawson wrote that the couple’s sexual orientation had nothing to do with the decision.
— The ArQuives (@TheArQuives) February 11, 2017
“In other words, the respondent has refused to register a marriage that a court has ruled to be a nullity, and it is incidental that the affected party is a homosexual man,” Dawson explained, according to the Winnipeg Sun.
Dawson then suggested the couple and their representation try to appeal to Parliament for a solution.
“Without such intervention, a bizarre and embarrassing irony will persist,” he wrote. “It is neither fair nor just that the law refuses to recognize the 1974 marriage of a homosexual couple whose long-standing activism and advocacy have made it possible for same-sex couples of today to take for granted their right to marry.”
But now, the Manitoba Human Rights Commission is working with the couple, and specifically Richard North, to receive the judicial review.
“We’re dealing with irrational prejudice here,” said Chris Vogel. “I mean, we fell in love. We settled down. We’ve lived happily ever after.”
The court document by the commission states that there is no argument with whether the marriage “ought to be worthy of recognition and registration.” Instead, they disagree about whether Judge Dawson erred in finding North had not suffered discrimination in relying on the original decision. As for this new case, Justice Gerald Chartier of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench will act as overseer.
The court case continues and we’ll keep you updated as it does.