Gay U.S. couples are visiting the border city of Windsor, Ontario, to take advantage of Canada's court-ordered legalization of marriage for same-sex couples. On Tuesday Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien announced that he would move to legalize equal marriage rights for gay people throughout the country, making Canada the third nation in the world in which gay people have full marriage rights, after the Netherlands and Belgium.
Recent court rulings have declared that Canada's legal definition of marriage is unconstitutional because it specifies marriage as the union of a man and a woman. An Ontario appeals court last week declared the wording invalid, changing it to a "union between two people." Just days after the Ontario decision, the American Family Association of Michigan called for state lawmakers to strengthen Michigan's existing "one man-one woman" marriage policy by adding it to the state constitution. "I am confident that the overwhelming majority of Michigan residents believe that marriage should remain defined between one man and one woman--period," AFA president Gary Glenn said Thursday in a news release.
No U.S. state recognizes same-sex marriage. Vermont recognizes civil unions, which give same-sex couples the full benefits and responsibilities of marriage, but the unions are separate from legal marriage. By Tuesday a total of 12 same-sex couples had been granted marriage licenses in Windsor, the city licensing clerk told the Detroit Free Press. Three of the couples were from the United States, including a couple from Michigan.