Am I married or not?

Wedding Day May 20, 2011

Getting Married in Kitsilano

I am still just getting started with this blog (I have more background material to publish!) but the world around me isn’t slowing down.  My “ace in the hole” here has been that somewhere along the way of being turned down for permanent residency I actually married a Canadian citizen.  Note that this doesn’t affect my existing application, although I did have to report the marriage to CIC (and I did, sending them a copy of my marriage certificate.)

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I read that the Attorney General of Canada took the position that a marriage to a foreigner is only valid in Canada if it was valid in the country of domicile of those being married. This was a bit shocking, but I took solace in the fact that this is only an argument by the AG, not a decision by a court.  Even rudimentary analysis of this makes it clear that this is a poor argument. It would mean (for example) that if the laws of the foreign country did not allow interracial marriage, Canada would not consider such a couple married.

Complicating matters is that while the US government would not recognize our marriage, my last state of domicile would (at least for now.)  Ugh, what a mess.

For the record: I was married on May 20, 2011.  We had a civil ceremony, in BC, with a local marriage commissioner.  It was an amazing day – easily the best day in the first half of the year, sunny, warm, dry, absolutely beautiful.  Everything just came together perfectly!  Even the lottery ticket I bought that day was a winner (just $20, but still it is the first time I’ve ever had a winning lottery ticket in BC.)

This morning there is encouraging news: the Canadian government will change the laws to recognize gay marriages of foreigners (at least).  It’s not clear to me that they are going to recognize other types of disallowed marriages (interracial, interfaith, etc.)


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