July 2016

Marriage Equality in Scotland
Gay / lesbian wedding icons set

The fight for marriage equality is one that is being fought on a global scale.

Next month, the Anglican Church of Canada votes on marriage equality in the church. As the ULC has reported in the past, this topic is hotly debated within the Anglican Church. The Episcopal Church in the United States changed their canon last year. They were given a “time out” by the international church, but have held to their beliefs that marriage equality is for all of their members. Now, the Scottish Episcopal Church has taken small steps toward changing the canon on marriage within their doors.

The Status of the Canon in Scotland

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church passed a first reading of the change. Currently, in Canon 31, it states that marriage is understood to be between a man and a woman. The proposal is to remove that statement from the canon. This is just one step along the process, because it should be noted that the proposed change is not the final decision. Now that the General Synod has made this proposal, it goes to the seven dioceses within Scotland for more discussion and opinions.

Next year at the General Synod meeting in June, the proposal will get a second reading. To pass, it must get a two-thirds majority of votes. Bishops, clergy and laity are included in this vote. Individual churches send representatives to the General Synod. The first reading received a vote of 5 for, 2 against from the bishops; 43 for, 19 against from the clergy; and 49 for, 12 against, 3 abstentions from the laity. The proposed change does seem to have a great deal of support from the church leadership.

The General Synod is the church’s legislative body, kind of like you might think of Parliament. The Synod members oversee the work of the church and vote on policy. They also might work on national and international issues. A diocese is made up of a group of churches in a particular region. This lets church members and leaders have input into the final canon of the church.

The proposed change would allow clergy to solemnize weddings between people of the same sex. However, there would be a conscience clause for clergy who are opposed to the change. They would not be forced into blessing a same-sex union.

The International Debate in the Anglican Church

Just recently, Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth, daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, married her girlfriend. Although South Africa recognizes same-sex marriages, the South African Anglican law does not. The church has made it clear in the past that gay clerics must remain celibate. Shortly after Tutu van Furth’s marriage was celebrated, the diocese withdrew her license to practice as a priest in the church. The South African Anglican Church is also looking at new guidelines for church members who are entering same-sex unions.

It’s been suggested that there might be consequences from the Primates and Archbishop of Canterbury, the international governing body of the Anglican Church, if countries move forward with changing church canon concerning same-sex marriage. Some countries with an Anglican church still have laws on the books that make homosexuality a crime punishable by death. Other countries, such as Russia and Lithuania, simply have repressive laws that prohibit a propaganda of homosexuality. The leadership from some of these countries does not approve of the changes in other countries.

Pushing for same-sex marriage equality in the church is becoming an international issue. We’ll continue to watch how things in the church become more inclusive for all the members, not just heterosexual individuals. The Scottish Church is taking positive steps, but there is still a long way to go. It will be interesting to watch the vote at the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada this summer to see what happens.


Prime Minister Trudeau Introduces Legislation Protecting Gender Diversity
The heart painted

There have been huge strides in the LGBT Community recently.

Even if you don’t follow politics in the United States, you’ve probably seen something about the transgender bathroom policy debate. In a nutshell, there are certain locations in the United States that are passing laws to limit bathroom use based on a person’s sex at birth, whether the person identifies as a different sex today. It’s turned into a national debate, with businesses, states, cities, and the federal government each weighing in. While this situation should be watched, the real news in Canada is that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has introduced a bill that extends human rights protections of gender diversity to all Canadians.

Gender identity is described as an individual’s personal experience of gender. It’s not the same thing as their sexual orientation. Essentially, it is a sense of being a man or woman, or neither, or anywhere along that spectrum. Often, when a person’s gender identity is different than their assigned sex at birth, they may be called transgender. Cisgender is the term for gender identity that conforms to the gender given at birth. Gender expression is how people present the gender in public, which might be through dress, hair style, body language or voice.

Five Key Things to Understand About the Legislation

On May 17, 2016, the Government of Canada introduced a bill that would give basic human rights to the gender-diverse community. According to the Department of Justice website, there are five things that you should understand about the new legislation.

  1. Gender diversity is an umbrella term that includes gender identity, gender expression and transgender.
  2. The “Canadian Human Rights Act” would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.
  3. The Criminal Code will be amended to include hate crimes based on gender identity or expression. These types of criminal offenses could have longer sentences.
  4. According to a study from 2010, 18 percent of transgender participants had been denied employment based on their gender identity. Transgender individuals face much higher levels of discrimination than cisgender individuals.
  5. Transgender individuals face higher risks of violent crime. One study estimates that at least 20 percent of the participants had been physically or sexually assaulted. Many people do not report these crimes to the police.

Currently, the “Canadian Human Rights Act” prohibits discrimination based on:

  • Race
  • Ethnic origin
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Colour
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marital status
  • Family status
  • Disability
  • Convictions when a pardon or suspension has been ordered

The proposed legislation would make it clear that transgender individuals have protection under the law.

Social Media Discussion

PM Trudeau opened the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #FreeToBeMe. Overall, the bill has support from many different organizations and leaders, including the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board; Bill Morneau, Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre and Canada’s Minister of Finance; Eric Alper, SiriusXM Host; and TELUS, a communications provider. The hashtag is also being used on Facebook with a great deal of support.

Once the legislation is passed, it will be a huge step forward for LGBT rights in Canada and in the international venue. Canada is on the forefront of human rights for all its citizens. Jody Wilson-Raybould,

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, issued this quote:

“In Canada, we celebrate inclusion and diversity. All Canadians should be safe to be themselves. The law should be clear and explicit: transgender and other gender-diverse persons have a right to live free from discrimination, hate propaganda, and hate crime. We are committed to making Canada stronger by ensuring Canadian laws reflect the rich diversity of our people.”

More governments need to take up the fight for inclusion and safety for all their citizens. Trudeau and the other leaders who support this legislation make us proud to live here.

Justin Trudeau Supports the Rights of All
Equal Rights for All

Equal Rights for All

Justin Trudeau is no stranger to being the first. He is the first child of a previous prime minister to hold the same post. He is also the first boy to be born to a prime minister in office. The first child born to a sitting prime minister was a girl. Trudeau became the first PM in the 21st century to attend a White House State Dinner with the first black U.S. president. It should come as no surprise that he is attending the Toronto Gay Pride Parade in July.

The Announcement Came Via Twitter

On Monday, February 22, @PrideToronto announced:

We’re delighted to announce that @JustinTrudeau will be the first Prime Minister in history to attend #PrideTO!

@JustinTrudeau tweeted back:

Very much look forward to being there again, this time as PM. #PrideTO

One follower mentioned that Trudeau always attends this parade, so it’s not really a big deal. We would beg to differ. He’s not only attending the parade as an individual, but as the Prime Minister of Canada. He’s probably the first world leader to attend a gay parade while in office. Trudeau has made no secret of the fact that he is Roman Catholic, and as such, he is in contention with the leadership of the Catholic Church when it comes to the support of gay marriages.

Participate in the Gay Pride Parade

The parade doesn’t actually happen until Sunday, July 3. Now is the time to register a business or organization as a participant in the parade. Small to large companies can be part of this extraordinary event. The Toronto Gay Pride Parade is in its 35th year. The parade celebrates the diversity of life while respecting the differences between people.

Pride Toronto, the hosting organization, wants to create an inclusive community where all are celebrated. The festival includes many services that help create a barrier-free environment. Some of what they provide includes:

  • Free wheelchairs and walkers lent to those in need
  • ASL interpretation
  • Audio descriptions of the parade
  • Braille maps and audio guides for the festival
  • Mobility assistants
  • Accessibility services with washrooms that are easily usable for those in a wheelchair

In addition to accessibility services, Toronto Pride strives to be sustainable by providing water and waste stations that protect natural resources. There is also a section for bike valet parking, and public transit gets involved to alleviate the transportation problems and reduce air pollution.

Trudeau Offers Support

During the parade, Trudeau will march with other government officials, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. The festival is actually open the entire weekend, beginning on July 1. There will be plenty of activities that celebrate the diversity of all people. Make plans to attend to watch history being made and support the rights of the LGBT community.

The LGBT community certainly is gaining ground when it comes to civil rights, but they are still marginalized when it comes to certain topics, like immigration, trans rights, and gay men who wish to donate blood. In schools, LGBT children are bullied and harassed by other students, and sometimes, even by their teachers.

Trudeau has shown a commitment to the issues facing the LGBTQ community. He is taking a stand for civil rights and diversity when he chooses to attend the Toronto Gay Pride Parade. Because of his position as a leader in Canada, this brings national attention to the celebration of civil rights for all. A gay pride parade isn’t only for people who are LGBTQ. It’s for everyone who wants to make sure that people are respected and honored, no matter what their lifestyle is. Trudeau should be commended for taking part in the Toronto Gay Pride Parade.

The History of Gay Marriage in Canada

Canadian thumbs up in front of gay marriage flagThe United States Supreme Court heard arguments on the legality of same-sex unions on April 28. It is a long time coming, and the gay marriage movement has steadily been gaining support south of the border. Thirty-seven states in the U.S. allow same-sex weddings, but they are still banned in 13 others. In 2005, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled gay marriage was legal throughout the nation.

Legal Ruling in Favor of Gay Marriage

Canada was the fourth country after the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain to permit same-sex unions. Prior to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decisive ruling on the issue on July 20, 2005, eight of the 10 provinces and one of the three territories had already legalized it. Ontario was the first province to sanction same-sex unions and did so on June 10, 2003.

Major Events and Milestones

Canada has a long and varied history on gay rights and same-sex unions.


Northwest Territories resident Everett Klippert admitted to having sexual relations with men over a period of two decades. He was deemed an “incurable homosexual,” labeled a “dangerous sex offender,” and sent to jail in 1967. The Canadian Supreme Court endorsed his imprisonment in controversial 3–2 vote.


Justice Minister, and future Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau proposed legislation that would soften anti-homosexuality laws.


Homosexual is decriminalized when Trudeau’s amendments are passed.


Everett Klippert is released from prison.

Feb. 5, 1981

Over 300 men were arrested in Toronto after police raided gay bath houses. The next evening, more than 3,000 people march to protest the arrests.


In 1985, The “Equality for All” report is released by Parliament’s Committee on Equality Rights. The committee members expressed dismay at the treatment of many Canadian homosexuals including discrimination, harassment, abuse and hate propaganda. They proposed the Canadian Human Rights Act be altered to make discrimination against individuals due to their sexual orientation a crime. The following year, the government issues the “Toward Equality” paper stating, “The government will take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that sexual orientation is a prohibiting ground of discrimination in relation to all areas of federal jurisdiction.”


British Columbia politician Svend Robinson announced he is homosexual. He is the first MP to do so and is re-elected for the eighth time the following year.


In August of 1992, the Ontario Court of Appeals ruled sexual orientation should be included in the Canadian Human Rights Act and any failure to do is prejudicial. Later in the year, the ban on gays in the military is ended by the federal courts.


A May ruling by the Canadian Supreme Court grants homosexual couples the same access to social program benefits to which they contribute as heterosexual common-law couples. Despite this ruling and the resulting changes to numerous laws to comply with it, Parliament votes by a wide margin to keep the definition of “marriage” as the union of two people of the opposite sex.

June 10, 2003

On June 10, 2003, Toronto couple Michael Leshner and Michael Stark are wed after the Ontario Court of Appeals upholds a lower court decision permitting gay marriages.

July 20, 2005

Bill C-38 is passed officially legalizing same-sex unions across Canada.

7, 2006

Conservatives attempt to continue the discussion on the legality of gay marriage and the measure is defeated in the House of Commons by over 50 votes.

Famous Gay Canadians

There are number of well-known gay Canadians including:

  • K.D. Lang – Musician
  • Kathleen Wynne – First openly homosexual premier
  • David Furnish – Writer, film director, producer, and husband of Elton John
  • Rick Mercer – TV host and comedian
  • Rex Harrington – National Ballet of Canada former principal dancer

Canada has been one of the most progressive countries in the world on gay rights and gay marriage. It remains to be seen if the United States will follow suit.

U.S. Legalizes Gay Marriage 10 Years After Canada

gay wedding couples

Almost 10 years after same-sex unions were legalized in Canada, America has followed suit. On June 26, the United States Supreme Court made them the law of the land in a historic 5–4 decision. Thirty-seven states had already authorized gay weddings prior to the Supreme Court permitting them nationwide.

Division in the Court

The Supreme Court justices were strongly divided on this issue, as many American have been over the years. The four who dissented, including Chief Justice John Roberts, took the unusual step of each writing their own opinions.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority and said, “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

Canada and Gay Marriage

In Canada, gay marriage was legalized nationwide on July 20, 2005 with the passage of the Civil Marriage Act. It was the fourth country to do so. Over 75 percent of the nation’s provinces and territories were already allowing homosexual couples to wed. Ontario was the first place to permit it and started issuing marriage licenses in June of 2003. British Columbia followed suit in July of the same year. Canada has never had a marital residency requirement and couples from the U.S. would cross the border to tie the knot.


Australia is one of the few English-speaking countries that does not allow homosexual couples to marry. Besides Canada and the United States, the following nations all permit same-sex unions:

  • South Africa
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been a staunch detractor of same-sex weddings, and the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling doesn’t appear to have softened his stance. Shortly after the decision was announced Abbott stated, “What happens in the US is a matter for them.”

The Australian Marriage Act of 1961 has a line in that reads, “Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.” In Australian wedding ceremonies this language must be read aloud.

In February, Australian couple Abbie and Mitch Johnson made a rather unusual request at their wedding. They asked their officiant to please tell everyone to cover their ears in protest when the controversial sentence was being spoken. The guests were happy to oblige. The bride later wrote on her Facebook page, “Some of you may not know, but for a marriage to be legal in Australia your celebrant has to state that a marriage is between a ‘man and a woman’ only. Our celebrant has to say it but we certainly didn’t have to listen to that bull****. So we had our awesome celebrant kindly ask our guests mid ceremony to cover their ears. I hope one day soon this terrible, archaic, unjust law is abolished in Australia. Until then be kind, be proud and stand up for what you believe in.”

Canada has been at the forefront of gay rights. The United States is beginning to catch-up. Hopefully, the situation in Australia will improve with time as well, but it may be necessary to elect a new PM in order to make serious progress.

Famous Weddings in August 2015: A Little Bit of Everything

famous weddings

Summer is prime wedding season, and August 2015 has been particularly spectacular. It is difficult to imagine another month topping it. Some of the couples who have tied the knot in August are royalty, TV stars, athletes and politicians.

Famous Weddings: Beatrice Borromeo and Pierre Casiraghi – August 1

Beatrice Borromeo and Pierre Casiraghi were married on August 1. The wedding took place on Isola Bella, which is one of the Borromeo Islands located in Lake Maggiore, Italy. The Borromeo Islands have been owned and occupied by the bride’s family since the 16th century. The civil ceremony was held at the Palace of Monaco on July 25. The groom is the grandson of late Prince Rainer of Monaco and the nephew of reigning monarch Prince Albert. His mother is Princess Caroline of Hanover and his father is the late Stefano Casiraghi.

Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux – August 5

The August 5 wedding of Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux has been three years in the making. Engaged since 2012, the couple surprised many of their guests who thought they were coming to a birthday party for Justin. A multitude of Hollywood stars were in attendance including: Courtney Cox (who was maid of honor), Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Kimmel, Sandra Bullock, Lisa Kudrow, Howard Stern, Jason Bateman, Tobey Maguire, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt and Will Arnett. The ceremony and reception took place at the couple’s $21 million Bel Air estate. The dinner menu included chicken, fish and fettucine carbonara.

Kelly Enfantino and Devin Setoguchi – August 8

The August 8 nuptials of Canadian hockey player Devin Setoguchi are getting a lot of buzz for an unexpected reason. During the reception, four of Setoguchi’s friends, including Chicago Blackhawks player Kris Versteeg and Jason Demers of the Dallas Stars, performed quite an exotic dance to Sia’s “Chandelier.” The quartet began by stripping off their shirts and slacks to reveal skin-tight body suits and donning masquerade masks. The dance video currently has over 290,000 views. Check out the performance here.

Hilary Curtis and Devon Hamilton Winters – August 14

The highly anticipated TV wedding of The Young and the Restless’s Hilary Curtis and Devon Hamilton took place on August 14. Hilary is played by Canadian actress Mishael Morgan and American actor Bryton James plays Devon Hamilton Winters. Morgan was nine months pregnant when the episode aired.

Sandy Beug and Karl Fix – August 11

Sandy Beug and Karl Fix are avid travelers. They are also “serial wedders” and have been married 12 times in different places around the world. Their most recent nuptials occurred on the deck of a boat off the coast of Greenland. The couple has also exchanged vows in:

  • South Africa
  • Germany
  • Regina
  • Mali
  • Nepal
  • Ethiopia
  • Las Vegas

Julie Snyder and Pierre Karl Peladeau – August 15

Julie Snyder and Pierre Karl Peladeau have been together for a long time and have two children, but they decided to make it official on August 15 in Quebec City. He is a billionaire and leader of the Opposition Party in the Quebec National Assembly, and she is a TV host. Their choice of transportation to the church was unconventional; Peladeau rode a tandem bike with his son, and Snyder was driven to the church in a Tesla electric car. The wedding took place at the Musee de l’Amerique francophone in front of 400 hundred guests. Regis Labeaume, Mayor of Quebec City, performed the ceremony. 

Who’s Next?

Some couples don’t want to broadcast their wedding dates, but these couples are engaged and may tie the knot by year-end:

  • Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello
  • Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko
  • Christina Aguilera and Matt Rutler
  • Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis
  • Allison Williams and Ricky Van Veen

These six couples are only a handful of the ones who wed in August 2015. May they all have long and happy marriages.

Montreal’s Gay Village is in Decline, but is That a Bad Thing?

Gay couple walking through gay village carrying groceriesMontreal’s Gay Village (also called Le Village) is one of the biggest in North America. It is located on the east side of the city. Before the influx of gay and lesbian businesses, it was a poor working-class neighborhood. The heyday of the area was in the late 1990s. The revenue generated by stores, bars and clubs in Le Village has been dropping since then. A number have closed and the ones that remain are being forced to reinvent themselves to stay in business. However, is the decline a positive sign? Many believe it is the result of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lifestyle being more broadly accepted and LGBT people feeling comfortable in other parts of Montreal besides just Le Village.

A Cultural Shift

Attitudes toward the LGBT community have dramatically evolved in Canada and countless other places in the world over the past few decades. In the months before the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, a number of gay clubs and bars were forced to close by authorities. These actions pushed many lesbians and gays to a new area of the city. Several bars were also shut down in 1987 under questionable charges; numerous proprietors and customers were arrested. Even as late as the early 1990s, many in the Montreal LGBT community still felt stigmatized. Prior to 2006, gay establishments were one of the few places gays felt comfortable meeting openly; LGBTs were still subject to discrimination and harassment in other parts of Montreal and Canada. For the most part, that is no longer the case. But as a result, shops, bars and clubs in Le Village have substantially fewer customers. Area merchants increasingly depend on summer tourism to stay in business.

Some Le Village proprietors believe the district will remain largely gay for the foreseeable future, but they also recognize the importance of attracting more people to live and work there. They also feel it is necessary for investors to support other types of businesses besides nightclubs.

Other Gay Districts

Montreal’s Gay Village is one of many worldwide. Some are experiencing issues similar to that of Le Village. Others have become very chic, expensive places to live, with original residents and businesses being pushed out due to exorbitant real estate prices.

  • Toronto

The intersection of Church and Wellesley streets is the location of the largest gay district in Toronto, but it has to compete with other gay enclaves that have popped up throughout the city.

  • San Francisco

The Castro District in San Francisco is one of the earliest established gay villages in the United States. It continues to be one of the leading international symbols of LGBT activism.

  • New York

Several places around New York City are considered gay districts, including Chelsea and Greenwich Village. Greenwich Village was New York’s original gay neighborhood, but many of the earlier inhabitants have had to move because it is now one of the priciest places to live in the city.

  • London

Soho is located in London’s West End. It has been a world-famous entertainment district for years and is home to a number of well-known theaters and movie companies. Prior to the 1980s, it was much racier due to the booming sex industry and raucous nightlife. While some gay bars, nightclubs and sex shops are still there, Soho has become highly gentrified in the past few decades.

  • Washington, D.C.

Dupont Circle is another important site in the history of gay rights. It has become more mainstream in recent years and now has many hip coffee houses and trendy restaurants.

Many business owners in Montreal’s Gay Village are struggling to stay afloat. While this is unfortunate for them, the encouraging news is that Montreal gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people appear to feel less stigmatized by their lifestyle choices. They don’t feel limited to Le Village for shopping, dining and fun.

The Story Behind the Dropping Canadian Divorce Rate

Torn photo of home symbolizes divorceThe number of Canadian couples who filed for divorce dropped by 8 percent between 2006 and 2011, with consistent declines each year. While this positive news is encouraging, there were still over 53,000 couples who initiated divorce proceedings from 2010 to 2011. Many people attribute the dropping divorce rate to fewer partners choosing to marry in the first place and the shift in the traditional definition of family. There are now more couples in Canada that don’t have children than do. Cohabitation and common law unions have also increased in recent years.

Top Reasons for Getting Divorced

There are many reasons couples end up divorced. Here are some of the most common.

  • Different Values and Interests

Some partners may not truly discover their values and interests are misaligned until after they are married, which can cause big problems in a relationship. A disagreement that might have seemed minor when dating may develop into a huge point of contention after the wedding. People also evolve over time, and priorities, likes and dislikes can change during the course of a marriage.

  • Disagreements Over Finances

Money is a contributing factor in many divorces. One partner may be a spender while the other is a saver. Having a very candid conversation about finances before tying the knot is highly recommended.

  • Getting Married Too Young

The age at which partners marry can have a definite impact on the success or failure of the longevity of their relationship. Many studies have concluded people who wed later in life are less likely to get divorced. This trend has been linked to many factors. These factors include having time to date more people, dating the person you marry longer, more opportunity to focus on building a career and more time to fully realize what’s important and necessary for a successful relationship.

  • Infidelity

Infidelity is the cause of many divorces. Some partners may ultimately discover it is too difficult to commit to only one person. Relationships can also dissolve to a point where couples drive each other to search for someone else.

  • Substance Abuse

Having a strong, long-lasting marriage can be difficult, even under the best circumstances. If one or both spouses are addicted to alcohol or drugs, divorce is a much more likely outcome.

  • Emotional or Physical Abuse

Relationships that involve emotional or physical abuse are unhealthy, to say the least. Ending your marriage if you are subject to these circumstances is often the best alternative.


The High Rate of Divorce in Quebec

The percentage of couples who file for divorce varies by province and territory. The national average is approximately 37 percent. Quebec’s rate is substantially higher with a divorce rate of 48 percent, according to Statistics Canada. The lowest rate of divorce is 21 percent in Labrador and Newfoundland.


How Much Does Getting Divorced Cost?

The cost for getting divorced can vary widely depending on whether it is uncontested or contested. When spouses are in agreement about the terms of the divorce, including distribution of assets and custody arrangements if there are children, the proceedings are uncontested. The process is faster and less expensive because it often does not have to be resolved in court, and there are no legal fees. In 2011, the average cost of an uncontested divorce in Canada was $1,353, according to a survey by Canada Lawyers. In contested divorces, the financial stakes are usually higher and more complicated. Lawyers are involved and there may be a lengthy trial. The price tag for a contested in divorce in Canada in 2011 ranged from $7,208 to $74,122, with an average of $12,875.

Going through a divorce can be a difficult experience. The good news is fewer Canadian couples are getting divorced. However, there are many details behind this statistic that better clarify the true situation.

Blind Faith – Universal Life Church Canada Blog

Blind Faith

unnamedAfter the first committee hearing discussing Bill 13 in Ontario, it had become obvious that those who oppose the measure have either not read it, or are starkly homophobic. More than twenty people spoke out against Bill 13 and its counterpart, Bill 14. The bills basically provide protections against bullying for students, and in particular, homosexual youth. Some religious groups and parents are up in arms claiming that the bill will allow the teaching of homosexual sex acts in their schools.

The idea that the bill will promote gay sex or a gay lifestyle in schools is simply preposterous. In fact, when asked by committee members to point out where in the bill this was mentioned, none of the opposition members could. Some even blatantly stated they had not read the bill, and were simply against it because gay-straight alliances (GSA) supported the issue, and in one man’s words, “GSAs promote the gay lifestyle” and the word “gay” is synonymous with “sex.”

It is important to remember that not every religious person supports homophobic ideologies. The Universal Life Church is a non-denominational religious group that supports these protections from bullying. Not only is the Church non-bigoted, but makes sure that any ordained minister are given correct information so as to not be like the parents at the committee meeting who didn’t even know what was in Bill 13.

The Universal Life Church also promotes equality, protection, and understanding for all citizens, regardless of religion, race, or any other factor. With this in mind, the Church allows a person of any religion to get ordained online as a minister for the church, thus giving anyone the same power and ministerial rights that any homophobic clergyperson may have.

Universal Life Church Canada realizes that many children and adolescents are bullied, and they all deserve protection. Given the repeat occurrences of gay bullying that leads to beatings of homosexual youth, which in some cases leads to suicide, it is imperative that protections like Bill 13 be put into place. Religious groups who have spoken out about Bill 13 have made it abundantly clear that they do not believe homosexual youth deserve protection against bullying.

Religious groups do not have to be bigoted. The Universal Life Church believes that all faiths, genders, races, and people of any sexual orientation deserve the same rights and basic human decency as any other. Allowing any member of the public to become a minister by being ordained online is a step that we have taken in the right direction. Extremist members of religions should not be the only ones to have their voices heard. When religious groups make an anti-bullying bill sound like a sex filled affront to their children and beliefs, maybe it’s time to find a more tolerant religious group that doesn’t move forward on blind faith.