Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Legality of Same Sex Marriage in Canada by Non-Canadians

Canada has long been recognized as a leader in LGBT human rights.  As one of the first countries in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, we became a beacon of hope and inspiration for many LGBT people around the world, many of whom live in fear of persecution for being gay, much less having the right to marry.

From a tourism perspective, same-sex marriage has helped to put Canada in the minds of many LGBT travelers, not only as a place to get married but more broadly for the fact that it became a destination that was known to be safe and welcoming for LGBT individuals.  The economic impact of same-sex marriage, therefore, goes beyond the dollars spent on actual weddings, to the resulting tourism dollars that it generated from making Canada one of the top LGBT destinations in the world.

The possibility that many of the marriages that took place in Canada by non-Canadians might not be legally recognized now is extremely disappointing and damaging to Canada.  As a travel destination, Canada is facing growing competition from countries around the world that see the potential in reaching out to the LGBT traveler.   The message that this puts out to the LGBT community around the world is that Canada is now wavering on its position towards LGBT rights.

To remain a leader in LGBT tourism, and LGBT human rights in general, Canada must ensure that these same-sex marriages by foreigners are recognized.  We cannot afford the resulting economic repercussions this may have on the country.

Darrell Schuurman
Travel Gay Canada