Judge says UK civil partners can divorce like married Canadian couples

Ontario court judges that gay couple with a British civil partnership qualified as married

Judge says UK civil partners can divorce like married Canadian couples
14 January 2013

A Canadian judge has decided that a gay couple with a UK civil partnership can be treated as married – and therefore get divorced.

The judgement in Ontario follows legal objections from the Canadian federal Crown.

In 2009 Wayne Hincks and Gerardo Gallardo entered into a civil partnership in London. Both obtained Canadian citizenship after emigrating to Toronto in 2010.

Unlike Canada, British law does not currently allow same-sex couples to marry although civil partnerships allow for similar rights and responsibilities.

After Hincks filed for divorce last year, Gallardo argued that their civil partnership did not amount to legal marriage in Canada. But Sean Gaudet, a lawyer for the federal Crown, defended Gallardo’s standpoint.

‘The Attorney-General of Canada intervened in my very private matter and caused it to be stretched out, almost bankrupting me in the process,’ said Hincks, in an interview with The Globe and Mail,

But despite the crown’s objections, Ontario Superior Court Judge Ruth Mesbur ruled that the couple could be treated as married under Canadian law.

Granting the divorce, Judge Mesbur stated that to do otherwise would have been ‘impermissible discrimination’, running ‘contrary to the express values of Canadian society’.

The decision allows Hincks to launch a claim for the same divorce rights a Canadian married couple would normally be entitled to, whether gay or straight.

Experts say the judgement is likely to set a precedent for the legal status of couples who have been formally partnered in other countries that do not allow same-sex marriage.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch marries gay couple

British actor was asked by one of his closest friends to officiate a civil ceremony in Ibiza, explaining why he could not make the San Diego Comic Con
No thumbnail available

French marriage equality bill met with threats of violence

Public figures including politicians claim violence will erupt as the government moves to legalize same-sex marriage
No thumbnail available

Brendon Urie is married to a woman 'but I find myself being attracted to dudes all the time'

While not saying he's bisexual, Panic at the Disco frontman feels 'no shame' in his attractions
No thumbnail available

London Mayor Boris Johnson backs national HIV testing week

Johnson pledges support for THT campaign encouraging gay and bisexual men to test more regularly for HIV
No thumbnail available

ISIS throw gay man to his death in Syria

Islamic State members reportedly killed a man they found guilty of practicing sodomy by throwing him from a rooftop and then stoning him to death
No thumbnail available

Theater group explores unheard gay stories in new show

London company is producing a show of 'glamour, grit and gay abandon to portray contemporary scenes of LGB life'
No thumbnail available

Why one US gay couple got married eight times

George Takei to narrate Married and Counting documentary charting the couple who married in every US state they could
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Uganda's Speaker fails to deliver 'kill the gays' Christmas present

Uganda's 'kill the gays' bill won't be passed by Christmas, country's prime minister distances himself from proposals, Pope blesses parlaimentary Speaker who is pushing for the law
No thumbnail available

Student challenges gay education in Singapore on live TV

Educators defend Singapore’s position on homosexuality to teenage student