Canadian Court Grants First Same-sex Divorce

A homosexual couple gets what is thought to be world's first same-sex divorce.
( [email protected] ) Sep 15, 2004 05:50 PM EDT

A same-sex couple in Canada was one of the first in line to wed after an Ontario court legalized same-sex “marriage,” but now they are the first married same-sex couple in North America, and possibly in the world, to divorce.

The lesbian couple, only identified as J.H. and M.M. in court papers, separated five days after they married in July 2003.

On Sept. 13, Superior Court Justice Ruth Mesbur granted the homosexual couple a divorce, ruling out the section of the Divorce Act that said only spouses, defined as a man and woman, can divorce.

Mesbur did not comment on whether she would rewrite the definition of a spouse.

According to Lawyer Martha McCarthy, who represented one of the women, the ruling is the first of its kind.

"We believe that this is not just the first gay or lesbian divorce in Canada, but actually the first gay or lesbian divorce in the world," she said after the ruling.

Same-sex "marriage" is currently legal in three Canadian provinces: Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. However, in three weeks, that number may change.

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear a case from Oct. 6-8 on the federal government's draft legislation legalizing same-sex “marriage” across Canada.

Despite the Pope's opposition to homosexual "marriage," a spokesman for Canada's foreign ministry said the legality will be decided by the Parliament. Around 43 percent of Canada's 32 million people identify themselves as Roman Catholic.

On Sept. 4, Pope John Paul commented on marriage between a man and a woman as a God-given institution.

"Established by the Creator with its own nature and purpose, and preserved in natural moral law, the institution of marriage necessarily entails the complementarity of husbands and wives who participate in God's creative activity through the raising of children," said the Pope.

"Spouses thereby ensure the survival of society and culture," he continued, "and rightly deserve specific and categorical legal recognition by the state."

The Pope added: "Any attempts to change the meaning of the word 'spouse' contradict right reason: legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, cannot be applied to unions between persons of the same sex without creating a false understanding of the nature of marriage."