Canadian Court: Marriage is Different From Cohabitation


Institute of Marriage and Family Canada:

Today the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Quebec can exclude cohabiting couples from receiving spousal support in the event of relationship breakdown.

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada applauds this decision because it accurately reflects the fact that social science research shows marriage to be substantively different from living common law.

“There is great consensus from social scientists, no matter their political stripe, that marriage is different from living together,” says IMFC Manager of Research Andrea Mrozek. “Unfortunately, the statistical reality is that people living together break up more readily – even if they do eventually wed. They are more likely to have multiple partners. Their children face more problems – higher rates of school dropout, more drug use and an earlier age of sexual initiation. And single parents – typically mothers – are more likely to be poor. These are some of the harsh statistical realities of living together versus getting married, and it is wise to acknowledge this difference,” says Mrozek.

Marriage protects against poverty and remains the most stable manner in which to raise children. Some researchers have even identified that a new class division is emerging along married versus unmarried lines. This is the message of author Kay Hymowitz’s book, Marriage and Caste in America.


  1. Eric S
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Fantastic- Canada clearly knows the real value of marriage!

    This is probably the reason they have allowed gay couples to be recognized through marriage- that way it can benefit all couples and families, not just heterosexual ones

  2. Son of Adam
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    The legalization of SS"M" is a symptom of degrading family values, which was how this case got as far as the Canadian Supreme Court to begin with. All the benefits of marriage cited are based on the committed relationships between men and women, not any two people.

    Why else do you think that only an average of 5% of ALL homosexuals actually "marry" where it is legal?

  3. Randy E King
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    This shows that Canada knows that marriage exists to benefit society; that society does not exist to benefit marriage, as "SSM" supporters insist.

    There is no benefit to society in recognizing the co-habitation of same sex partners as marriages.

  4. Chairm
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    The way that the SSM campaign got SSM imposed in Canada is much the way that it was done anywhere else where SSM has become entrenched.

    In a word: arbitrarily.

    It began with a court deciding that a same-sex cohabitation, if gay, could suddenly be deemed marital within the confines of common-law marriage. Canadian provinces have had a legal tradition of recognizing unions of husband and wife as independent of government licensing. Even in that legal system, of course, there were boundaries for eligibility based on what marriage actually is.

    And common-law is based on the reasonable person test, in general, applied by the court's judge who distinguishes between civil society and the government.

    At the time of the court imposition of SSM, quite sudden and out of the blue, the vast majority of Canadians understood marriage to be the union of husband and wife for all the reasons that NOM has argued in America. So it was unreasonable for the judge to claim that same-sex cohabitation was marital; and unreasonable for the judge to claim that such cohabitation was marital if it was definitively gay. There truly was no legal basis for the redefinition via common-law.

    The redefinition, supposedly, was presented as limited to unwed cohabitation in regards to official licensing and the like. So distinctions were made but soon disregarded among the cultural elite in universities and in the newsmedia establishments. This is largely due to the influence of the gay identity group activists who were very aggressive in universities where these elites had studied culture and law and so forth. It was a top-down imposition in all possible ways.

    Within a few years a handful of the Canadian provinces (analogous to American states) saw judges redefine common-law marriage -- all while distinguishing it from official, statutory, licensed marriage. And, rapidly, due to a lack of the sort of direct voting initiatives that have defended marriage in the USA, the courtcentric campaign "ripened" to create an artificial controversy.

    From there the same old pro-SSM arguments and rhetoric were presented but the Canadian Supreme Court did not rule on SSM's constitutionality. Instead, it advised the federal government that it had the legislative power to define marriage nationally.

    During a minority government (one in which the ruling Party depended on two smaller parties to remain in office) the SSM campaign pushed for legislation to enact SSM throughout Canada. At the time 2 in 3 Canadian voters did not support that legislation. The SSM argumentation was very poor but the issue then became highly politicized in terms of party politics.

    The party in office, Liberal Party, faced a very strong and advancing Conservative Party (which has since been elected to majority government and has been in office). So it used SSM as a wedge issue. The other two parties, socialist parties -- one mostly present in Ontario and British Columbia (i.e. "British California") and the other exclusive to Quebec (a french nationist party promoting seperation from Canada) ordered their members of Parliament to vote in favor of SSM. They did not allow a free vote on this decisive issue. The Liberal Party allowed a limited free vote but the party leader made it clear that party discipline would be enforced -- indeed members of his party defected. At least one of the socialists also defected.

    The upshot is that the SSM campaign got its imposition against the wishes of the vast majority of Canadians. The parliamentary vote was closer than SSMers like to pretend when the cite Canada as their shining example.

    An interesting set of points that readers might note:

    1. Prior to the imposition of SSM, the Federal Government had a countrywide and very expensive commission on the matter; there were hearings across the country and support for Marriage was very strongly expressed and shown. Very little support for SSM was presented at these hearings -- except by a handful of elitists. The hearings produced huge amounts of thoughtful, rigorous, and scholarly testimony in favor of the man-woman requirement for statutory law.

    But just before the commission's report was published, the Liberal Party shelved it and held an election on anything but the SSM issue. It was after that election and during the minority government to which the Liberals had been reduced that the impositon of SSM was pushed -- during an unusual summer session of Parlilament. The commission's report has never been published.

    2. Note how the common-law distinction is applicable, now, after the imposition of SSM. Yet the SSM campaign had argued -- obviously arbitrarily -- that the redefinition of common-law marriage necessitated the exact same redefinition of federal statutory law.

    So, in brief, Eric S is celebrating the arbitrary exercise of governmental power in Canada for the sake of gay identity politics.

  5. Chairm
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Please note that the judge who had imposed the redefinition of common-law marriage in Ontario was photographed celebrating a same-sex ceremony that same week. It was later revealed that his daughter was in a lesbian relationship.

    That same judge, about two years later, and again out of the blue, imposed co-equal parental status for 1) the biological mother 2) the biological father and 3) the mother's same-sex sexual partner. He had no other reason on offer than that the three had agreed amongst themselves to the arrangement.

    He set aside all legal precedent on parental status. He cobbled together a gaycentric version of "parentage" via third party procreation. He cited the lesbian relationship as central to his consideration of the case. The three adults brought the issue to the court -- however, there was a clear question of standing that was brushed aside.

    This is the judge who introduced SSM via common-law marriage. And that arbitrary act of the judge to impose his own policy preference in place of the actual common-law and the statutory law on these matters is what SSMers relied upon in Massachusetts as well. The Goodridge majority opinon cited that common-law redefinition and modeled its own redefinition on its rewrite of the unambiguous marriage statutes of that state.

    In these cases the judges sat as legislators rather than as impartial members of the court system. The conflict in interest in the Goodridge is that the writer of the pro-SSM court opinion had announced, prior to the case coming before her, that the SSM campaign ought to press the issue up the court system. It was an invitation by a judge who was ready to legislate rather than adjudicate the law.

  6. Teri Simpkins
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Nice interpretation, Chairm, but not necessarily the truth. But then again, the truth isn't always welcome here at NOM.

  7. Randy E King
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink


    I believe the "So what." and "No it isn't." defense you just used was patented by another one of your counterparts already.

    Looks like you came late to the party; again!

  8. Teri Simpkins
    Posted January 30, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Randy, if I'd said So What or No it isn't, then your comment might be appreciated. It's just too bad you can't comprehend what was written.

  9. Chairm
    Posted January 31, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Hold on, Teri, do you think the truth exists and can be discerned? Your various comments suggest you do not. Please explain yourself.

  10. Chairm
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Teri, you used the word interpretation. Then you said that an interpretation is not necessarily true.

    But I stated the facts. The truth is that the imposition of SSM in Canada started in the courts with a redefinition of common law marriage. The distinction was sidelined by the SSM advocates who pushed for redefinition in statutory law. Now the court says the distinction is highly relevant.

    The contradiction ought to shame you as an SSM advocate.

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