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Same-sex marriage makes Canada a hot tourist spot for gay couples


January 22, 2007

LOS ANGELES — People from other countries are coming to Canada to get same-sex marriages in droves, according to a recent report. “More than half of [the] recorded gay weddings involved couples from abroad,” Canoe.ca said.

The report, from Statistics Canada, compiled info from 2003 weddings. In that year, Canada was the only country allowing non-residents to have same-sex marriages.

The report discovered that 3.5% of the marriages in British Columbia were same-sex. More than half of those involved foreigners to Canada.

"Gay and lesbian couples have been coming to Canada since the laws changed in 2003, especially to the big cities," Kaj Hasselriis, executive director of Egale Canada told Canoe. "It's a positive thing for couples who want to be legally married, and it's a positive thing for Canada because it enhances our reputation as a country that is very open and progressive." Even though the marriage is typically not legal in the foreigners’ home country, it is important to them symbolically, Hasselriis said.

“Many have used their marriage in Canada to try to advance their legal fight in their own countries, including Israel and Ireland,” Canoe noted. Hasselriis also told the news service this is great for the economy in Canada, since the tourism industry is benefiting.

Howver, at least one person is against it. Brian Rushfeldt, executive director of the Canadian Family Action Coalition, told Canoe it is a "misuse of a system" for foreigners to try to change their country’s laws by getting married in Canada. "To me, it's unconscionable,” he said. “Why is Canada issuing marriage licences to people from another country? We wouldn't issue a business licence to a company that had no intention of staying in the country."

Same-sex marriage began being legalized in Canada in 2003. It was legalized across the whole country on July 20, 2005. – Issued by Gay Link Content


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