Good news for women’s rights and equality from Ontario, Canada:
After protests, Ontario Premier decides against any faith-based family arbitration. Following widespread condemnation of a plan that would formally allow the tenets of sharia to be used in resolving family disputes, the Premier said he’ll make the boundaries between church and state clearer by banning faith-based arbitrations.
The campaign culminated in protest rallies last week in 12 cities across Canada and Europe, in which activists said that sharia is inherently discriminatory because under most interpretations, women may not initiate divorce proceedings, custody of children is granted to fathers, and sons inherit more than daughters.
The campaign won the support of more than 87 human-rights organizations as well as writers such as Margaret Atwood and June Callwood, who argued that faith-based arbitration threatens Canada’s secular legal tradition and risks curtailing women’s rights. – The Globe and Mail, Monday Sept. 12, 2005.
Same Sex Marriage becomes law
On July 19, 2005, the Canadian Senate passed Bill C-38 into law, making same-sex marriage legal in Canada after most provincial supreme courts declared that it was illegal to deny marriage to same-sex couples because doing so violated their constitutional guarantee to equal rights.
We congratulate all the activists who made that happen, we are happy for all our many great gay friends and we are proud to live in such a liberal and multicultural country. Canada has once more proved its openness and tolerance by being only the third country worldwide, after Belgium and the Netherlands, to legalize same-sex marriage.