National Post

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Friday, May 21, 1999

The dissenting opinion

Karina Roman
National Post

"The statute's preamble refers to the desirability of encouraging and strengthening the role of the family and recognizing marriage as a form of partnership. The statements made in the Legislature when amendments were introduced to extend support obligations to certain unmarried cohabiting opposite-sex couples indicate that these were premised on the social reality that such relationships exhibit a dynamic of dependence, which often arises because the couple has children and the mother is the primary caregiver . . . While long-term same sex relationships may manifest many of the features of long-term opposite-sex relationships, the same dynamic of dependence is not present. Lesbian relationships are characterized by a more even distribution of labour, a rejection of stereotypical gender roles, and a lower degree of financial interdependence than is prevalent in opposite-sex relationships . . . Cohabiting opposite-sex couples are the natural and most likely site for the procreation and raising of children. This is their specific, unique role . . . While individuals must be treated with equal respect and must not be discriminated against on the basis of the stereotypical application of irrelevant personal characteristics, the state is not barred from recognizing that some relationships fulfil different social roles and have specific needs ."

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