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Who guards the borders of ’gay’? : an examination of the implications of the extension of ’spousal’ status… Van der Meide, Wayne 2001

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W H O G U A R D S THE B O R D E R S OF 'GAY'?: AN EXAMINATION OF THE IMPLICATIONS O F T H E EXTENSION O F ' S P O U S A L ' S T A T U S T O Q U E E R WHO EXPERIENCE MULTIPLE  OPPRESSION  BY W A Y N E V A N D E R MEIDE-LL.B. OSGOODE HALL LAW SCHOOL, 1 9 9 5  A T H E S I S S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F THE REQUIREMENTS FORTHE DEGREE OF MASTER OF LAWS IN THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE  STUDIES  FACULTY OF LAW W E A C C E P T THIS THESIS A S C O N F O R M I N G TO T H E REQUIRED  STANDARD  T H E UNIVERSITY O F BRITISH  COLUMBIA  J A N U A R Y 2001  © W A Y N E VAN DER MEIDE 2 0 0 1  PEOPLE  UBC  Special Collections - Thesis Authorisation F o r m  Page 1 of 1  In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r a g r e e t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d b y t h e h e a d o f my department o r by h i s o r h e r r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood t h a t copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n .  Department o f The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h V a n c o u v e r , Canada  Columbia  http://www.library.ubc.ca/spcoll/thesauth.html  24/01/01  Abstract In this t h e s i s I explore the implications of the extension of ' s p o u s a l ' status to s a m e s e x c o u p l e s from the perspective of q u e e r people w h o e x p e r i e n c e intersectional or c o m p l e x o p p r e s s i o n . T h i s study is g r o u n d e d in a rejection of the n e c e s s i t y or efficacy of attempting to understanding the o p p r e s s i o n s facing q u e e r p e o p l e from only o n e perspective. I reject the notion that s u c h a simplistic a p p r o a c h to understanding o p p r e s s i o n is conceptually honest. Put simply, I argue that what is often characterised a s a purely 'gay a n d l e s b i a n ' a p p r o a c h to reform—namely, the consideration of only o p p r e s s i o n related to ' s e x u a l orientation' or ' h e t e r o s e x i s m ' — i s in reality the prioritisation of the limited perspective of those w h o only e x p e r i e n c e s y s t e m i c d i s a d v a n t a g e related to their r a c e . T h e s e p e o p l e are a small minority of q u e e r p e o p l e . Unlike m a n y other a c a d e m i c s a n d activists, I d o not c o n c l u d e with a ' y e s ' or 'no' r e s p o n s e to the question of whether s a m e - s e x s p o u s a l status s h o u l d be sought. T h e a n a l y s i s p r e s e n t e d in this thesis d o e s not permit s u c h a final c o n c l u s i o n for three r e a s o n s . First, I argue that the implications of the extension of s p o u s a l status vary d e p e n d i n g on the institutional context; in other w o r d s , the e x t e n s i o n of s p o u s a l status is very different in the context of social a s s i s t a n c e law a s c o m p a r e d to the provision of employment-related benefits. S e c o n d l y , I argue that the e x t e n s i o n of s p o u s a l status also varies a m o n g q u e e r p e o p l e ; for e x a m p l e , the implications of the extension of s p o u s a l status to poor q u e e r s are vastly different from t h o s e w h o are wealthy. Thirdly, I argue that the d e c i s i o n to support the extension of s p o u s a l status to s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s is inherently political; this d e c i s i o n cannot be i m m u n i s e d from political c h a l l e n g e on the basis that it is derived from s o m e allegedly objective legal or socio-scientific calculus. Although I h a v e e n d e a v o u r e d adopt a inter-disciplinary a p p r o a c h , this thesis d o e s focus o n legal rights d i s c o u r s e . T o my mind, this f o c u s is appropriate given the e m p h a s i s o n 'rights talk' a n d the a s s u m e d benefits of formal equality within the community of a c a d e m i c s a n d activists working o n q u e e r i s s u e s . In various parts of this thesis, I f o c u s o n the a p p r o a c h e s of activists, a c a d e m i c s , j u d g e s a n d legislators to the i s s u e of the rights of q u e e r people a n d the nature of equality. Ultimately, I c o n c l u d e that until w e begin to appreciate the complexity of the o p p r e s s i o n s facing q u e e r people, a n d avoid the false prioritisation of a 'purely gay and lesbian o p p r e s s i o n ' perspective, w e will be unable to work in coalition or to effect progressive social change.  ii  Table of Contents ABSTRACT  ii  TABLE OF CONTENTS  iii  T A B L E OF FIGURES  v  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  vi  INTRODUCTION: THE QUESTION OF "EQUALITY" A N D THE DISCOURSE OF LAW  ..1  SOURCES  4  OUTLINE  5  C H A P T E R ONE: ESTABLISHING THE 'DIFFERENCE(S)' A M O N G  QUEER  P E O P L E (WITH C O L O U R )  9  INTRODUCTION  9  E S T A B L I S H I N G D I F F E R E N C E ( S ) IN T H E E X P E R I E N C E S O F Q U E E R P E O P L E R E L A T E D T O O U R R A C E ( S )  13  E S T A B L I S H I N G 'DIFFERENCE(S)' AS A P L A T F O R M FOR A C T I O N (OR ' K N O W THINE E N E M Y ' )  18  T H E (MIS)PERCEPTION OF O U R 'DIFFERENCE(S) WITHIN L E G A L T H E O R Y  30  CONCLUSION  43  CHAPTER TWO: WHO GUARDS THE BORDERS OF CANADA'S COMMUNITY: A C A S E STUDY OF THE BENEFITS OF THE  "GAY"  PROPOSED  R E D E F I N I T I O N O F " S P O U S E " WITHIN T H E I M M I G R A T I O N A C T T O I N C L U D E SAME-SEX COUPLES  INTRODUCTION: T H E C E N T R A L I T Y OF ' C A T E G O R I C A L ' E Q U A L I T Y  iii  .52  52  T H E THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK: TRADITIONAL FAMILIAL IDEOLOGY & DECONSTRUCTING GROUP IDENTITIES  59  MERELY 'IDEOLOGICAL' CONCERNS (FOR WHOM)?  64  DECONSTRUCTING THE ' O U R ' IN RELATIONSHIPS  73  CONCLUSION: REPLACING THE DEMANDS OF FORMAL EQUALITY FOR THE POTENTIAL OF PROGRESSIVE STRATEGIES  82  ADDENDUM:  91  C H A P T E R T H R E E : T H E LIMITED L A N G U A G E O F L A W  99  INTRODUCTION  99  'GROUNDS & GROUPS' AND OTHER ESSENTIALIST UNDERTOWS IN SECTION 15 DOCTRINE  104  'SEXUAL ORIENTATION' VS. ' T H E LIVES OF GAYS, LESBIANS, BISEXUALS AND TRANSGENDERPEOPLE'  127  CONCLUSION: THE POTENTIAL USES OF 'EQUALITY' VS. 'JUSTICE' TO REDRESS INTERSECTIONAL OPPRESSION  146  CONCLUSION: F R O M ANTI-ESSENTIALIST T H E O R Y T O  PROGRESSIVE  POLITICS: I N C O R P O R A T I N G I S S U E S O F C O M P L E X IDENTITIES A N D INJUSTICE INTO T H E ' G . L . B . T . E Q U A L I T Y ' M A N D A T E  BIBLIOGRAPHY  iv  159  169  TABLE OF FIGURES Figure 1: O p p r e s s i o n , Inequality and/or Identities a s A s s e r t e d by E G A L E  161  Figure 2: S y s t e m i c O p p r e s s i o n , Inequality(s) a n d Identity(ies)  163  \  v  Acknowledgements T h e r e are of c o u r s e too m a n y p e o p l e in too m a n y p l a c e s w h o h a v e contributed to my understanding of t h e s e i s s u e s to n a m e . H o w e v e r , here are just s o m e of those people. F r o m P a r k d a l e C o m m u n i t y L e g a l S e r v i c e s I w o u l d like to thank R o n S h a c t e r a n d Phyllis G o r d o n , not to mention all the other support staff a n d students with w h o m I w o r k e d in that wonderful p l a c e . F r o m the Ontario H u m a n Rights C o m m i s s i o n I o w e a great debt to Isfahan Merali a n d M a r k Frawley, both wonderful a n d very bright people. F r o m the L e g a l R e s o u r c e s C e n t r e in D u r b a n , S o u t h A f r i c a , I a m eternally grateful to R . J . P u r s h o t a m , o n e of the best h u m a n rights lawyers I h a v e e v e r had the p l e a s u r e of working with a n d drinking with on F r i d a y s . I a l s o must thank Sharita for giving me a c h a n c e to d o great feminist work a n d M a h e n for taking c a r e of m e . F r o m the Policy Institute of the National G a y a n d L e s b i a n T a s k F o r c e , I h a v e to thank J a s o n , M i c a h , Eric, S a l l y , Kris, J e s s e a n d S e a n . A n d , of c o u r s e , I w o u l d n e v e r h a v e b e e n able to do s o m u c h that I h a v e without the k i n d n e s s a n d insight of U r v a s h i V a i d (need I s a y more about that Q u e e r brown w o m a n activist superstar!) At the University of British C o l u m b i a I had the great benefit of working with s o m a n y wonderful p r o f e s s o r s a n d people. I thank in particular, my s u p e r v i s o r D o u g S a n d e r s . A s well, I must thank M a r l e e Kline for being a wonderful t e a c h e r of the kind of feminism I admire a n d emulate. I a l s o thank J o e l B a k a n , S u s a n B o y d a n d C l a i r e Y o u n g . F o r k e e p i n g m e s a n e a n d making sure I didn't spout too m u c h post modern n o n s e n s e , I h a v e to thank B r u c e , C o r e e n , Mairi, G u s t a v o , D y l a n a , L o z z a , M i c h a e l , J o a n n e , Jennifer, B r i a n , Yorrick a n d A m e r . L o v e you all. Of c o u r s e , thanks to M o m a n d D a d for a l w a y s supporting m e a n d being proud of absolutely everything I d o (even if you would prefer I w e r e a straight corporate lawyer).  vi  Introduction: The Question of "Equality" and the Discourse of Law In the last few y e a r s the extension of ' s p o u s a l ' status to s a m e - s e x conjugal relationships h a s dominated the a g e n d a of m a n y G a y , L e s b i a n , B i s e x u a l a n d T r a n s g e n d e r ( G . L . B . T . ) rights a d v o c a c y g r o u p s . B e c a u s e litigation h a s b e c o m e an effective tool in the pursuit of this g o a l — w h e r e lobbying a n d m a s s - a c t i o n h a v e h a d relatively limited s u c c e s s — l e g a l rights d i s c o u r s e (or 'law-talk') h a s b e c o m e pivotal. In this thesis I will critically explore two central a n d interrelated a s p e c t s of this a p p r o a c h to equality s e e k i n g . T h e first a s p e c t of this a p p r o a c h that I will critically explore is the set of a s s u m p t i o n s that are played out w h e n law-talk b e c o m e s the primary a n d ideologically privileged d i s c o u r s e of a political m o v e m e n t . B y a political m o v e m e n t I m e a n o n e that holds itself out a s the a d v o c a t e s for a group of p e o p l e w h o are u n d e r s t o o d o r a c c e p t e d a s sharing similar objectives a n d interests in terms of social c h a n g e . O n e of the central t h e m e s of this thesis is that by f o c u s s i n g on "groups or categories of p e o p l e " (such a s g a y s and lesbians) rather that "communities of interests," vitally relevant differences between people are ignored in the formulation of political a n d s o c i a l c h a n g e a g e n d a s . Ironically, the first part of m y thesis will be that the g o a l s of m a n y G . L . B . T . equality s e e k i n g m o v e m e n t s h a v e b e c o m e de-politicised. T h e y are often understood more a s legal q u e s t i o n s than political o n e s . Court c h a l l e n g e s brought by individual c o m p l a i n a n t s — d i r e c t e d by self-interest, lawyers, legal strategy a n d a handful of a c t i v i s t s — h a v e captured the minds of m a n y within the c o m m u n i t y , substantially reducing the l e v e l s of political d e b a t e a n d contest about the m e a n i n g of G . L . B . T . equality a n d the most effective w a y s to a c h i e v e that g o a l . T h e g o a l of s a m e - s e x s p o u s a l  1  recognition h a s b e c o m e ideological insofar a s its benefits are a s s u m e d . Political v o i c e s within this "group of people" but with a different "community of interest" are r e d u c e d to the level of extremist or individualistic noise pollution. T h i s p r o c e s s is readily apparent, for e x a m p l e , in the d i s m i s s a l of those w h o question the desirability of the extension of s a m e - s e x s p o u s a l status b a s e d o n the financial a n d s o c i a l d i s a d v a n t a g e they m a y e x p e r i e n c e related to their poverty, gender, race etc. T h i s r a i s e s the s e c o n d a s p e c t of my thesis: a critical exploration of the potential m e a n i n g s of equality, both generally a n d in terms of G . L . B . T . p e o p l e . It will be my argument that the e m p h a s i s on the legal redefinition of ' s p o u s e ' h a s resulted in G . L . B . T . equality almost b e c o m i n g s y n o n y m o u s with a n d confined by the c o n c e p t of formal equality. In other w o r d s , it h a s c o m e to be understood simply a s the elimination of any a n d all legal distinctions between t h o s e with o p p o s i t e - s e x conjugal partners and those with s a m e - s e x conjugal partners. F o r m a l equality h a s b e c o m e a n e n d in a n d of itself. T h e benefits of this c h a n g e have b e c o m e a matter of c o m m o n - s e n s e , w h e r e a s any d i s a d v a n t a g e s are quickly d i s m i s s e d a s far-fetched or irrelevant to The G . L . B . T . equality rights m o v e m e n t . But t h o s e benefits a n d d i s a d v a n t a g e s are not evenly distributed. M o r e often than not, it is those people w h o e x p e r i e n c e multiple forms of o p p r e s s i o n w h o will b e a r the brunt of the d i s a d v a n t a g e s of the e x t e n s i o n of s p o u s a l status, while t h o s e w h o would not e x p e r i e n c e o p p r e s s i o n but for their s e x u a l orientation will reap the benefits. I will a r g u e that formal equality is not, a n d should not be understood a s the selfjustifying objective of G . L . B . T . equality rights g r o u p s . T h e elimination of all distinctions b e t w e e n the treatment of o p p o s i t e - s e x a n d s a m e - s e x conjugal c o u p l e s is not a reflection of a purely G . L . B . T . equality rights a g e n d a . It is not a neutral or natural  2  G . L . B . T . perspective. Rather, it reflects the perspective of t h o s e p e o p l e w h o only e x p e r i e n c e o p p r e s s i o n related to h o m o p h o b i a , t h o s e w h o will e v e n benefit from incorporation into s y s t e m s w h i c h will continue to reinforce 'other' o p p r e s s i o n s after the type of h o m o p h o b i a they e x p e r i e n c e is eliminated. It reflects, therefore, the political perspective of a relatively privileged group of G . L . B . T . p e o p l e a n d c o m m u n i t y of interest. Political c h a l l e n g e to the formal equality g o a l s of the G . L . B . T . m o v e m e n t — b a s e d on a r g u m e n t s that gaining s p o u s a l status will b e ineffective in the pursuit of substantive equality or will h a v e a d v e r s e or multivalent implications—related to the status of being a w o m a n , a p e r s o n of colour, poor, etc., 'in addition' to being G . L . B . T . , cannot be d i s m i s s e d a s the introduction of 'other' i s s u e s . It must be understood that s o m e o n e w h o d o e s not e x p e r i e n c e gender-, race-, or class-related o p p r e s s i o n still h a s a gender-, race-, a n d c l a s s - b a s e d identity(ies) . A y o u n g , p r o f e s s i o n a l , wealthy, a b l e - b o d i e d white 1  g a y m a n is not 'just gay.' H e is a y o u n g , professional, wealthy, a b l e - b o d i e d white g a y man. I will not be a r g u i n g , however, that the pursuit of the recognition of s a m e - s e x s p o u s a l relationships is inherently invalid. I will argue that it cannot be assumed  to promote the  equality of all G . L B . T . people. F o r m u c h of this t h e s i s I will attempt to articulate the w a y s in w h i c h the a c h i e v e m e n t of s a m e - s e x s p o u s a l recognition will d i s a d v a n t a g e or reinforce the o p p r e s s i o n s e x p e r i e n c e d by m a n y G . L . B . T . p e o p l e . H o w e v e r , t h e s e are c o m p l e x a n d interdisciplinary i s s u e s that involve q u e s t i o n s of self-determination, e c o n o m i c s , cultural identity a n d several types of historical d i s a d v a n t a g e — i n particular, h e t e r o s e x i s m , c l a s s i s m , race a n d g e n d e r o p p r e s s i o n . B y d i s c u s s i n g t h e s e i s s u e s I do  3  not pretend to arrive at a n y universally applicable c o n c l u s i o n s about what G . L . B . T . equality looks like or whether s a m e - s e x s p o u s a l recognition is g o o d or b a d . Rather, in laying out t h e s e c o m p l e x i s s u e s , t h e s e c o m p l e x q u e s t i o n s , I h o p e to demonstrate only that the m e a n i n g of G . L . B . T . equality cannot be a s s u m e d or derived from a n exclusively legal d i s c o u r s e . Ultimately, my fundamental c h a l l e n g e is to two interrelated p r o c e s s e s : 1. the a p p r o a c h through w h i c h law-talk a n d formal equality h a v e b e c o m e ideological, and 2. the w a y in w h i c h categories are articulated and u n d e r s t o o d , n a m e l y , a s groups of people rather than s h a r e d communities of i n t e r e s t s ) . I will not attempt to provide any universal a n s w e r s b e c a u s e my v o i c e , my a n a l y s i s a n d my c o n c l u s i o n s are a l s o political. At best, all I c a n do is h o p e to contribute to a chorus of p e r s p e c t i v e s about t h e s e c o m p l e x questions. T o lay claim to the a n s w e r of what G . L . B . T . equality looks like, would be antithetical to the very b a s i s of the a p p r o a c h I take to t h e s e i s s u e s .  SOURCES Within the last few y e a r s , a substantial body of work applying w h a t I understand a s a n intersectional, or multi-perspective a p p r o a c h to G . L . B . T . equality i s s u e s has e m e r g e d . C a n a d i a n legal s c h o l a r s s u c h a s S u s a n B. B o y d a n d S h e l l e y G a v i g a n have 2  3  effectively articulated a feminist a n d c l a s s b a s e d — a n d s e l f - c o n s c i o u s l y race sensitive—critique to the dominant a p p r o a c h to G . L . B . T . equality a n a l y s i s . T h e s e two authors, in particular, h a v e effectively applied their e x t e n s i v e k n o w l e d g e of family ideology to interrogate the value of pursuing s a m e - s e x s p o u s a l recognition. B y accenting the normative, a n d often o p p r e s s i v e nature of the d o m i n a n t understanding of  4  what 'family' is, they h a v e c h a l l e n g e d a s s u m p t i o n s about the benefits of incorporation of G . L . B . T . people into f a m i l y - b a s e d , or s p o u s a l - b a s e d institutions. In this regard, Claire Y o u n g h a s contributed a n invaluable body of work about the potentially o p p r e s s i v e implications of incorporation into a tax s y s t e m in w h i c h m a n y c l a s s i s t a n d g e n d e r o p p r e s s i v e tax m e a s u r e s are o r g a n i s e d by reference to s p o u s a l s t a t u s . In the United 4  S t a t e s legal s c h o l a r s s u c h a s Darren L. H u t c h i n s o n a n d activists s u c h a s Urvashi V a i d 5  6  a n d B a r b a r a S m i t h h a v e written a n d w o r k e d for y e a r s towards the g o a l of articulating 7  a n d representing a progressive, and highly c l a s s and race sensitive a p p r o a c h to G . L . B . T . equality. T o t h e s e , a n d m a n y other p i e c e s of s c h o l a r s h i p I h o p e , in this thesis, to contribute a broad a n a l y s i s of several G . L . B . T . equality i s s u e s currently being d i s c u s s e d , a n d litigated, a c r o s s C a n a d a . I rely upon a n d refer to s e v e r a l different p e r s p e c t i v e s , including a n understanding of feminist, c l a s s a n d r a c e b a s e d theories. Ultimately, although this thesis refers in large part to C a n a d i a n law a n d legal institutions, I hope to avoid privileging legal d i s c o u r s e . Unlike m a n y texts written by lawyers about law, I will apply a contextual a n d interdisciplinary a p p r o a c h to understanding c h a n g e s to the law a n d legal institutions. I will contest, rather than a s s u m e the implications of t h e s e legal c h a n g e s : investigate their multivalent c o n s e q u e n c e s a n d rigorously apply their c o m p l e x implications to the real life c i r c u m s t a n c e s of a variety of G . L . B . T . p e o p l e , w h o s e place in C a n a d i a n society varies a c c o r d i n g to their r a c e , c l a s s and/or g e n d e r in addition to their s e x u a l orientation.  OUTLINE  In the first chapter of this t h e s i s I will introduce the topics of race a n d r a c i s m . M o r e  5  particularly, I try to illustrate the importance of our racial identity(ies) a s G . L . B . T . people of colour. In a c o n s c i o u s attempt to d i s p l a c e a powerful myth of a c a d e m i c d i s c o u r s e , n a m e l y its claim to objectivity, this chapter is written in a style w h i c h I intended to reflect the importance of m y o w n racial identity(ies) to m y politics. I will d e s c r i b e h o w a n d w h y the marginalization of racial identity(ies) within the G . L . B . T . m o v e m e n t h a s resulted in mistrust a n d animosity b e t w e e n a n d a m o n g different racial g r o u p s . I a l s o d i s c u s s the s h o r t c o m i n g s of legal a n d a c a d e m i c a n a l y s e s about G . L . B . T . equality rights that either ignore or diminish the r e l e v a n c e of 'other' forms of o p p r e s s i o n . In the s e c o n d chapter, I will u s e p r o p o s e d c h a n g e s to C a n a d i a n immigration law a s a c a s e study. T h r o u g h exploring t h e s e p r o p o s e d c h a n g e s , in detail, I will elaborate upon a n d contextualise s o m e of the race i s s u e s raised in C h a p t e r O n e while a l s o introducing a more substantive d i s c u s s i o n of g e n d e r a n d c l a s s . M y f o c u s will include, but will not be limited to, a d i s c u s s i o n of the p r o p o s e d addition of a category for unmarried s a m e - and o p p o s i t e - s e x ' s p o u s e s ' within the immigrantion s p o n s o r s h i p s y s t e m . Indeed, it is the central argument of this chapter that this p r o p o s e d n e w category c a n n o t be v i e w e d in isolation, but s h o u l d rather be understood a s a broader p r o c e s s through which the rights of certain types of immigrant families are w e l c o m e d to C a n a d a , while others  are  restricted e v e n more. In the first part of this chapter, I will d i s c u s s the centrality of the d e m a n d for what I h a v e termed 'categorical equality,' w h i c h is the d e m a n d that married p e o p l e , opposites e x a n d s a m e - s e x conjugal partners be contained within the s a m e category. I will a r g u e that although it is a s s u m e d to be a prerequisite to q u e e r p e o p l e attaining full equality within the 'formal equality' a p p r o a c h to reform, in certain contexts categorical equality with h e t e r o s e x u a l norms will frustrate the dignity of s o m e q u e e r p e o p l e or communities  6  of interest within that group. In the s e c o n d part of this chapter I lay out the theoretical groundwork upon which the chapter is b a s e d : a n understanding of 'family ideology' a n d notions of g r o u p - b a s e d identity(ies). In the third part of the chapter I lay out s o m e concrete e x a m p l e s of w a y s in which incorporation of s a m e - s e x conjugal partners m a y result in the reinforcement of 'other' oppressions. In the fourth part of the chapter I illustrate s o m e e x a m p l e s of the w a y s in which people in s a m e - s e x relationships, w h o e x p e r i e n c e multiple o p p r e s s i o n s , are d i s a d v a n t a g e d from being incorporated within ' s p o u s a l ' c a t e g o r i e s . In the c o n c l u s i o n to this chapter I d i s c u s s s o m e c o n c r e t e alternative a p p r o a c h e s for promoting a more broadly framed understanding of equality for t h o s e in s a m e - s e x relationships, o n e which is b a s e d o n a c l o s e scrutiny of c o m m u n i t y of interests, rather than a group of people. C h a p t e r T h r e e is primarily a d i s c u s s i o n a n d critique of the S u p r e m e C o u r t of C a n a d a ' s understanding of c o n c e p t s related to equality. In particular, I question whether or not the jurisprudence of the Court c a n meaningfully a d d r e s s the e x p e r i e n c e s of those w h o e x p e r i e n c e multiple o p p r e s s i o n , not just o n e or the other. I will hold up the Court's, a n d my o w n doctrinal a n a l y s i s of equality jurisprudence against the broader s o c i o political context in w h i c h it exists. I will argue that although s o m e justices (such a s L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J.) have attempted to grapple with differences within g r o u p s of d i s a d v a n t a g e d p e o p l e , the C o u r t ' s fundamental reliance upon categories of people, rather than c o m m u n i t i e s of interests, frustrates its ability to meaningfully c o p e with the complexities of multiple a n d intersectional social o p p r e s s i o n .  7  In the C o n c l u s i o n to this t h e s i s I will return to a d i s c u s s i o n of the inherently political nature of the q u e s t i o n : ' W h a t is e q u a l i t y ? ' or ' W h a t is G . L . B . T . equality i s s u e ? ' I will outline a political a p p r o a c h to contesting v a r i o u s a p p r o a c h e s , p e r s p e c t i v e s a n d priorities related to t h e s e e s s e n t i a l , yet too often n e g l e c t e d d e b a t e s . I will not only articulate my r e s i s t a n c e to the universal a n d uncritical a c c e p t a n c e of the pursuit of s a m e - s e x s p o u s a l recognition, but a l s o my r e s i s t a n c e to its carte b l a n c h e rejection. R a t h e r , I will e m p h a s i z e that it m a y v e r y well be that the pursuit of s a m e - s e x s p o u s a l recognition is the most politically f e a s i b l e a n d e f f a c a c i o u s a p p r o a c h to promoting the equality of G . L . B . T . p e o p l e . But this must be d e t e r m i n e d by political c o n s e n s u s , not theoretical or ideological fiat, nor legal j u d g e m e n t .  I have used this spelling to emphasize a theme which is discussed throughout this thesis: namely, that people's identities are complex, plural and interactive, but also unified; people's identities are not simple nor severable. S e e for example, "(Re)Placing the State: Family, Law and Oppression" (1994) 9(1) Canadian Journal of Law and Society 39 - 73; "Best Friends or Spouses? Privatization and the Recognition of Lesbian Relationships in M. v. H." (1996) 13 Canadian Journal of Family Law 321 - 341; "Family, Law and Sexuality: Feminist Engagements," (1999) Vol. 8, No. 3 Social & Legal Studies 369 - 390; and Boyd, Susan B. & Elizabeth A. Sheehy, "Introduction" in Canadian Feminist Perspectives in Law: An Annotated Bibliography of Interdisciplinary Writings (Toronto: Resources for Feminist Research, OISE, 1989). S e e for example, "Paradise Lost, Paradox Revisited: The Implications of Familial Ideology for Feminist, Lesbian and G a y Engagement to Law" (1993) 31 Osgoode Hall L.J. 589 - 624; "Law, Gender, and Ideology" in A. Bayefsky (ed.) Legal Theory Meets Legal Practice (Edmonton: Academic Printing and Publishing, 1988), 283 - 295; and "Legal Forms, Family Forms, Gendered Norms: What is a Spouse?" (1999) 14-1 Canadian Journal of Law and Society 127 - 157. Young, Claire F.L., "Taxing Times for Lesbians and G a y Men: Equality at What Cost?" (1995) Dalhousie Law Journal 534 - 559 and "Public Taxes, Privatizing Effects, and Gender Inequality" in Susan B. Boyd, ed. Challenging the Public/Private Divide: Feminism, Law and Public Policy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997) 307 - 329 See, for example, "Out Yet Unseen: A Racial Critique of G a y and Lesbian Legal Theory and Political Discourse" Vol. 29, Number 2 Connecticut Law Review 561 - 645. S e e for example, Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation (New York: Doubleday, 1995). Barbara Smith, ed., Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology (Watertown, MA: Persephone Press, 1983). 1  3  4  5  6  7  8  Chapter One: Establishing the 'Difference(s)' Among Queer People (with Colour)*  INTRODUCTION T h e p u r p o s e of this thesis, a n d this chapter more specifically, is to s e a r c h for s o m e of the d i f f e r e n c e ( s ) among 2  people w h o are c l u m p e d together by this society a s 'queer'  b e c a u s e of their derogation from the dominant heterosexual norm. G i v e n the current a c a d e m i c trend to reject grand theories in favour of more context a n d subject specific a n a l y s e s , this m a y s e e m a simple task. Indeed, e v e n within the growing body of work specifically o n the subject of t h o s e w h o are q u e e r , authors are increasingly adopting a p p r o a c h e s that either question or flatly reject any universal notion of the ' h o m o s e x u a l . '  3  T h e o n c e unifying c o n c e p t — a t least for those privileged e n o u g h to only e x p e r i e n c e o n e form of o p p r e s s i o n — o f ' s e x u a l orientation' with its object of the ' h o m o s e x u a l , ' h a s s e e m i n g l y given w a y under the strain of deconstruction. For e x a m p l e , the reality of s e x i s m , g e n d e r c o d e s / c o d i n g a n d patriarchy h a s been well articulated by t h o s e w h o insist on the difference between g a y m e n ' s a n d lesbian w o m e n ' s lives. A s S h a r o n D a l e S t o n e h a s o b s e r v e d : ' L e s b i a n s are women.  T h i s point is  crucial for understanding lesbian existence within a h e t e r o s e x u a l , patriarchal context. A s w o m e n , l e s b i a n s do not h a v e a c c e s s to male privilege.' A s a result of the divergent 4  a n d polarizing impacts of t h e s e f o r c e s o n p e o p l e equally queer(ed) yet differently g e n d e r e d , the ' h o m o s e x u a l ' s o o n b e c a m e ' g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s . ' But a s the definitions a n d categories u s e d by s o m e people c h a n g e d , the very unified (not 'unifying') force of c o m p u l s o r y heterosexuality persisted a s a dominant norm in this s o c i e t y . In 5  appreciation of this reality, the categories o f ' g a y s and l e s b i a n s ' w e r e in turns s u p p l e m e n t e d with the (sub-)categories of 'bisexuals,' ' t r a n s s e x u a l s , '  9  'hermaphrodites,'...and s o the list of others w h o a l s o t r a n s g r e s s e d from c o m p u l s o r y heterosexuality grew. T h i s p r o c e s s (of 'commatization') continued until the list w a s s u p p l a n t e d , by s o m e at least, with the less linguistically c u m b e r s o m e term 'queer.' I would s u g g e s t , however, that in the push for inclusion within the category 'queer' o n e of the central m i s s i o n s of that m o v e m e n t , of the c o n c e p t ' Q u e e r ' w a s lost in the shuffle: the deconstruction of categories and (fixed) identities by demonstrating that t h e s e c a t e g o r i e s are social constructions, not natural p h e n o m e n a . T h e boundary 6  setting c o n c e p t of ' s e x u a l orientation' m a y have b e e n rhetorically s u b m e r g e d by s o m e , but its u s e f u l n e s s , validity a n d m e a n i n g continue to be a s s u m e d a n d largely u n q u e s t i o n e d , particularly in legal d i s c o u r s e . T h i s creation of a 'fixed identity primacy' 7  b a s e d upon the c o n c e p t of s e x u a l orientation inappropriately o b f u s c a t e s the very real difference(s) w h i c h exist a m o n g us generally, a n d a s q u e e r s .  8  ' G a y a n d l e s b i a n ' i s s u e s related to ' s e x u a l orientation' h a v e b e e n constructed a s constituting a 'pure' c o r e , s e p a r a t e from other 'non-gay a n d n o n - l e s b i a n ' i s s u e s unrelated to that identity. In s o doing, the question of w h e t h e r a n y g a y or lesbian 9  p e r s o n ' s identity c a n e v e r be significantly understood without reference to all but one a s p e c t of their identity h a s b e c o m e a non-question. T h e i s s u e s of race a n d r a c i s m , for e x a m p l e , are often at best peripheral a n d at worst n o n - i s s u e s lost in a theoretical, and political o c e a n of neglect and s i l e n c e .  10  I w i s h in this chapter to begin a p r o c e s s of challenging the boundary of ' s e x u a l orientation' by 'racializing' that c o n c e p t and the category of ' q u e e r . ' difference(s) among  us be a c k n o w l e d g e d .  12  11  I insist that the  W e simply are not all the s a m e b e c a u s e w e  are queer. In the a b s e n c e of this recognition, q u e e r p e o p l e of colour, w h o for the most part h a v e no c h o i c e but to a c k n o w l e d g e our race(s), cannot exist in the framework of ' s e x u a l orientation' a s defined by m a n y q u e e r activists a n d a c a d e m i c s . T h e category of 10  "queer" b a s e d exclusively on "sexual orientation" must be revitalised through an exploration of the s e v e r a l , often divergent c o m m u n i t i e s of interests w h i c h m a k e - u p that category. T h i s p r o c e s s should not, however, be understood a s purely a n e x e r c i s e in selfinterest: a n attempt to simply 'stake-out' our identity(ies) a s q u e e r p e o p l e with colour. S u c h a n e x e r c i s e is surely valid, however, given the painful marginalization of our identity(ies) a s q u e e r p e o p l e with colour within m a i n s t r e a m political a n d legal d i s c o u r s e a m o n g q u e e r p e o p l e . A s M a r l o n R i g g s , a g a y B l a c k poet h a s written: I w a s mute tongue-tied, burdened by s h a d o w s a n d s i l e n c e . Now I speak a n d my burden is lightened lifted free.  13  H o w e v e r , a s I shall a r g u e , the recognition of all of our difference(s) is a l s o an important a s p e c t of a p r o c e s s which will better e n a b l e us to c h a l l e n g e or 'queer' the boundary of s e x u a l orientation itself, a n d c o n s e q u e n t l y h e t e r o s e x i s m  1 4  It is only w h e n our  difference(s) a r e a c k n o w l e d g e d , that w e will be a b l e to get b e y o n d the stumbling block of the difference between  us and incorporate our 'political identity(ies)' a s in the drive for  liberation, no longer stymied by 'identity p o l i t i c s . '  15  P a r a d o x i c a l l y , it is only o n c e our  difference(s) h a v e b e e n e m b r a c e d that w e will be a b l e o v e r c o m e the difference between us a n d cultivate our 'inter-connectivity' a s a tool in a united c h a l l e n g e to heterosexism.  16  I f o c u s in this chapter o n the i s s u e s of race a n d r a c i s m b e c a u s e a s a g a y m a n with colour, f a c e d with either s i l e n c e or explicit marginalization within q u e e r communities, I must. But I should not be understood a s prioritizing difference(s) related to race o v e r other, equally relevant o n e s within q u e e r c o m m u n i t i e s , including a m o n g others: c l a s s , 11  a g e , g e n d e r a n d ability.  17  T h e effects of t h e s e forms of o p p r e s s i o n will be d i s c u s s e d  more extensively in s u b s e q u e n t chapters. D e p e n d i n g on the particular situation or relationship o n e d i m e n s i o n of difference m a y be more pertinent than others; however, the understanding of difference(s) that I p r o p o s e d o e s not rely u p o n a n y c o n c e p t u a l (or 'universal') hierarchical ordering of difference. T h e c o n c e p t of 'difference(s)', unlike that of 'difference', is equally applicable to all people; it s h o u l d not be understood a s a flag u s e d to identify or d e m a r c a t e a n a r e a in which only o n e 'type' of p e o p l e m a y c o n g r e g a t e . T h e difference(s) to w h i c h I refer d o not inhere in a n y particular p e r s o n , group of p e o p l e or e v e n identity. T h e differences about w h i c h I will s p e a k are a n a s p e c t of the relationships between a n d a m o n g all people, between different communities of interests.  18  M o r e o v e r , difference(s) d o not exist exclusively a s a n a s p e c t of law (whether understood a s a c o e r c i v e or constitutive force, or both), but a s e x p e r i e n c e s w h i c h should be allowed to permeate the interdependent fields of law a n d society. Lastly, a s alluded to a b o v e , the difference(s) that I will articulate s h o u l d not be u n d e r s t o o d a s a rearticulation of identity politics. Indeed, if anything is to c o m e of this chapter, it is hoped that the reader will appreciate my attempt to construct a theory of difference(s) that is a n a t h e m a to s e v e r a l of the less constructive a s p e c t s of identity politics. Rather, recognition of the difference(s) w h i c h exist a m o n g q u e e r p e o p l e should be understood not a s an e n d in itself, but a s part of a p r o c e s s w h i c h will help us to understand how h e t e r o s e x i s m w o r k s to d i s e n f r a n c h i s e a n d marginalize q u e e r p e o p l e . Until this is r e c o g n i z e d w e remain 'queer' communities s e p a r a t e d from a n e s s e n t i a l s o u r c e of our liberatory potential: our s h a r e d community of interest. T h i s is primarily a methodological chapter. M y g o a l is to o p e n rather than c o n c l u d e d i s c u s s i o n on the subject of difference(s) related to race, a n d otherwise, a m o n g q u e e r 12  p e o p l e . T o that e n d , I shall introduce e x a m p l e s of the w a y s in w h i c h that notion h a s b e e n (mis)represented in s e v e r a l interdependent a r e a s : the lived e x p e r i e n c e s of q u e e r p e o p l e ; a s a n a s p e c t of m a i n s t r e a m political d i s c o u r s e a n d action; a n d lastly, a s an a s p e c t of legal theory. I d o not claim to offer an e x h a u s t i v e description of any of t h e s e a r e a s in this p i e c e , but wish merely to highlight certain important a s p e c t s of the treatment of our difference(s) in all three a r e a s . I h o p e through this a p p r o a c h to draw the reader into a methodological framework that will prove useful for more detailed s t u d i e s — s u c h a s the o n e s contained s u b s e q u e n t chapters—further political d i s c o u r s e and possibly action.  E S T A B L I S H I N G D I F F E R E N C E ( S ) IN T H E E X P E R I E N C E S O F Q U E E R P E O P L E R E L A T E D TO O U R RACE(S)  W e , all of u s , including q u e e r people, s h a r e e x p e r i e n c e s that in s o m e w a y c o r r e s p o n d to our r a c e ( s ) .  19  M o r e o v e r , in this multi-racial society, although race m a y not  be a universal or e v e n biological truth, r a c i s m is a social fact w h i c h influences all our lives, including the lives of q u e e r people w h o b e a r the brunt of h e t e r o s e x i s m , but not racism.  20  It s e r v e s , sadly, to privilege s o m e o v e r others in a plethora of w a y s , to  d e m a r c a t e different communities of interests e v e n within the s a m e "group of people." But it is not my intention to indict those with a particular type of privilege, or e v e n simply to lament the injustice e x p e r i e n c e d by t h o s e without. R a t h e r , it is the function of this section to e s t a b l i s h , to introduce and e v e n e m b r a c e the fact of our race(s) a s a n a s p e c t of the difference(s) a m o n g us a s q u e e r people. T h i s might s e e m a n inflammatory, exclusionary, trite, or worst of all, a self-indulgently irrelevant e x e r c i s e ; however, I shall argue that it is a b a s i c step)—and although difficult, not a s painful a s o n e might at first a s s u m e — i n the p r o c e s s of realizing our full potential of our ability to c h a l l e n g e oppression. 13  21  Within d i s c o u r s e about h u m a n rights the i m a g e s of the race(s) of people with colour are d i s t o r t e d .  22  In this context the race(s) of people with colour b e c o m e s s y n o n y m o u s or  e v e n derived from the c o n c e p t s of discrimination a n d o p p r e s s i o n . T h i s is sadly an all too u n d e r s t a n d a b l e misperception. It is true that m a n y people with colour suffer racism motivated by the racial identity(ies) w h i c h h a s b e e n constructed a n d foisted upon t h e m . But the fact of r a c i s m should not be automatically linked conceptually with the race(s) of people with colour. R a c i s m d o e s not inhere, a s a natural a s p e c t of the race(s) of people with c o l o u r .  23  It  is rather a s o c i a l force, a n o p p r e s s i v e impulse w h i c h exists a m o n g us all, in our relations with e a c h other. A r g u a b l y , all people with colour in this society at a certain level begin to e x p e r i e n c e their race(s) a s a s o u r c e of o p p r e s s i o n . S a d l y m a n y of us may e v e n internalize this feeling of the connection b e t w e e n o p p r e s s i o n a n d our race(s). But for me this p r o c e s s of internalization of o p p r e s s i o n , of r a c i s m , a n d its connection to (my) race(s) is a false c o n s c i o u s n e s s that I must strive to o v e r c o m e . It is only w h e n w e all strive to o v e r c o m e this false connection between our race(s) a n d r a c i s m that w e will be able to appreciate that w h i c h is positive about our race(s). P e r h a p s I a m using language incorrectly by using the word 'race(s)' in this way. I might be better understood if I write about culture o r ethnicity. But to my m i n d , the distinction is at a certain level d i s i n g e n u o u s b e c a u s e it o b f u s c a t e s the fact that (our) race(s), like r a c i s m , cannot be divided from their performance. R a c e ( s ) are not a set of biological facts: skin colour, the texture of hair or level of intelligence. R a c e ( s ) are s o c i a l constructions that are e x p r e s s e d by the assignation of attributes—like a behavioural characteristic, e.g. ' B l a c k people are l a z y ' — t o t h o s e biological features, h o w e v e r arbitrarily. W h e t h e r e x p r e s s e d in terms of physical and/or behavioural 'biology,' race(s) are s o c i a l constructions that  14  inform our relationships with e a c h other a n d h a v e resulted in certain c o m m u n i t i e s of interest a n d affiliation. A l t h o u g h w e m a y w i s h to c h a l l e n g e the legitimacy of the s o c i a l construction of race(s)—whether a s viciously negative (i.e. racist) or simply mistaken—it is equally mistaken to ignore the effects of that construction. O u r race(s) are now a part of our identity(ies) in their performance and a s a part of our being: they h a v e b e e n epistemologically grafted to our skin tone, our hair's texture a n d the width of our n o s e s . O u r race(s) c a n a n d are, however, a l s o e x p r e s s e d a s s h a r e d e x p e r i e n c e s , c o m m u n i t i e s of interests, a n d a connection to others of the s a m e race(s). S a d l y , for people with colour in this society, m a n y of those s h a r e d e x p e r i e n c e s m a y be negative. But not all of t h o s e e x p e r i e n c e s are negative a n d the c o n n e c t i o n is certainly not negative.  24  That c o n n e c t i o n is both important a n d potentially positive. T h e recognition of  the various c o m m u n i t i e s of interests related to race is vital. Therefore, w h e n I s p e a k of my race(s) a s a p e r s o n with colour, both its importance to me a n d a s a s o u r c e of the difference(s) a m o n g us (as q u e e r p e o p l e , for e x a m p l e ) that statement should not be a s s u m e d to be a c h a r g e of r a c i s m nor a s a n attempt to c h a l l e n g e the validity of the racial identity(ies) of others. It is merely a n assertion of o n e important a s p e c t of my identity(ies), a n d that of others, including t h o s e without colour. It is an assertion of o n e community of interest of w h i c h I a m a m e m b e r . I w o u l d s u g g e s t that it is in part this reflexive c o n n e c t i o n b e t w e e n r a c e a n d r a c i s m w h i c h is the s o u r c e of m u c h misunderstanding between q u e e r p e o p l e with colour a n d other q u e e r p e o p l e . T h e subject of race s e e m s to h a v e b e c o m e f u s e d on an emotive level with an indictment defensiveness,  conflict  of and  r a c i s m , which even  in turn elicits the  recalcitrance.  25  Although  r e s p o n s e s of guilt, these  may  well  be  ' u n d e r s t a n d a b l e ' r e s p o n s e s to a c h a r g e of r a c i s m , they are not appropriate r e s p o n s e s in 15  every d i s c u s s i o n about the implications of race for q u e e r p e o p l e , d i s c u s s i o n s about our difference(s). In s a y i n g this I a m not suggesting that r a c i s m d o e s not exist, or for that matter that it is a n insignificant p h e n o m e n o n within q u e e r c o m m u n i t i e s . That there is r a c i s m within q u e e r c o m m u n i t i e s is undeniable. It is there in the ubiquitous a n d omnipotent aesthetic i m a g e of the pretty white-boy or - g i r l  26  a n d a l s o in the various exotic s e x u a l caricatures  of the 'others': the stallion-like B l a c k m a n (the ' M a n d i n g o ' ) o r the s u b m i s s i v e , almost asexual A s i a n s .  2 7  S a d l y , in the a r e a of s e x u a l relations, in particular, q u e e r people of  colour are very often subjected to two e x t r e m e s : either they are completely invisible to the g a z e of the t h o s e w h o hold cultural d o m i n a n c e in C a n a d a , or, they are hyper-visible under the s e x u a l lens of others w h o magnify race a s a central a s p e c t of their s e x u a l attraction. It is there in the e y e s of both types of people at a d a n c e club, a n d in that feeling in the pit of your s t o m a c h . It is here...among us q u e e r s . But a s I stated a b o v e , my g o a l is not to indict t h o s e within the q u e e r community for their r a c i s m or a s racists  perse.  T h i s chapter is simply not meant to s p e a k to those  people w h o maintain c o n s c i o u s l y racist attitudes or refuse at a n y level to e v e n a c k n o w l e d g e the e x i s t e n c e of racial difference or r a c i s m , a n d its implications for q u e e r p e o p l e with c o l o u r .  28  C h a l l e n g i n g t h e s e p e o p l e a n d t h e s e p e r c e p t i o n s is of c o u r s e  important, but is a moral imperative beyond the s c o p e of this thesis. Rather, the p u r p o s e of this c h a p t e r is to c h a l l e n g e the c o n c e p t u a l integrity of s e v e r i n g the i s s u e of race(s) in the formulation of a 'queer' category that only refers to o n e ' s ' s e x u a l orientation.' F o r the r e a s o n s I articulated a b o v e , any attempt to s e v e r a n d categorize t h e s e two i s s u e s separately is d i s i n g e n u o u s . R a c e is a n important a s p e c t of all of our identity(ies) a n d results in difference(s) a m o n g us; to ignore it is to " e r a c e " all those  16  q u e e r people w h o s h a r e political and social c h a n g e c o m m u n i t i e s of interests related to race. P e r h a p s for s o m e people with colour this a s p e c t of our identity(ies) h a s been e l e v a t e d to the level of primary importance, a s it often must, being a c o m m u n a l shield from r a c i s m .  2 9  A s a p e r s o n with colour in this society, I simply cannot s p e a k of myself,  e v e n m y q u e e r self, without s p e a k i n g of my race(s). P e r h a p s it is a l s o more natural for those w h o are not people with colour to ignore this a s p e c t of their identity: d o white people n e e d or h a v e race(s) in this s o c i e t y ?  3 0  R e g a r d l e s s , I insist and e m b r a c e the fact of our difference(s): w e all h a v e racial identity(ies) a n d t h e s e a r e both d i v e r s e a n d important. T o ignore this a s p e c t of our identity(ies) is not simply u n w i s e , dishonest, or conceptually f l a w e d , it is a l s o hurtful and marginalizing, particularly to p e o p l e with colour w h o s e l d o m h a v e the c h o i c e to ignore race, and r a c i s m .  31  S a d l y , the i s s u e of our race(s) is important a l s o b e c a u s e a s p e o p l e with colour, w e are queer(ed) in this society not only b e c a u s e w e are not h e t e r o s e x u a l , but a l s o b e c a u s e w e a r e p e o p l e with c o l o u r .  32  T o ignore or minimize the importance of this  a s p e c t of my identity(ies) is to adopt a n a p p r o a c h w h i c h robs us all of the synergistic potential of a c h a l l e n g e to the boundary(ies) of heterosexuality f r o m m a n y , a s o p p o s e d to o n e p e r s p e c t i v e .  33  T h i s a p p r o a c h categorically d e n i e s u s , a n d d e n i e s others the full  p o w e r of o u r ' Q u e e r ' v o i c e , our varied perspective(s). Therefore, it is a n a p p r o a c h which is not only conceptually d i s h o n e s t — i n s o f a r a s it falsely limits our reality(s)—it is also ineffective b e c a u s e it limits o u r ability to raise o u r v o i c e a g a i n s t o p p r e s s i o n ; this is the point to w h i c h I turn.  17  E S T A B L I S H I N G ' D I F F E R E N C E ( S ) ' A S A P L A T F O R M F O R A C T I O N ( O R ' K N O W THINE E N E M Y ' )  R a c i s m c a n affect q u e e r people with colour in similar w a y s that it affects our brothers, sisters, mothers a n d fathers w h o m a y be 'within' the d o m i n a n t h e t e r o s e x u a l norm. In other w o r d s , race a n d the e x p e r i e n c e of racism are c o m m u n i t i e s of interests that w e may s h a r e with people w h o are not queer. Indeed, a s I will d i s c u s s more in the next chapter, it is important to note that being a g o o d h e t e r o s e x u a l — h a v i n g a nuclear family: o n e or two kids with a mother and father, o n e or both e m p l o y e d — i s itself often limited by o n e s race(s). It is trite that whether w e ' c o m e out' o r not, r a c i s m will a l w a y s p r e c e d e h e t e r o s e x i s m a s a s o u r c e of our o p p r e s s i o n , a s a site of our ' q u e e r n e s s . '  34  Moreover,  the fact of 'coming out' a s a s e x u a l queer, h o w e v e r potentially liberating a p r o c e s s that may be, cannot e r a s e the realities of r a c i s m . O u r race(s) r e m a i n s important both a s a positive a s p e c t of our identity(ies) a n d a s o n e potentially distorted by racist o p p r e s s i o n . A s a result, it is often impossible to know w h i c h a s p e c t of our difference is the motivating factor for an individual act, or the more s y s t e m i c manifestations of o p p r e s s i o n . A r g u a b l y , e v e n the attempt to divide the s o u r c e s of o u r o p p r e s s i o n is a futile or e v e r counterproductive e x e r c i s e .  35  A s q u e e r p e o p l e , w e a l s o e x p e r i e n c e r a c i s m in a w a y that m a y not be s h a r e d by all heterosexual people with colour. T h e racism w e e x p e r i e n c e is at times multidimensional insofar a s it is informed a l s o by our transgressive sexuality(s). C o n s i d e r the situation of a g a y black m a n w h o is d i s c h a r g e d from his e m p l o y m e n t for 'hyperbolic displayfs] of homosexuality' w h e n other gay white m e n w h o e n g a g e d in similar conduct, w e r e l e s s severely penalized.  36  Is this situation the result of r a c i s m or h e t e r o s e x i s m , neither or  both? In this c a s e , s e x u a l orientation being a n unprotected category, the court went on to d i s m i s s the claim of 'race' discrimination. A s E a t o n h a s wryly o b s e r v e d : '[The C o m p l a i n a n t ' s ] race d i s a p p e a r s a s a c o n c e r n of a n y legal c o n s e q u e n c e b e c a u s e he 18  w a s m u c h too q u e e r to be black or, to put matters s o m e w h a t differently, b e c a u s e the rouge w a s thick e n o u g h to c o n c e a l the noir.'  37  Therefore, e v e n our ability to resist  o p p r e s s i o n m a y be contingent upon both the fact of multidimensional o p p r e s s i o n  3 8  and  whether its complexity is a c k n o w l e d g e d a n d c o n s i d e r e d . O n e ' s feeling of h e l p l e s s n e s s a s a q u e e r person with c o l o u r is c o m p o u n d e d if w e are only conditionally w e l c o m e d by q u e e r c o m m u n i t i e s : a s long a s w e don't m a k e too m u c h noise about race a n d r a c i s m . A s I shall argue below, s u c h a posture m a k e s it 3 9  e x c e e d i n g l y difficult for the p r o c e s s of ' c o m i n g out' to be fully liberating for q u e e r people with colour. R a t h e r than being e n c o u r a g e d to e m b r a c e that w h i c h is a natural a s p e c t of us, our full q u e e r n e s s , w e are cudgelled into adopting a foreign identity (a ' s e x u a l orientation' untarnished by c o l o u r ) w h i c h in its limited form m a y offer little more to us 40  than the risk of additional o p p r e s s i o n .  41  I would be unable to s u g g e s t w h i c h is the more  painful reaction from the q u e e r community, to be confronted with a m b i v a l e n c e a n d disrespect, or with (un)familiar forms of patent o p p r e s s i o n a n d discrimination. But w h i c h e v e r feels w o r s e , a s a p e r s o n with colour, the former is more insidious, almost silently conspiring against our ability to work together, in coalition against o p p r e s s i o n . But the s i l e n c e is n o w being c h a l l e n g e d by m a n y v o i c e s . Unfortunately, m a n y of these v o i c e s are understandably distorted by a n g e r .  42  O b v i o u s l y , the p r o c e s s of having to continuously reassert both o n e ' s identity(ies) a n d the r e l e v a n c e of a v a r i e d , a s o p p o s e d to a unidimensional c o n c e p t i o n of o p p r e s s i o n , is no small task. It is in the best of situations a psychically draining c h a l l e n g e ; but, w h e n efforts to d o s o are met with a m b i v a l e n c e , particularly within the context of a n allegedly p r o g r e s s i v e social m o v e m e n t , it is downright vexatious. S a d l y , a s a result, m a n y q u e e r people with colour c h o o s e simply not to participate in either m a i n s t r e a m 'gay a n d  19  lesbian' social m o v e m e n t s or e v e n more coalitional organizations. A s V a i d has observed: I find myself torn about the question of r a c e - s p e c i f i c v e r s u s multiracial organizing. M y confusion c o m e s from e x p e r i e n c e with the d e e p resistance to antiracist work a n d to multiracial organizing that c o n t i n u e s to exist within white g a y a n d lesbian organizations. It is tiresome to h a v e to explain that our repeated assertions about being a multiracial community require our m o v e m e n t to r e s p o n d to r a c i s m a n d to take a strong s t a n c e on what s o m e c o n s i d e r "nongay" i s s u e s . It feels m u c h m o r e satisfying a n d productive to c h o o s e to work with like-minded p e o p l e - people you don't h a v e to c o n v i n c e that working on r a c i s m is important. 43  If it is axiomatic that there is strength in n u m b e r s , it is equally s o that strength is diminished in division. T h e r e is now a n unfortunate paradox. T h e narrow vision of the m a i n s t r e a m g a y a n d lesbian s o c i a l m o v e m e n t — n a m e l y a s o - c a l l e d exclusively s e x u a l orientation b a s e d a g e n d a — h a s prompted the formation of smaller g r o u p s targeted to particular s e g m e n t s of the q u e e r community, or communities of interests, s u c h a s t h o s e s h a r e d by lesbian w o m e n of colour. But, e v e n though t h e s e (sub-)groups cater to specific communities interests, they a l s o often foster a vision of o p p r e s s i o n m u c h broader than that of m a n y mainstream organizations.  44  S o m e of t h e s e organizations are s o c i a l in nature, simply  giving us a s p a c e in w h i c h to celebrate our culture(s) a n d s p e a k unfettered by any obligation to continuously assert or defend w h o w e are a s q u e e r p e o p l e with c o l o u r .  45  Others are g e a r e d to providing r e s o u r c e s specifically for q u e e r p e o p l e with colour b e c a u s e it is believed that t h e s e n e e d s are not being met by the " m a i n s t r e a m " q u e e r community  4 6  T h o s e organizations with a political m a n d a t e often foster a broader vision  of s o c i a l c h a n g e b e c a u s e they r e c o g n i z e difference(s) within the q u e e r community and the multidimensional nature of o p p r e s s i o n . But t h e s e organizations a n d their m e m b e r s are not without their p r o b l e m s ; s o m e e v e n replicate t h o s e negative patterns of b e h a v i o u r that m a y h a v e motivated their 20  formation in the first p l a c e .  4 7  F o r e x a m p l e , s o m e are g e a r e d quite narrowly around o n e  particular 'racial group' or "community of interest" a n d m a y neglect to e v e n attempt coalition building with other g r o u p s w h o are a l s o o p p r e s s e d in similar w a y s . E v e n w h e n coalition building is attempted, it is often a s t r u g g l e .  48  A s o n e might e x p e c t , q u e e r p e o p l e with colour are both w e a r y a n d w a r y of a n y potential c h a l l e n g e to their identity(ies). Is it any surprise that m a n y prefer to a c c e p t that they are different, rather than having to constantly e s t a b l i s h a n d d e f e n d the notion that all of us s h a r e difference(s). O u r e x p e r i e n c e with difference h a s generally not b e e n a positive o n e , e v e n within the ' p r o g r e s s i v e ' environment of q u e e r s o c i a l m o v e m e n t s . Particularly for t h o s e w h o remain a part of m a i n s t r e a m q u e e r s o c i a l m o v e m e n t s it is therefore a great c h a l l e n g e to envision our s h a r e d difference(s). T h e s i l e n c e of the a m b i v a l e n c e to our difference(s), w h e t h e r racial or otherwise is, ironically, quite d e a f e n i n g . C o n s e q u e n t l y , people w h o d o not fit within a unidimensional notion of ' s e x u a l orientation' o p p r e s s i o n (a single c o m m u n i t y of interest) are left feeling that they h a v e no option but to raise their v o i c e s louder a n d louder. If our difference(s) are c o n s i d e r e d unimportant, it m a y s e e m that the only option left is to e m p h a s i z e that w e are indeed different. In this w a y , a n inherently counterproductive pattern is e n g e n d e r e d within s o c i a l m o v e m e n t s , often c a l l e d identity politics. T h i s politics f o c u s e s not on the difference(s) w h i c h exist a m o n g us or our s h a r e d c o m m u n i t y of interest, but rather on the difference between us. A n d of c o u r s e , if w e are truly different from e a c h other, coalition b e c o m e s i m p o s s i b l e , or certainly more remote a possibility. T o quote from V a i d a g a i n : T h e bitterness on all s i d e s is d e e p a n d growing. P e o p l e are in well-dug bunkers, a n d f e w p e o p l e — o f a n y color—attempt to break out of their entrenched positions. T h e a t m o s p h e r e of trust a n d respect that is a prerequisite for work a c r o s s racial lines is sorely lacking in the g a y a n d lesbian c o m m u n i t y ' s struggles with its o w n diversity. Instead of dialogue, 21  w e e n g a g e in public attack. Instead of multiracial o r g a n i z a t i o n s , w e keep inventing m o r e s i n g l e - r a c e g r o u p s . 49  At best, all w e c a n hope for is to find s o m e c o m m o n g r o u n d , s u c h a s the simple fact that w e t r a n s g r e s s c o m p u l s o r y heterosexuality, in w h i c h to meet a n d e x c h a n g e 'positions' or 'identities' without e v e r being able to s h a r e a vision of our s h a r e d identity(ies) a s q u e e r people. A s e a c h particular identity b e c o m e s e n t r e n c h e d , it s e e m s m o r e a n d m o r e natural to defend your particular identity, your position. Therefore within this context, this a t m o s p h e r e , competition is more c o m m o n than coalition, or e v e n c o n v e r s a t i o n . F o r if w e are e a c h to h a v e a particular position, surely it is safest to prioritize our particular position. P e o p l e m a y e n d up jockeying with e a c h other in a n attempt to establish identity hierarchies.  50  P e r h a p s I a m being too harsh a n d simplistic in d e s c r i b i n g the c o m p l e x  c a u s e s a n d effects of identity politics within s o c i a l m o v e m e n t s . W h a t is c l e a r however, is that through this p r o c e s s identities b e c o m e fixed a n d e n t r e n c h e d . C o n s e q u e n t l y , a person m a y only s p e a k 'effectively' about i s s u e s w h i c h pertain to her identity(ies). Authority to participate in conversation are limited by the 'authority' to claim a particular identity. In other w o r d s , the fact that all of us h a v e m a n y identity(ies), m a n y p e r s p e c t i v e s , b e c o m e s a red herring: relevant only insofar a s it authorizes o n e to s p e a k . Within this political climate, a s a q u e e r m a n with colour I a m often only able to s p e a k only about 'my' e x p e r i e n c e s a s a p e r s o n with colour and a s a p e r s o n w h o is a g a y male. I cannot articulate any general vision of how to c h a l l e n g e a n d m o v e b e y o n d 'our' multidimensional o p p r e s s i o n nor c a n I explore our s h a r e d c o m m u n i t i e s of i n t e r e s t s .  51  M y identity(ies) are artificially fragmented into identities at the d i s c u r s i v e level, s o that I a m rendered u n a b l e to s p e a k in o n e v o i c e . But, if I cannot s p e a k a s I a m , how c a n I  22  k n o w m y s e l f ? If I cannot know myself, how c a n you know m e . A n d if y o u cannot know m e , h o w c a n w e possibly be a b l e to work t o g e t h e r ?  52  But e v e n if the v o c a b u l a r y of identity politics limits us all, its syntax would s e e m to favour s o m e more than o t h e r s .  53  Let us a s s u m e for the p u r p o s e s of this argument that  o n e ' s ' s e x u a l orientation' should be the primary identity, or prioritized perspective within the political d i s c o u r s e of the m a i n s t r e a m G . L . B . T . s o c i a l m o v e m e n t .  54  It is likely that the  identity of t h o s e p e o p l e w h o are primarily o p p r e s s e d in relation to their s e x u a l orientation (if s u c h a c a l c u l u s is possible) are m o s t benefited by the a g e n d a w h i c h results from that d i s c o u r s e .  55  Put simply, only o n e c o m m u n i t y of interest is reflected,  n a m e l y , that of those w h o only e x p e r i e n c e o p p r e s s i o n related to s e x u a l orientation. This criticism could be equally applied to social m o v e m e n t s formulated exclusively around race a n d r a c i s m , etc. In s a y i n g this, I d o not m e a n to impugn en toto the right, or e v e n the v a l u e of c h a l l e n g e s to h e t e r o s e x i s m by those w h o would not be o p p r e s s e d 'but for their s e x u a l orientation.'  56  T o reject t h e s e efforts reflexively w o u l d be (purely from the perspective of  self-interest) u n w i s e , b e c a u s e there is at least potential  benefit to m e a s a gay m a n with  colour. N e v e r t h e l e s s , I w o u l d a l s o insist that there is no v a l u e in ignoring the question: ' H o w might a unidimensional perspective limit the potential benefits to all of u s ? ' Stated c o n v e r s e l y , there is v a l u e simply in uncovering all the implications of adopting a n a p p r o a c h w h i c h prioritizes ' s e x u a l orientation' at a d i s c u r s i v e level, e v e n if w e m a y d i s a g r e e a b o u t what w e then d o with that information. F o r e x a m p l e , what is the benefit or the limitations of a policy or statute that prohibits discrimination o n the b a s i s of ' s e x u a l orientation' in a s o c i e t y in w h i c h s o m a n y l e s b i a n s cannot find work at all, or if they do, it is neither rewarding, meaningful nor sufficiently remunerative to permit t h e m a fulfilled l i f e ? 23  57  That q u e s t i o n s s u c h a s t h e s e are  important, at least to s o m e , is evident in the raging d e b a t e a m o n g , or p e r h a p s , between q u e e r p e o p l e about the i s s u e of ' s a m e - s e x m a r r i a g e '  58  and spousal status.  59  Some  h a v e a r g u e d , for e x a m p l e , that e v e n w e r e the institution of marriage to be e x t e n d e d to s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s , the potential benefits of that extension w o u l d vary d e p e n d i n g upon o n e ' s race(s), g e n d e r or c l a s s .  6 0  S u r e l y t h e s e questions are at least pertinent simply  b e c a u s e our race(s), gender(s) a n d c l a s s ( e s ) , a m o n g other identity(ies), vary a m o n g all of us in s a m e - s e x relationships? T h e s e questions are pertinent b e c a u s e w e q u e e r people h a v e different communities of interests in terms of the recognition a n d regulation of s p o u s a l relationships, s a m e - or o p p o s i t e - s e x . I would a r g u e that essentially there are only two r e a s o n s o n e could rely upon to a n s w e r this s e e m i n g l y rhetorical question in the negative: 'those q u e s t i o n s simply do not pertain to the i s s u e of s e x u a l orientation,' or, 'those q u e s t i o n s are irrelevant to me a s a p e r s o n w h o d o e s not suffer any o p p r e s s i o n other than h e t e r o s e x i s m . ' T h e former a n s w e r sacrifices both the lived reality(ies) of m a n y (and a broad political vision) to the detriment of us all for the s a k e of c o n c e p t u a l simplicity. T h e latter is more a moral s t a n c e than a c o n c e p t u a l position. T o t h o s e w h o maintain this s t a n c e I c a n offer no c h a l l e n g e in this thesis, only p e r h a p s a few nagging q u e s t i o n s . O b v i o u s l y , the implications of ignoring t h e s e questions are more than rhetorical for t h o s e w h o e x p e r i e n c e multidimensional o p p r e s s i o n , they are tangible. H o w e v e r , I would also a r g u e that a n u n e x a m i n e d e m p h a s i s on s e x u a l orientation—to the e x c l u s i o n of other i s s u e s — c a n a d v e r s e l y impact the ability of self-identified g a y a n d lesbian activists to effectively frame c h a l l e n g e s to those manifestations of o p p r e s s i o n w h i c h affect us all as q u e e r people. F o r e x a m p l e , v i o l e n c e motivated by hatred is a s a d reality w h i c h threatens m a n y g r o u p s in this society, including (but certainly not limited to) people with colour and q u e e r people. A s d i s c u s s e d a b o v e , for q u e e r p e o p l e with colour w h o are 24  victims of s u c h v i o l e n c e it m a y simply be impossible to tell w h e t h e r the motivation for a particular attack w a s r a c i s m , h o m o p h o b i a or s o m e combination of both. O n e s u c h attack w a s upon a 29 year-old g a y Puerto R i c a n m a n n a m e d Julio R i v e r a in Q u e e n s , N e w Y o r k in 1 9 9 0 .  61  This m a n w a s attacked a n d killed by three m e m b e r s of  a neo-Nazi/white s u p r e m a c i s t g a n g , o n e of w h o m later c o n f e s s e d that R i v e r a w a s killed b e c a u s e 'he w a s gay.' Both the m e d i a a n d the police s e e m e d intent o n ignoring the o b v i o u s h o m o p h o b i c a s p e c t of the crime, the latter refusing to list it a s a n 'anti-gay crime.' Activists in turn c h a l l e n g e d the police refusal, arguing that this murder w a s precisely that: a n 'anti-gay' crime. T h e y argued furthermore that the police reaction w a s itself tantamount to ' h o m o p h o b i a . ' O n e of m a n y disheartening observations that c a n be m a d e about t h e s e e v e n t s — t h e crime, the investigation, m e d i a portrayal, a n d the reaction of activists—is that s i n c e the d e b a t e , a s framed by activists, s e e m e d to contemplate only ' h o m o p h o b i a ' the issue of race w a s left u n e x a m i n e d a n d the e v i d e n c e of r a c i s m u n c h a l l e n g e d . Both the police and the m e d i a w e r e permitted to utilize racist stereotypes about g a y m e n a n d Latino people generally to o b f u s c a t e the issue of h o m o p h o b i a . R i v e r a b e c a m e the stereotypical poor Latino m a n : a drug addict and/or d e a l e r (read 'death: typical a n d unimportant') a n d certainly too m u c h of a hot ' M a c h o Latino' to be g a y (read 'too butch to be a femme'). W h e t h e r the police w e r e blinkered by their o w n stereotypical a s s u m p t i o n s or more c o n s c i o u s l y racist/homophobic in motivation, a s Darren H u t c h i n s o n h a s trenchantly o b s e r v e d : T h e activists' essentialist framing of the crime a s a "gay" b a s h i n g , rather than a racist-homophobic  attack, m a y actually have invited the police to u s e R i v e r a ' s race to  e r a s e his g a y n e s s ' ( e m p h a s i s a d d e d ) .  62  A s s u m i n g that the i s s u e s of those w h o would not e x p e r i e n c e o p p r e s s i o n 'but for their s e x u a l orientation' have b e e n prioritized within m a i n s t r e a m G . L . B . T . s o c i a l m o v e m e n t s , 25  what factors h a v e contributed to the d e v e l o p m e n t of this situation? It m a y be that having a relatively privileged position, t h e s e people are simply best a b l e to v o i c e a n d e m p h a s i z e 'their' p e r s p e c t i v e .  63  A n d for t h e m , a n identity politics centred around ' s e x u a l  orientation' might be d e s c r i b e d a s a comfortable, e v e n natural perspective: a prioritization of that i s s u e w h i c h s e e m s most tangible to t h e m .  6 4  A n d for q u e e r people  with colour a n d others w h o e x p e r i e n c e multidimensional o p p r e s s i o n , identity politics is a n inevitable reaction: it is a r e s p o n s e to a politic a p p r o a c h w h i c h m a r g i n a l i z e s a n d clearly disfavours t h e m . T h e point I w i s h to e m p h a s i z e , however, is that r e g a r d l e s s of the c a u s e s of the various manifestations of 'identity politics' (read 'who is to blame'), a s political a p p r o a c h e s they o b s c u r e both our s h a r e d identity(ies) a n d difference(s) in w a y s that disfavour us all. Identity politics is often l e s s of a political d i s c o u r s e a n d more of premature e n d to d i s c o u r s e . In entrenching a particular identity, rather than exploring our s h a r e d identity(ies), w e drain a n d polarize the collective e n e r g y w h i c h facilitates our ability to effectively c h a l l e n g e o p p r e s s i o n . W e o b s c u r e important c o n n e c t i o n s a n d complexities that frustrate our ability to u s e our 'interconnectivity' s o e s s e n t i a l to our ability to c h a l l e n g e o p p r e s s i o n .  65  P e r h a p s there is no alternative, or more accurately  what alternative there is r e s i d e s only within the m i n d s of a c a d e m i c s . After all, a c a d e m i c s d o not f a c e the realities of c o m m u n i t i e s that m a y not be s o a m e n a b l e to Utopian inspired, esoteric talk of 'coalition' and 'communities of interests'. T h e s e ambitious g o a l s m a y not translate well into the l a n g u a g e of s e / f - d e f e n c e , u n d e r s t a n d a b l y of primary c o n c e r n to p e o p l e under s i e g e . But a s the R i v e r a c a s e s o sadly d e m o n s t r a t e s , the unwillingness to r e c o g n i z e our s h a r e d difference(s) and c o m p l e x identity(ies) d o e s not result only in animosity within s o c i a l m o v e m e n t s ; it a l s o  26  limits our ability to r e c o g n i z e and c h a l l e n g e the multidimensional c a u s e s and implications of o p p r e s s i o n . O p p r e s s i o n is in o n e s e n s e about the entrenchment of difference: the creation of b o u n d a r i e s that s u b m e r g e s h a r e d communities of interests. T h i s p r o c e s s c a n be vividly s e e n in the u s e of r a c i s m in the southern United S t a t e s in the turn of the 2 0  t h  century to  deflect poor whites a w a y from the c l a s s - o p p r e s s i o n that they e n d u r e d , a n o p p r e s s i o n that they s h a r e d with their poor black neighbours. T h e s e e n t r e n c h e d boundaries may be difficult to perceive, but they are boundaries n o n e t h e l e s s . A s I h a v e a r g u e d , t h e s e boundaries not only s e p a r a t e us from e a c h other, they s e p a r a t e us from o u r s e l v e s , c o n s p i r e to hide our s h a r e d community of interests. O n e of t h e s e boundaries is 'sexual orientation' a s manifested in the form of ' h e t e r o s e x i s m . ' In this society the c o n c e p t of ' s e x u a l orientation' is on o n e level a very crude instrument u s e d to categorize both people by conduct. Although it would be imprudent to s u g g e s t that 'identity politics' is the c a u s e of o p p r e s s i o n , it is a n a p p r o a c h that holds limited potential for challenging it. It is to my mind a n inherently limited posture b e c a u s e it d o e s not, b e c a u s e it cannot, affirmatively c h a l l e n g e the b o u n d a r i e s that result in o p p r e s s i o n . It c a n n o t c h a l l e n g e or problematize t h e s e boundaries b e c a u s e it e m p h a s i z e s them itself.  66  T h i s d o e s not m e a n that the only  option left is a rejection of the notion of boundaries or c a t e g o r i e s , that w e should adopt an a p p r o a c h that attempts to 'pretend a w a y ' the b o u n d a r i e s w h i c h society i m p o s e s upon u s ? T h e identification and u s e of communities of interests related to s e x u a l orientation and h e t e r o s e x i s m , for e x a m p l e , is vital. N o r h o w e v e r d o e s it m e a n that w e should uncritically adopt t h e s e boundaries within liberatory d i s c o u r s e . W e must question the implications of the m a n n e r in w h i c h w e both conceptually (i.e. in our d i s c o u r s e ) and  27  methodologically (i.e. in our activism) adopt a n d incorporate t h e s e boundary setting notions into our a g e n d a s .  6 7  That an uncritical adoption of the notion o f ' s e x u a l orientation' is wrought with d a n g e r is not a n e w insight. Indeed, it is implicit in m a n y of the most a n i m a t e d a n d long-lasting d e b a t e s within q u e e r p e o p l e ' s s o c i a l m o v e m e n t s . F o r e x a m p l e , the notion of ' s e x u a l orientation' h a s b e e n problematized (and s o m e t i m e s rejected) by m a n y l e s b i a n theorists on the g r o u n d s that it h a s b e e n historically, a n d continues to be imbued with a m e a n i n g w h i c h h a s at its c o r e the e x p e r i e n c e s of m e n . It's utility to l e s b i a n s is therefore questionable b e c a u s e of, a m o n g other things, its apparent inability to contemplate i s s u e s of g e n d e r discrimination a n d p a t r i a r c h y .  68  A n o t h e r i s s u e that h a s b e e n flagged a s  a d a n g e r is that if w e u s e the c o n c e p t of ' s e x u a l orientation' in attempts to establish that ' h o m o s e x u a l s ' are no different from 'heterosexuals,' w e m a y unwittingly c o m p l y in the creation of n e w categories of o p p r e s s i o n : the g o o d v s . the b a d h o m o s e x u a l . T h e r e are 6 9  a plethora of similar d i s c u s s i o n s within q u e e r s o c i a l m o v e m e n t s . T h e s e are i s s u e s of great complexity a n d range, s o m e of which will be highlighted in u p c o m i n g chapters. H o w e v e r , I would s u g g e s t that there is a basic insight manifest in all t h e s e criticisms c a p a b l e of s u c c i n c t articulation: any potential c h a l l e n g e to the o p p r e s s i o n of those w h o d o not conform to the dominant heterosexual norm w h i c h automatically prioritizes a o n e - d i m e n s i o n a l a n d uncritical notion of ' s e x u a l orientation' h a s limited efficacy a n d d a n g e r o u s l y h e g e m o n i c potential. A s W a y n e M o r g a n h a s o b s e r v e d : [...jactivists w h o p u s h a g a y liberation "rights" a g e n d a . . . a r e a c c u s e d of failing to problematize difference, equality, identity a n d the intersections of different identities (race, gender, c l a s s a s well a s sexuality). Within our legal s y s t e m , containment of diversity is a c h i e v e d through tolerance and co-option, a n d this tolerance a n d co-option is facilitated by a m o v e m e n t intent on proving " s a m e n e s s " to the heterosexual s t a n d a r d . But tolerance by law is forthcoming only if t h o s e w h o identify a s g a y or l e s b i a n do not threaten the status q u o . 7 0  28  E q u a l l y c a p a b l e of succinct articulation is a p o s s i b l e method to avoid t h e s e limitations a n d d a n g e r s : the consideration a n d incorporation of n u m e r o u s , a s o p p o s e d to o n e perspective, within political d i s c o u r s e about all of our e x p e r i e n c e s a s q u e e r people. O u r difference(s) must be c o n s i d e r e d a n d utilized without the differences b e t w e e n us being e n t r e n c h e d . O u r c o m m u n i t i e s of interests must be explored before w e c a n purport to s p e a k about categories of people. But no matter h o w easily the c o n c e p t m a y be d e s c r i b e d , the practical c h a l l e n g e s p o s e d by its implementation are anything but e a s y . F r a n c i s c o V a l d e s h a s d e s c r i b e d the c h a l l e n g e s in this w a y : [...] any particular (mis)perception of s a m e n e s s or difference, whether d e e m e d substantively "real" or not, cannot b e c o m e the point; the point is what w e m a k e of the perception — how w e interpret s a m e n e s s a n d difference, h o w w e imbue perceptions of s a m e n e s s a n d difference with cultural, legal, theoretical or political significance, a n d h o w w e then a c c o m m o d a t e e a c h other constructively a n d mutually in the f a c e of significant d i f f e r e n c e . 71  Despite the o b s t a c l e s , if w e continue to o b s c u r e our difference(s) a s q u e e r people, the road w e take, h o w e v e r well m a r k e d , m a y lead to a d e a d - e n d for m a n y , if not all. T h e e x p e r i e n c e s of q u e e r people with colour, for e x a m p l e , cannot continue to be marginalized in a footnote. T h e s e e x p e r i e n c e s , t h e s e p e r s p e c t i v e s must be incorporated at a foundational level. T h e y cannot simply be a n item on the a g e n d a but must inform the p r o c e s s of the a g e n d a ' s formulation. Until this is d o n e , w e will be u n a b l e to clearly s e e a n d e r a s e t h o s e boundary(ies) w h i c h limit u s all a s q u e e r p e o p l e , but instead will only be able to shift a particular boundary in a w a y w h i c h m a y benefit s o m e , but n e v e r all of u s . S o m e will get o v e r the w a l l , while others will b e left behind, o r p u s h e d back e v e n further.  29  T H E ( M I S ) P E R C E P T I O N O F O U R ' D I F F E R E N C E ( S ) WITHIN L E G A L T H E O R Y  Issues of difference do not reside exclusively within the s p h e r e of political d i s c o u r s e . O u r difference(s) a l s o resonate within legal d i s c o u r s e , the legal p r o c e s s a n d legal theory. In this section I will e x a m i n e how the d i s c o u r s e of legal theory—in particular doctrinal a n a l y s i s — c a n constitute and/or reinforce notions of g a y a n d l e s b i a n equality w h i c h m i s p e r c e i v e a n d mischaracterize the difference(s) b e t w e e n q u e e r people. In s u b s e q u e n t c h a p t e r s I will turn my f o c u s more directly o n similar p r o c e s s e s within legal a d v o c a c y a n d law (both legislative a n d judge made.) A s o n e might expect, legal d i s c u s s i o n s about our difference(s) often o c c u r in the context of legal a n a l y s i s of h u m a n rights. In this v e i n , m u c h h a s b e e n written about the ability or inability of law a n d legal rights to promote p r o g r e s s i v e s o c i a l c h a n g e .  7 2  In  s u b s e q u e n t chapters I will d i s c u s s this question more directly. H o w e v e r , in this chapter I w i s h to d i s c u s s e x a m p l e s of how difference(s) a m o n g q u e e r p e o p l e h a v e b e e n (mis)perceived within a c a d e m i c d i s c u s s i o n about ' G . L . B . T . equality' without d i s c u s s i n g the validity of h u m a n rights law itself a s a n effective tool for p r o g r e s s i v e s o c i a l c h a n g e . I would a r g u e that t h e s e two questions a r e not s y n o n y m o u s e v e n though they are most certainly related. Rather, I will argue in this chapter that e v e n though it may be that h u m a n rights l a w s h a v e a role to play in the promotion of p r o g r e s s i v e s o c i a l c h a n g e , that potential is frustrated by m a n y lawyers a n d legal a c a d e m i c s w h o (at the level of legal theory) promote a false c o n s c i o u s n e s s of difference w h i c h frustrates this ability. T h e s e legal theories b y p a s s any a n a l y s i s of c o m m u n i t i e s of interest in favour of a m u c h more limited d i s c u s s i o n of groups of people. W h e n I b e g a n r e s e a r c h for this chapter I a v o i d e d most treatises or articles w h i c h in their s u m m a r y m a d e reference exclusively to the subject of ' s e x u a l orientation' without m o r e than a p a s s i n g reference to gender, race or c l a s s etc. H o w e v e r , my d e s i r e to be 30  a c a d e m i c a l l y rigorous (and the fact that I quickly e x h a u s t e d t h o s e p i e c e s w h i c h met my admittedly narrow r e s e a r c h methodology) eventually c a m e to bear, a n d I b e g a n to c o n s i d e r s o m e of those p i e c e s w h i c h I had not up to that point. A n o b v i o u s first c h o i c e for consideration w a s a text that contains o n e of the more exhaustive treatments of legal doctrine within C a n a d a related to the subject of ' G . L . B . T . equality' a n d aptly titled Lesbians,  Gay Men, and Canadian  Law.  73  T h e p u r p o s e of this  text is d e s c r i b e d succinctly: '...to c o n s i d e r those a r e a s of C a n a d i a n law w h o s e impact is different on l e s b i a n s a n d g a y men than on h e t e r o s e x u a l s . . . . ' T h e fact of this topic is 74  largely unproblematic to my mind; however, what is problematic is the w a y s in which the topic is a s s u m e d to be c a p a b l e of the (re)cognition of certain difference(s) a n d identity(ies) b e t w e e n q u e e r p e o p l e , but not others. T h e first two c h a p t e r s of this text might be d e s c r i b e d a s introductory: they set out the perspective a n d methodological a p p r o a c h the author t a k e s , w h i c h is a doctrinal a n a l y s i s of C a n a d i a n law. C h a p t e r T w o in particular is entitled 'Contextualizing the L a w ' s Treatment of L e s b i a n s a n d G a y M e n . ' T h e p r o c e s s of contextualizing c a n be a n important e x e r c i s e that o p e n s up a d i s c o u r s e , giving it greater breadth of s c o p e and d i m e n s i o n . A s I h a v e a r g u e d , consideration of our d i v e r s e e x p e r i e n c e s , our difference(s) a s q u e e r p e o p l e , i n c r e a s e s the potential for effective d i s c o u r s e o n the subject of our o p p r e s s i o n . Unfortunately, I would a r g u e that the introductory p a s s a g e s of this text articulate a context that is not e x p a n s i v e , but i n d e e d both limiting a n d marginalizing. In C h a p t e r T w o , under the s u b - c h a p t e r - h e a d i n g (ironically) titled 'Diversity within L e s b i a n a n d G a y C o m m u n i t i e s ' , two a n d only two a s p e c t s of our s o - c a l l e d 'diversity' are identified. T h e two communities of interests that are identified are '[tjhe s o c i a l a n d e c o n o m i c situations of w o m e n , including l e s b i a n s , [which] are profoundly different from 31  t h o s e of m e n (including g a y men)' a n d a l s o the 'different a p p r o a c h e s that l e s b i a n s and g a y m e n m a y take on legal issues...[both b e t w e e n a n d a m o n g t h o s e g r o u p s ] . '  75  T o be  a c c u r a t e , t h e s e are not the only references to the differences b e t w e e n us a s q u e e r p e o p l e , or different communities of interest. H o w e v e r , other than t h e s e two—which are specifically articulated—the only references to the diversity a m o n g q u e e r people in t h e s e introductory chapters are unspecific a n d perfunctory. F o r e x a m p l e , the authors s a y s : '[a]nd o n it g o e s , taking a c c o u n t of the diversity of viewpoints a m o n g individual l e s b i a n s a n d individual g a y m e n ' a n d that '[t]he importance of recognizing i s s u e s of diversity a n d different political p e r s p e c t i v e s within the l e s b i a n a n d g a y communities is increasingly a c c e p t e d . '  76  Other a s p e c t s of our diversity, s u c h a s that related to our  race(s), are not e v e n identified in t h e s e chapters, far l e s s c o n s i d e r e d or incorporated into its a n a l y s i s . I h a v e c h o s e n t h e s e chapters of this text for review not b e c a u s e the doctrinal a n a l y s e s that they introduce are incorrect, or e v e n automatically inapplicable to q u e e r people with colour. N o doubt the a n a l y s i s contained in this text at least h a s the potential to be applicable to q u e e r people with colour insofar a s they are g a y , l e s b i a n , bisexual (and transgender), in other w o r d s , insofar a s they s h a r e a c o m m u n i t y of interest related to s e x u a l orientation o p p r e s s i o n . But this potential d o e s not, b e c a u s e it cannot alter the d i s c u r s i v e limitations introduced in t h e s e p a s s a g e s . I have c h o s e n t h e s e p a s s a g e s for review b e c a u s e they are all too typical e x a m p l e s of the w a y s in w h i c h legal theories about ' G . L . B . T . equality' (as o p p o s e d to ' G . L . B . T . people') adopt methodological a p p r o a c h e s w h i c h o b s c u r e the difference(s) a m o n g us in a m a n n e r that is both counterproductive a n d marginalizing. T h i s a p p r o a c h by p a s s e s all but a very few c o m m u n i t i e s of interests a m o n g q u e e r p e o p l e .  32  R e c a l l i n g d i s c u s s i o n s a b o v e regarding the c o n c e p t u a l a n d practical d i s a d v a n t a g e s w h i c h m a y result from focusing o n a particular identity, or boundary, c o n s i d e r the following description of the methodology of the text: '[s]ince this book f o c u s e s on how the law treats l e s b i a n s a n d g a y men differently from h e t e r o s e x u a l s , the primary distinction  throughout  (emphasis a d d e d . )  7 7  is b e t w e e n "lesbians a n d g a y m e n " a n d "heterosexuals'" T h e r e is therefore a n u n a m b i g u o u s , explicit a n d u n q u e s t i o n e d  prioritization of the boundary of s e x u a l orientation. W h a t is implicit in this description is the concomitant marginalization of t h o s e 'other' identity(ies) a n d o p p r e s s i o n s which m a y play a n equally, if not m o r e significant role in the o p p r e s s i o n of m a n y ' G . L . B . T . people.' P e r h a p s e v e n more importantly, by purporting to fold the identity(ies) of G . L . B . T . people into s e x u a l orientation, exclusively, the author o b s c u r e s the reality that the nature of ' s e x u a l orientation o p p r e s s i o n ' m a y itself vary a c c o r d i n g to r a c e , g e n d e r , c l a s s etc. R a t h e r than questioning and d i s c u s s i n g the validity of adopting the perspective of the relatively privileged, it is r e a s s e r t e d a n d adopted in this text. Defining the 'identity' a n d ' o p p r e s s i o n ' of G . L . B . T . people solely in relation to ' h e t e r o s e x u a l s ' h a s two effects. First, the category of 'heterosexuality' is itself a s s u m e d a n d centred, thereby limiting the potential to problematize that c o n c e p t a n d to treat it a s socially constructed a n d therefore contingent upon n u m e r o u s f a c t o r s .  78  S e c o n d l y , only a o n e - s t e p d i v e r g e n c e  from the norm of 'heterosexuality' c a n be c o n s i d e r e d , a n d the ability to a d d r e s s multidimensional o p p r e s s i o n is c o n s e q u e n t l y lost. D u c l o s d e s c r i b e s this type of perspective in this w a y : If o n e is at the centre, o n e c a n s e e d i v e r g e n c e in alternative directions: by race (not-white), or by s e x (not-male), or by religion (not-Christian), a n d s o o n . In this w a y the various grounds of discrimination contain hidden a s s u m p t i o n s about w h o is likely to invoke t h e m . 7 9  33  T h e r e f o r e , although the 'primary perspective' is stated, the unstated norm remains that of the p e r s o n w h o w o u l d not be discriminated against 'but for s e x u a l orientation.' T h e c o n s e q u e n c e is that q u e e r people with colour, to n a m e only o n e e x a m p l e , simply d i s a p p e a r from the p a g e s of this t e x t .  80  Still, a s indicated a b o v e , this text d o e s identify two of the w a y s in w h i c h w e differ from e a c h other, despite a s h a r e d s e x u a l orientation, namely: our g e n d e r a n d political positions. I would a r g u e h o w e v e r that the explicit recognition a n d consideration of t h e s e , a n d only t h e s e s o u r c e s of the differences between us, h a s the following implications: a n implicit hierarchical ordering of the s o u r c e s of our difference(s) or identity(ies) a n d the concomitant marginalization of the 'others.' Difference(s) related to g e n d e r are, of c o u r s e , a n important consideration. H o w e v e r , a n y recognition of this difference, to the e x c l u s i o n of other a s p e c t s of w o m e n ' s identity(ies), is a c o n c e p t u a l l y inadequate tool for understanding e v e n g e n d e r o p p r e s s i o n . O n e n e e d only r e m e m b e r that m a n y ' w o m e n ' are a l s o o p p r e s s e d by virtue of their c l a s s , for e x a m p l e , in order to e m p h a s i z e the w e a k n e s s of this a p p r o a c h .  81  T h e irony is that the d i s c u r s i v e potential o p e n e d up with  o n e hand by recognizing that '[l]esbians are d i s a d v a n t a g e d both a s w o m e n and a s lesbians'  82  is therefore c l o s e d with the other h a n d , b e c a u s e the feminization of poverty  a n d the implications of c l a s s o p p r e s s i o n are o b s c u r e d . Put simply, o n e of the most central c o m m u n i t i e s of interests s h a r e d by w o m e n , n a m e l y the n e e d to resist the o p p r e s s i o n of poverty, is ignored. O f c o u r s e , it is not only the e x p e r i e n c e s of poor l e s b i a n s , but a l s o of all q u e e r s with colour, a m o n g m a n y others, that are marginalized by the identification of g e n d e r , to the e x c l u s i o n of all other s o u r c e s of our difference(s) a s q u e e r p e o p l e . T h i s brings me to the s e c o n d difference identified in t h e s e p a s s a g e s : n a m e l y , political positions. I would argue that a n i s s u e far more fundamental than our political differences is our communities of 34  interests w h i c h invariably inform t h e s e divergent political positions. A n d a s I h a v e a r g u e d a b o v e the kind of a p p r o a c h taken in t h e s e p a s s a g e s is o n e that not only fails to c o n s i d e r o u r difference(s), but a l s o o n e that e n g e n d e r s a s e n s e of e x c l u s i o n a n d marginalization, w h i c h in turn leads to a further entrenchment of more identity politics, or political differences. T h e r e f o r e , at a d i s c u r s i v e level this text a p p r o a c h e s the topic of ' g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s ' in a m a n n e r w h i c h o b s c u r e s our s h a r e d difference(s) a n d the w a y s in w h i c h t h e s e difference(s) modify the o p p r e s s i o n ( s ) w e f a c e a s q u e e r p e o p l e . At best it is a n a p p r o a c h w h i c h is only c a p a b l e of contemplating specific e x a m p l e s of how G . L . B . T . people differ. T h e s e discursive limitations detract from the v a l u e of a n a l y s i s contained in the body of the text. Put simply, the limiting a p p r o a c h a d o p t e d results in a doctrinal a n a l y s i s that h a s proportionately limited r e l e v a n c e to q u e e r p e o p l e with colour a n d others w h o e x p e r i e n c e multidimensional o p p r e s s i o n . F o r e x a m p l e , in C h a p t e r thirteen the topic of 'Visitors, Immigrants, R e f u g e e s a n d C i t i z e n s h i p ' is d i s c u s s e d . M u c h of this a n a l y s i s is likely to b e c o m e outdated b e c a u s e of p r o p o s e d reforms to C a n a d i a n immigration law to, a m o n g other things, introduce a new category within the s p o n s o r s h i p s y s t e m for unmarried s a m e - a n d o p p o s i t e - s e x ' s p o u s e s . ' (In the next c h a p t e r t h e s e a n d other p r o p o s e d reforms to C a n a d i a n immigration law will be d i s c u s s e d in depth.) In Lesbians, o n the subject of immigration it is noted that 'homophobia  Gay Men, and Canadian  Law,  a m o n g immigration officials  persists a s a significant problem in a s y s t e m that is highly discretionary' ( e m p h a s i s added.)  83  T h i s is s o b e c a u s e currently a p e r s o n in a s a m e - s e x relationship wishing to  ' s p o n s o r ' his/her partner m a y often h a v e to rely upon an application for exemption on humanitarian a n d c o m p a s s i o n a t e g r o u n d s [hereinafter ' H . & C ] b e c a u s e a s a m e - s e x partner cannot be s p o n s o r e d a s a ' s p o u s e ' or 'fiance(e).' In other w o r d s , a s a m e - s e x 35  s p o u s e cannot be s p o n s o r e d a s part of the regular family c l a s s .  8 4  A n d a s is r e c o g n i z e d ,  '[t]he key to a d m i s s i o n under [the H. & C . process] is the c o n s i d e r a b l e discretion permitted to individual immigration officers in assessing...[these] a p p l i c a t i o n s . '  85  In the two c a s e studies u s e d to a n a l y z e H. & C . applications very f e w details about the s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s a r e given beyond the n a m e s (from w h i c h ' s e x ' c a n usually be inferred) a n d the citizenship of the partners. T h e descriptions d o not include explicit information about, for e x a m p l e , their c l a s s , a g e , race, o c c u p a t i o n o r e m p l o y m e n t status. But surely in a s highly discretionary a n application a s a n H . & C . t h e s e 'other' factors may a l s o h a v e b e e n influential in the officer's d e c i s i o n ? W a s the C a n a d i a n - c i t i z e n partner gainfully e m p l o y e d o r collecting s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e ? W h a t w a s the level of education a n d o c c u p a t i o n of the n o n - C a n a d i a n partner? If ' h o m o p h o b i a ' might be a n impulse w h i c h influences a n immigration officer's discretion, might not ' r a c i s m ' be a n o t h e r ? T h e notion that the C a n a d i a n immigration s y s t e m h a s e l e m e n t s of direct, overt, a n d more s y s t e m i c manifestations of racism is not a novel o n e  8 6  M y point is that the e x c l u s i v e f o c u s o n the i s s u e of h o w ' h o m o p h o b i a ' (or 'heterosexism') m a y or m a y not inform the discretion of a n immigration officer is flawed. O n e is given a very m e a g r e portrait of the implications of G . L . B . T . p e o p l e having to rely upon s u c h a highly discretionary remedy. A s a highly discretionary r e m e d y , it is o n e more a m e n a b l e to the d e c i s i o n - m a k e r considering various, not just one '-ism.' Therefore, the pertinence of the a n a l y s i s is limited for those p e o p l e considering the efficacy of a H. & C . application w h o m a y be f a c e d with multidimensional s o u r c e s of discrimination. A s a c o n s e q u e n c e of the limitations of this a n a l y s i s , o n e is left with the rather unsatisfying c o n c l u s i o n that:  36  [...] the "out" l e s b i a n or g a y c o u p l e w h o are a b l e to c o m m e n c e , or at least threaten to c o m m e n c e , a C h a r t e r c h a l l e n g e [based o n ' s e x u a l orientation' discrimination]...may well stand a better c h a n c e of "convincing" the immigration or v i s a officer of the humanitarian a n d c o m p a s s i o n a t e merits of their c a s e . ' 8 7  H o w e v e r , it is o b v i o u s that the more 'strikes' against a c o u p l e — s u c h a s the lack of e d u c a t i o n or k n o w l e d g e of F r e n c h or E n g l i s h of the potential immigrant-partner, or the inability of the C a n a d i a n - c i t i z e n partner to fully support the ' s p o u s e ' — t h e l e s s likely a n immigration official is to be ' c o n v i n c e d ' to grant the application d u e to the threat of a C h a r t e r c h a l l e n g e b a s e d on 'sexual orientation' discrimination. T h e r e a s o n for this is that 'courts are generally reluctant to interfere with a n officer's e x e r c i s e of discretion' a n d the more 'strikes' against a potential s a m e - s e x c o u p l e , the l e s s likely a court is to find that the officer e x e r c i s e d his/her discretion b a s e d upon ' s o m e w r o n g or improper principle or acted in bad f a i t h . '  88  A n officer m a y be able to u s e the e x i s t e n c e of  multidimensional identities, a n d multiple s o u r c e s of o p p r e s s i o n , to o b s c u r e the role of ' h o m o p h o b i a ' in his/her d e c i s i o n . In a m a n n e r sadly a n a l o g o u s to the a p p r o a c h taken by activists in the R i v e r a tragedy d i s c u s s e d a b o v e , the e x c l u s i v e f o c u s u p o n the p h e n o m e n o n of ' h o m o p h o b i a ' in this text l e a v e s u n e x a m i n e d a n d u n c h e c k e d the reality of multidimensional o p p r e s s i o n , a n d its potential significance in the H. & C . applications of s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s . In this w a y , the a n a l y s i s itself is rendered incomplete a n d , in my opinion, f l a w e d . W h a t is at least implicitly r e c o g n i z e d is that the potential benefit of both a H. & C . application a n d a C h a r t e r c h a l l e n g e is entirely contingent u p o n w h e t h e r the s a m e - s e x partners 'can " c o m e out" a n d openly c h a l l e n g e the u n f a i r n e s s . . . . '  89  But a g a i n , what is left  unstated a n d u n a n a l y z e d is that our ability both to ' c o m e out' a n d to c h a l l e n g e our o p p r e s s i o n m a y itself be curtailed by the e x i s t e n c e of multidimensional o p p r e s s i o n . T h i s is a topic that brings m e to the next part of this s e c t i o n : legal a n a l y s e s about 37  90  ' G . L . B . T . o p p r e s s i o n ' w h i c h d o not simply ignore or o b s c u r e , but w h i c h explicitly marginalize the r e l e v a n c e a n d e x p e r i e n c e of multidimensional o p p r e s s i o n . In 'Outing: T h e L a w R e a c t s to S p e e c h about H o m o s e x u a l i t y '  91  it is a r g u e d that the  law s h o u l d remain silent on the issue of 'outing,' that it s h o u l d not p e n a l i z e or otherwise d i s c o u r a g e the 'revelation of a p e r s o n ' s sexuality without that p e r s o n ' s c o n s e n t a n d contrary to that p e r s o n ' s w i s h e s . ' 1 a m uncertain, a n d therefore will take no position on 92  whether or not the practice of 'outing' is generally efficacious or/and morally justifiable a s a liberation strategy for q u e e r p e o p l e . H o w e v e r , I will argue that the p r o c e s s of r e a s o n i n g by w h i c h it is 'justified' in this article is f l a w e d . 'Outing' m a y facilitate the destruction of 'the closet,' but in its place m a y be left a ' l a v e n d e r bubble' through which the implications of multidimensional o p p r e s s i o n are filtered out, making it an uncomfortable a b o d e for q u e e r people with colour. In d i s c u s s i n g the 'social interest' of the f r e e d o m of s p e e c h , a s it pertains to ' h o m o s e x u a l s , ' the s o c i a l context is d e s c r i b e d in this w a y : That is not to s a y that there is one h o m o s e x u a l culture in C a n a d a or a n y w h e r e e l s e . L e s b i a n s , g a y s , a n d b i s e x u a l s h a v e m a n y things in c o m m o n , but the most common element a m o n g t h e m is their historical p e r s e c u t i o n a n d the fact that n o n - h o m o s e x u a l s l u m p t h e m t o g e t h e r (references omitted & e m p h a s i s added.) 93  T h e c o n c e p t of common(ality) is u s e d here to formulate a n essentialist notion of the e x p e r i e n c e s of all q u e e r p e o p l e .  94  T h e assumption  that q u e e r p e o p l e s h a r e o n e  c o m m o n interest (that w e are all lumped together) is u s e d , without further explanation, to e r a s e all the divergent communities of interests within the group of people posited. L e a v i n g a s i d e for the m o m e n t the political (in)efficacy of this a p p r o a c h , it is o n e which quite simply ignores the reality of multidimensional identity(ies) a n d oppression(s). A s I h a v e a r g u e d a b o v e , c o m i n g out a s sexually 'queer' cannot e r a s e , for e x a m p l e , our race(s) nor the implications of r a c i s m , whether w e are privileged or o p p r e s s e d by this 38  s o c i a l pathology. Indeed, e v e n 'our' sexuality a s q u e e r people with colour m a y be informed by cultural n o r m s  9 5  a n d racists stereotypes both within a n d outside of the  q u e e r community. Therefore, w e are not a l w a y s 'lumped together' by either the straight or q u e e r c o m m u n i t i e s .  96  H o w e v e r , e v e n though in this article 'our difference(s)' are o b s c u r e d in the construction of a q u e e r identity  (sic),  the 'differences of s o m e ' are identified a n d  a d d r e s s e d a s potential arguments against the practice of 'outing.' Not surprisingly, t h e s e a r g u m e n t s are promptly rejected: T h e s a m e principles ought to apply w h e r e the outed p e r s o n is a m e m b e r of a particular ethnic, cultural, g e o g r a p h i c a l o r religious c o m m u n i t y w h e r e the reaction to the outing m a y be more than usually negative to the outed p e r s o n a n d those around her. T h e r e is a myth in m a n y cultures that homosexuality is a 'white m a n ' s d i s e a s e ' . This c a n m a k e homosexuality e s p e c i a l l y difficult for m e m b e r s of non-white g r o u p s . T h e law ought not to a c c e p t different levels of tolerance for h o m o s e x u a l s in different parts of the country or in different s e g m e n t s of it. 97  Although it m a y indeed not be appropriate for the law to ' a c c e p t different levels of tolerance for h o m o s e x u a l s ' nor should legal theories ignore the s o c i a l context of all q u e e r p e o p l e , the reality of multiple and intersectional o p p r e s s i o n , a n d its implications or c a u s e s . P e o p l e with colour are all too familiar with the p h e n o m e n a of racially b a s e d s e x u a l roles being foisted upon t h e m — o v e r - s e x e d deviants w h o c a n c o n s e q u e n t l y be vilified, f e a r e d , exoticized or raped with impunity—by 'white' p e o p l e a n d c u l t u r e s  98  T h e desire,  a m o n g people with colour communities to s i l e n c e 'their' q u e e r p e o p l e m a y therefore be informed by fear: a desire to k e e p sexuality private a n d therefore b e y o n d the d a n g e r o u s g a z e of dominant c u l t u r e s .  99  B y focusing exclusively on ' h e t e r o s e x i s m ' a s 'sexual  o p p r e s s i o n ' this a n a l y s i s limits its ability to deal with the reality of h e t e r o - r a c i s m .  39  100  By  hetero-racism I m e a n simply o p p r e s s i o n w h o s e c h a r a c t e r is informed both by racism and heterosexism. W h a t m a k e s 'homosexuality e s p e c i a l l y difficult for m e m b e r s of non-white groups' is not only the myth of homosexuality a s a 'white m a n ' s d i s e a s e '  1 0 1  but a l s o the reality of  multidimensional o p p r e s s i o n . T h e reification of 'coming-out' not only belies the fact that it is more difficult for s o m e more to 'come-out' than o t h e r s ,  102  but a l s o that 'being out'  m a y hold less benefit for those w h o e x p e r i e n c e multidimensional o p p r e s s i o n . A s Hutchinson h a s o b s e r v e d : T h e c o m i n g out p r o c e s s . . . d o e s not automatically "liberate" people of colour, w h o , by revealing their s e x u a l orientation a n d attempting to integrate t h e m s e l v e s within white gay and lesbian communities, m a y e n c o u n t e r racial hierarchy.'  103  I would a r g u e , therefore, that the elevation of the i s s u e of ' h o m o p h o b i a ' (narrowly understood) o v e r r a c i s m , or vice v e r s a , within our respective c o m m u n i t i e s inherently prevents consideration of our multidimensional o p p r e s s i o n a s q u e e r people with colour. But this is precisely what is d o n e w h e n our race(s) a n d our sexuality(ies) are articulated not only a s s e p a r a t e c a t e g o r i e s , but a s competitive: w h e n 'homosexuality' is understood a s a white m a n ' s d i s e a s e and w h e n our 'ethnic community' (rather than racism) are c o n c e i v e d of simply a s o b s t a c l e s , preventing the full realization of our ' h o m o s e x u a l ' s e l v e s . T h e rejection of q u e e r people with colour by their families a n d communities, w h a t e v e r the rationale, cannot be d e f e n d e d . H o w e v e r , neither is it productive to simply d i s m i s s this reaction by p e o p l e with colour simply a s a m i s p l a c e d myth that 'homosexuality' is 'a white m a n ' s d i s e a s e . '  1 0 4  It indeed is a 'myth,' but it is o n e w h o s e  content a n d p o w e r h a v e in m a n y w a y s b e e n inherited from a n d in d e f e n c e of the white m a n ' s treatment of people with colour, his racist g a z e upon their sexuality.  40  O n the ultimate question of whether or not the 'outing' of q u e e r p e o p l e , with colour or otherwise, s h o u l d be i m m u n e from legal penalty I take no position. H o w e v e r , by f o c u s i n g e x c l u s i v e l y on the ' h o m o p h o b i a ' of particular 'ethnic' c o m m u n i t i e s (read 'notwhite') rather than the difference(s) in our race(s), our identity(ies) a n d o u r s h a r e d o p p r e s s i o n a s q u e e r people, this article t a k e s a n a p p r o a c h w h i c h adopts rather than c h a l l e n g e s the d i l e m m a s of difference. T h e better alternative h a s b e e n s u m m a r i z e d well by V a l d e s ; 'Difference, recast a s diversity, confirms the reality that w e constitute c r o s s c o m m u n i t i e s with cross-interests. Difference a s diversity p a v e s the w a y for a blend a n d b a l a n c e , rather than a hierarchy o r dichotomy, of identity a n d a f f i n i t i e s . '  105  I would s u g g e s t that rather than a s k i n g whether or not the law s h o u l d ' a c c e p t different levels of tolerance for h o m o s e x u a l s in different parts of the country', o n e should first try to appreciate w h y 'outing' results in different levels of harm a n d benefit for s o m e p e o p l e , a s o p p o s e d to others. O n e should first try to identify the communities of interest w e s h a r e in terms of nurturing a n d safeguarding our ability to c o m e out. A y o u n g e r friend o n c e told me that w h e n s h e c a m e out to her mother, her mother reacted by s u g g e s t i n g that it w a s surely mistaken for her to b e o p e n l y l e s b i a n w h e n s h e w a s already a poor B l a c k w o m a n . A c c o r d i n g to the framework in the article 'Outing', the only pertinent question would be: ' S h o u l d this mother's reaction be "tolerated"?' I would s u g g e s t , h o w e v e r , that this y o u n g w o m a n a n d people like her w o u l d not be any better off if w e determine that it should not? E v e n though I could not help but notice its naivete, I have a l w a y s admired the daughter's r e s p o n s e to her mother: ' Y e s , but now I have another c o m m u n i t y to support m e in my struggles a s a poor B l a c k lesbian w o m a n . ' I w i s h I c o u l d e n d o r s e her optimism. O f c o u r s e , not all legal theory h a s o b s c u r e d or rejected the r e l e v a n c e of multidimensional o p p r e s s i o n to q u e e r people. Indeed, I h a v e heavily relied upon a 41  wealth of published theory on t h e s e i s s u e s . Writers s u c h a s K i m b e r l e y C r e n s h a w , Nitya Iyer (nee D u c l o s ) , M a r y E a t o n a n d D a r r e n L e n a r d H u t c h i n s o n just to n a m e a few. Unfortunately, there is a c o m m o n refrain a m o n g m a n y of t h e s e writers: that the law is either i n c a p a b l e (or j u d g e s unwilling) to a d e q u a t e l y a d d r e s s the i s s u e of multidimensional o p p r e s s i o n .  1 0 6  F o r e x a m p l e , in o n e of her articles D u c l o s a r g u e s that  h u m a n rights l a w s , with its e m p h a s i s on discrete categories or g r o u n d s of discrimination, result the identity(ies) a n d e x p e r i e n c e s of w o m e n with colour being almost entirely e r a s e d .  1 0 7  A n d specifically on the subject of q u e e r p e o p l e , M a r y E a t o n  h a s argued that the legal c o n c e p t of ' s e x u a l orientation', a s a ground or category of prohibited discrimination, has c o m e to be c o d e d 'white' in a m a n n e r w h i c h works to the disfavour of those w h o are q u e e r people with c o l o u r .  108  A s I will a r g u e in the next two chapters the C a n a d i a n legal p r o c e s s , the structure of h u m a n rights/anti-discrimination laws a n d equality j u r i s p r u d e n c e d o indeed limit the potential of law to provide effective redress for t h o s e w h o e x p e r i e n c e multidimensional o p p r e s s i o n a n d foster p r o g r e s s i v e social c h a n g e . H o w e v e r , a s M a r y E a t o n has written: '[njevertheless, the difficulty that arises w h e n the e x i g e n c i e s of the s y s t e m are offered a s r e a s o n s in t h e m s e l v e s to s h e l v e questions of difference is that the n e e d to inquire into the nature a n d extent of difference often is d o w n p l a y e d or d i s m i s s e d a l t o g e t h e r . '  109  But t h e s e q u e s t i o n s simply cannot be left unexplored. Indeed, it m a y be that anti-discrimination laws c a n be d e v e l o p e d , c h a n g e d in s u c h a w a y that they will be better able to effectively a d d r e s s the i s s u e of multidimensional oppression.  1 1 0  R e g a r d l e s s , what I have attempted to articulate in this chapter is that the  obfuscation a n d mariginalization of our difference(s), a n d the fragmentation of our c o m p l e x identity(ies) a s q u e e r people, d o e s not first o c c u r a s w e enter the courthouse. It is a p r o c e s s w h i c h c o n s p i r e s against us in our e v e r y d a y l i v e s — w h e n w e are told not 42  to bring h o m e the 'white m a n ' s d i s e a s e s ' or are told 'not to c o n f u s e the i s s u e of s e x u a l orientation o p p r e s s i o n with race a n d racism.' T h e corollary is that until w e begin the p r o c e s s of exploring a n d e m b r a c i n g our s h a r e d difference(s)—in all a s p e c t s of our lives, p e r s o n a l (and) political—we will be unable to effectively utilize a n y positive d e v e l o p m e n t s within h u m a n rights law.  CONCLUSION  Throughout writing this chapter I h a v e recalled the potent w o r d s of Sojourner Truth, recorded in 1 8 5 1 . S h e had b e e n s h u s h e d by white w o m e n w h o did not want to ' o b s c u r e ' the matter of a universal franchise with the i s s u e of abolition. But tired of listening to the c l a i m s of white men—that ' w o m e n ' could not h a v e a public life b e c a u s e of their 'delicate n a t u r e ' — s h e finally d e c l a r e d : L o o k at my a r m ! I have ploughed a n d planted a n d gathered into barns, a n d no m a n could h e a d m e — a n d ain't I a w o m a n ? I could work a s m u c h a n d eat a s m u c h a s a m a n — w h e n I could get it—and b e a r the lash a s well! A n d ain't I a w o m a n ? I have born thirteen children, a n d s e e n most of ' e m sold into slavery, a n d w h e n I cried out with my mother's grief, none but J e s u s heard m e — a n d ain't I a w o m a n ? 1 1 1  In the d e b a t e s about the liberation of q u e e r people within this society, both race a n d racism are i s s u e s , a m o n g others, that are either often either ignored or c o n f u s e d . T h e c o n c e p t of ' s e x u a l orientation' h a s b e e n constructed in a m a n n e r that c a t e g o r i z e s , a n d the categories it creates s e e m i n g l y d o not permit c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of racially b a s e d differences.  112  E v e n if the term 'queer' may be c o m m o n l y u s e d to avoid patently discreet c a t e g o r i e s — l i k e g a y , l e s b i a n , b i s e x u a l , t r a n s g e n d e r etc.—it h a s a hollow ring in the mouths of s o m e . I would argue that for many, but certainly not all, the term 'queer' is an u n e x a m i n e d c o n c e p t , little more than a linguistically c o n v e n i e n t tool for avoiding the  43  epithet that o n e is being 'exclusionary.' T h e c o n c e p t of ' s e x u a l orientation' h a s despite c h a l l e n g e s r e m a i n e d like blinkers through which i s s u e s 'unrelated to sexuality' are d e e m e d n o n - i s s u e s for the 'queer' community. I h o p e I h a v e given s o m e p a u s e to r e c o n s i d e r the morality a n d honesty of that a p p r o a c h . A l t h o u g h all q u e e r p e o p l e s h a r e o n e or more c o m m u n i t i e s of interests related to h e t e r o s e x i s m a n d h o m o p h o b i a , in order to c h a l l e n g e t h e s e w e must a l s o (perhaps first) r e c o g n i z e our difference(s). F o r in the recognition of t h e s e difference(s) lies a wealth of perspectives that m a y be u s e d to c h a l l e n g e the integrity of the boundary of ' s e x u a l orientation' a n d ' h e t e r o s e x i s m ' t h e m s l e v e s . A s H u t c h i n s o n h a s written: Multidimensionality e x p o s e s the various layers of s o c i a l p o w e r that inform h e t e r o s e x i s m a n d h o m o p h o b i a . Multidimensional a n a l y s i s a l s o reveals the multiple d i m e n s i o n s of s o c i a l identity c a t e g o r i e s a n d offers a c o m p r e h e n s i v e framework for conceptualizing s e x u a l subordination that neither "destroys" nor "fragments" our l i v e s . 1 1 3  T h e c o n c e p t of ' Q u e e r ' is now like a mineral rich field, d i s c o v e r e d a n d then prematurely left fallow. Within the q u e e r community there is a rich diversity of p e o p l e . W e must utilize our difference(s), our diversity, rather than s h e l v e a w a y the reality that w e differ from e a c h other. It is only by doing this that w e will b e a b l e to d i s c o v e r a n d u s e our inter-connectivity in the struggles against h e t e r o s e x i s m a n d h o m o p h o b i a , in all their c o m p l e x forms: Q u e e r n e s s , a construct created in part a s a reaction to s u c h retrenchments, facilitates s e x u a l minority r e s i s t a n c e to hetero-patriarchy through inter-connectivity a n d coalition-building b e c a u s e it represents a c o n s c i o u s effort to t r a n s c e n d a n d reconfigure o u t m o d e d c o n c e p t i o n s of identity a n d identity-based politics...integral strategies for s e x u a l minority solidarity a n d toward s e x u a l minority s u c c e s s in the anti-subordination project. In the chapters to follow, I will continue the exploration of this c o n c e p t , a n d the intersectional nature of the o p p r e s s i o n facing q u e e r p e o p l e . C o n s e q u e n t l y , I will e x p a n d  44  my f o c u s to include extensive d i s c u s s i o n not only of race, but a l s o of the implications of o p p r e s s i o n related to g e n d e r , c l a s s a n d immigrant status, in particular.  I have used this unusual phrase, rather than the more typical 'people of colour' because in my opinion it emphasizes that although 'white' people also have a race, a colour, in this society non-whites are largely viewed as just that, not-white. 1 have used the spelling 'difference(s)' and 'identity(ies)' instead of their accepted spellings to emphasize two interrelated concepts: the first is that although socially, culturally and politically we tend to emphasize one or more aspects of the differences between people, between us, we are all different from each other in a plethora of ways at the same time; the second idea is that the differences we emphasize are often conceptualized as sever-able or severed from our whole selves. Both of these approaches obfuscate the complex reality that the differences between us, and our positions in society are simultaneously and continuously being modified by many, not just one, two, three, four etc. aspects of our identities. S e e for example: Urvashi Vaid, The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation (New York: Doubleday, 1995) [hereinafter 'Vaid']; Darren Lenard Hutchinson, "Out Yet Unseen: A Racial Critique of Gay and Lesbian Legal Theory and Political Discourse" (1997) Vol. 27, Number 2 Connecticut Law Review 561 - 645 [hereinafter 'Hutchinson']; Lisa C. Bower, "Queer Acts and the Politics of "Direct Address": Rethinking Law, Culture, and Community" (1994) Vol. 28, No. 5 Law and Society Review 1009 [hereinafter 'Bower']; Wayne Morgan, "Queer Law: Identity, Culture, Diversity, Law" (1995) 5 Australasian Gay & Lesbian Law Journal 1 [hereinafter 'Morgan']; and, Darren Rosenblum, "Queer Intersectionality and the Failure of Recent Lesbian and Gay 'Victories'" (1994) 4 Law and Sexuality 83 [hereinafter 'Rosenblum']. Sharon Dale Stone, "Introduction" in Sharon Dale Stone, ed., Lesbians in Canada (Toronto: Between the Lines, 1990) at 9 [hereinafter 'Lesbians in Canada']. Also see: Cynthia Petersen, "Envisioning a Lesbian Equality Jurisprudence" [hereinafter 'Peterson] in Herman, Didi and Carl Stychin, eds., Legal Inversions: Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Politics of Law (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995) [hereinafter 'Legal Inversions'] at 119. Adrienne Rich, "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence" in Henry Abelove, era/., eds., The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader (London: New York: Routledge, 1993) [hereinafter 'Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader] at 227 - 254. S e e Morgan, supra note 3 at 10 - 1 2 where it is argued that one of the most basic missions of 'Queer' theory is the Derridian style deconstruction of the epistemological dichotomy or binary of 'Hetero/Homo' and the most basic binary of 'Identity/Difference.' Nevertheless, I shall continue to use the term 'queer' not only because it is linguistically convenient, but also because if used properly it can be an effective conceptual tool in queer liberation. Of course, my use of that term should not, however, be understood as an implicit acceptance of the notion that as 'queer' people we have a homogenous or fundamental identity. (See my 'Conclusion') Francisco Valdes, "Sex and Race in Queer Legal Culture: Ruminations on Identities & InterConnectivities" (1995) 5 Cal. Rev. L. & Women's Studies 25 - 71 [hereinafter 'Valdes'] Hutchinson, supra note 3 at 622. Ibid, in which it is observed that: 'Although several members of the gay political community explicitly reject the importance of incorporating antiracist and poverty concerns in gay and lesbian politics, issues of racial and class subordination are more often marginalized by omission, silence, and neglect.' As Mary Eaton has argued, 'sexual orientation' has come to be coded as 'white.' Therefore '[i]f the very notion of homosexuals as an outsider class requires the erasure of race, then to attempt to reracialize homo-sexuality is to call into question homosexuality's own conception of /tee/fin perhaps the most productive ways.': "Homosexual Unmodified: Speculations on Law's Discourse, Race, and the Construction of Sexual Identity" [Hereinafter 'Eaton'] in Legal Inversions, supra note 4 at 69. Supra note 2. Marlon T. Riggs, "Tongues Untied" in Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men 200, 205 (Essex Hemphill, ed., 1991) Morgan, supra note 3 at 31: 'Queer is about making boundaries between categories problematic. It is an umbrella label for a diversity of "deviant" sexualities: any sexual practice of identity marginalized and I  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  I I  12  1 3  1 4  45  "other"-ised by the mainstream...foe real queer threat lies in its claim to "transcend" identity by pointing out the fluidity of identity boundaries.' (Italics added). S e e Valdes, supra note 8 at 69 where he suggests that by moving beyond 'fixed identity primacies' and consequently the 'difference divide/dilemma' we can begin constructing new subjects using 'political identities.' 16 Ibid, at 33: '...difference is neither fatal nor debilitating to the mutual affinity of communities of men and women defined by a shared minority sexual orientation. Neither sex nor race difference should preclude or obstruct sexual orientation coalitions. Nor can sexual orientation coalitions obscure sex and race difference.' Many of these other identity(ies) will be the subject of greater focus in other chapters of this thesis. For a general discussion of the notion of difference(s) and the dilemma of difference see: Martha Minow, Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion and American Law (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990) [hereinafter 'Minnow']. 1 use the term 'race(s)' for two reasons: first, because some of us share more than one race (an often overlooked fact); and secondly, to recognize that the term 'race(s)' may have a great variety of meanings, depending upon the speaker, the audience, the context etc. It has no one, fixed meaning. And like the term difference(s) its meaning does not inhere to a particular person, but exists and fluctuates as part of our relationships with each other. I shall use the character of the '(s)' in the same, or similar ways throughout this piece. Speaking about the practice among many activists to portray their essentilist politics - built upon exclusively 'gay and lesbian' issues, uncontaminated with issues of race and class - Hutchinson, supra note 3 says: '[fjhe authors' denial of the racial basis for their theories perhaps results from a tendency of many whites not to perceive that they even have a "race."' at fn 260. A s Valdes, supra note 8 has said: '[t]he urgency of cultivating inter-connectivity, the ultimate point of this Article, is one way to help ourselves neutralize and overcome the identity discordants that all of us have acquired from dominant cultural forces as we endeavor toward a better society.' at 36 (Italics Added) Arguably this distortion is not the product of law or the notion of human rights perse but rather a reflection of the distorted image of 'race,' which within society has become the basis for 'racism'. 'Racism' may be understood as a boundary, and as Minnow, supra note 18 has observed: '...the whole concept of a boundary depends on relationships: relationships between the two sides drawn by the boundary, and relationships among people who recognize and affirm the boundary.' at 10. Specifically in the context of queer people, that connection is often celebrated in anthologies written by queer people with colour. S e e for example: Rakesh Ratti, ed., A Lotus of Another Colour: An Unfolding of the South Asian Gay and Lesbian Experience (1993) and Makeda Silvera, ed., Piece of My Heart: A Lesbian of Colour Anthology (1991). Vaid, supra note 3 at 280 laments that: 'I am, after all, who I am: the first Indian and person of colour to run a mainstream gay and lesbian group. Perhaps in this post civil rights era, I must neuter and derace (erase) myself in order to be heard. The point is that simply pointing out the racial dynamics of a situation remains controversial.' (Italics Added) See D. Sadownick, Sex Between Men (San Francisco: Harper, 1996) at 215: 'In addition, racism fueled the imagery. "The premium placed on young white boys," author Steven Saylor says, "is really high". "The cachet they carry is apparently what everyone is looking for".' S e e Hutchinson, supra note 3 at 624: 'Julien and Mercer, for example, observe that "in the gay subculture ...[bjlack men...[are] confined to a narrow repertoire of types - the super-sexual stud and the sexual savage on the one hand, and the delicate and exotic 'Oriental' on the other.'" People who Vaid, supra note 3 describes in this way: 'During the next three and a half years, incidents of racial and gender intolerance piled up like grime from exhaust, a byproduct of working in a gay and lesbian movement that labors under the same racial prejudice, gender binarism, and heterosexism that weigh down the broader society.' Peterson, supra note 4 says at 128: 'As Aguilar-San Juan explains, "[f]or those of us who are Asian, losing connections to our family represents one of our greatest fears, since in this white society, our cultural identity depends precisely on family links'" See, supra note 20. See, supra note 13. See Joan W. Howarth, "First and Last Chance: Looking for Lesbians in Fifties Bar Cases" (1995) 5 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women's Studies 153 - 172. In arguing that we do not all experience homophobia in the 1 5  1 7  1 8  19  2 0  2  2 2  2 3  2 4  2 5  2 6  2 7  2 8  2 9  3 0 3 1  3 2  46  same way she says: 'A lesbian or gay identity is formed, at least in part, in response to, or in resistance of, oppression... As to that repression, especially legal enforcement of societal homophobia, lesbians are not all similarly situated. Perhaps the point be made stronger by comparing anti-gay repression directed at two homosexuals: one male, one female; one professionally powerful, one working class; one white and privileged, one Latina.' at 165. Minnow, supra note 18 has observed that in the context of law, certain assumptions are made about the perspective that matters in judging the world. Regarding these she observes that '[sjuch assumptions about knowledge, categories, and boundaries usually remain implicit and unexamined. Making them explicit permits debate and the exploration of alternatives.' at 12. This, of course, cannot be accomplished effectively if the social movements which seek to challenge those boundaries themselves insist and rely upon one perspective. Isabelle R. Gunning, "Stories from Home: Tales from the Intersection of Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation" (1995) 5 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women's Studies 143 [hereinafter Gunning] at 147: 'Most of us grew up understanding that we were black, and that bad things could happen to us because of that, long before we discovered that we were lesbian or gay.' For one of the first pieces written on the subject on the subject of those who experience 'intersectional' oppression and the futility of ignoring this reality, see: Kimberley Crenshaw, "Demarginalizing the Inter-section of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics" (1989) 89 University of Chicago Legal Forum 139. [Hereinafter 'Crenshaw'] Discussed in Eaton, supra note 11 at 54 - 56. Ibid, at 56. In this context, it is also interesting to note that some gay black men represent their oppression due to racist-heterosexism in their fantasy drag ball performances: 'What viewers [of Paris is Burning] wit-ness is not black men longing to impersonate or even to become like "real" black women but their obsession with an idealized, fetishized vision of femininity that is white.' bell hooks, "Is Paris Burning?" in Black Looks: Race and Representation at 147 - 48 (cited in Hutchinson, supra note 3 at 574, fn 57) 3  3 4  3 5  3 6 37  38  S e e Hutchinson, supra note 3 at 583: 'Moreover, because race and class also create privilege, these statuses may offer some insulation from forces of oppression.' Vaid, supra note 3 at 284 has observed that:'[...] I believe that most gay and lesbian people neither under-stand nor value the importance of multiracial and multi-issue politics. They remain uninterested and unmotivated.' Supra note 9. Gunning, supra note 34 at 147: 'Maybe it is especially frightening for black women because, as Barabara Smith once noted, "heterosexual privilege is usually the only privilege that black women have.'" For a 'parable' presented and then discussed which demonstrates the divisiveness in part engendered by the obfuscation of difference(s) see Valdes, supra note 8 at 36 - 47. Vaid, supra note 3 at 291. For example, as Valdes, supra note 8 observed at 38 - 39: 'First, it seems more than simple coincidence that the two panelists who were persons of colour elected to address subjects emphasizing the inter-connectedness and relevancy of other sexually subordinated communities to the legal situation of lesbians, whereas the remaining three panelists, all white, elected to focus exclusively on lesbian issues as such.' S e e for example: D. Lisa Powell, "United Lesbians of African Heritage" (1995) 5 S. Cal. Rev. Law & Women's Studies 81 [hereinafter 'Powell'] and Sheila M. Aguilar, "Los Angeles Asian Pacific Islander Sisters (LAAPIS) (1995) 5 S. Cal. Rev. Law & Women's Studies 75. For the devastating impact this has had in terms of the rates of infection with the HIV virus in the communities of people with colour, and the consequent formation of organizations formed to specifically address the needs of these communities, see: Alonso, A n a Maria, and Maria Teresa Koreck, "Silences: 'Hispanics,' AIDS, and Sexual Practices" in Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader supra note 5 at 110 - 1 2 6 . Also see Vaid, supra note 3 who argues that the 'mainstream' gay and lesbian community failed to incorporate into policy making regarding the struggle against AIDs issues of race and class through a process that she calls 'Decoupling AIDs from Systemic Reform': at 86 - 105. In speaking about her experiences of racism and sexism within queer communities, Vaid, supra note 3 at 276 notes that '[sjometimes the insensitive or frankly racists or sexist behaviour came from white gay men and women. Other times, it came from feminists and people of colour.' 3 9  40  4 1  4 2  4 3 4 4  4 5  4 6  4 7  47  For example, Powell, supra note 45 at 84 describes an event at which both Latinas and black lesbians were invited. It was not a great success. Speaking about the reaction of members of her organization - geared towards black lesbians - after the event: 'But they were so upset with us. W e learned that we have to do more educating, we have to do more consciousness building and we have to build more working relationships. We are just going to have to get together more so that we have a consciousness as an entity; so we know "house" music is not the only kind of music that we can have fun with.' Vaid, supra note 3 at 278. Valdes, supra note 8 describes and rejects this practice, saying at 40: 'Neither sex, race nor sexual orientation can "come first" in the configuration of human identities, politics and communities. I reject this notion of fixed or unitary identity because the sense of primacy it protects belies human experience, not to mention the compelling objections of recent works. Any proposition expressly or impliedly flowing from that notion is therefore untenable. In fact, this notion of fixed identity is not only conceptually unsound, but also politically naive.' (References omitted). A n inability which goes against the grain of the lived reality of multidimensional oppression: 'We also find it difficult to separate race from class from sex oppression because in our lives they are most often experienced simultaneously. W e know that there is such a thing as racial-sexual oppression which is neither solely racial nor solely sexual...' (Combahee River Collective, "A Black Feminist Statement" in This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (New York: Kitchen Table Press, 1983) at 213.) Valdes, supra note 8 says at 41: T h i s reductive and categorical approach to identity not only obscures complexities that truncate discourse, but also creates a politic of exclusion which is detrimental to the necessary politics of coalition that sexual minorities must mount to triumph in a world of majoritarian rule...an exclusionary and self-defeating divisiveness.' Vaid, supra note 3 at 269 observes that 'I think one of the main reasons that gay and lesbian political organizations have been unable to tap into larger numbers of supporters is the middle- to uppermiddle-class orientation of their agendas, outreach, and representation.' For a general discussion about the way in which particular 'political' perspectives marginalize others within the 'gay and lesbian' social movements see: Didi Herman, Rights of Passage: Struggles for Lesbian and Gay Equality. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994) This is an assumption which is largely supported by the reality of 'gay and lesbian' social movement activism. The relevance of issues and experiences 'unrelated' to 'sexual orientation' are both explicitly rejected by many, and even more often implicitly ignored - given the nature of those issues which are chosen for action and the 'essentialist' descriptions of the gay or the lesbian. For a discussion of these phenomenon generally see: Vaid & Hutchinson, supra note 3 and Valdes, supra note 8. In particular, Hutchinson at 563 observes that in 'the "dominant" gay and lesbian culture and scholarship...issues of racial and class subordin-ation are neglected or rejected and...a universal gay and lesbian experience is assumed.' Minnow, supra note 18 at 152 has observed regarding the construction of an 'abstract individual' that: 'Despite the implied aspiration of universal inclusion, the social contract approach has been deeply exclusionary...this conception amounts to a preference for some points of view over others; it takes some types of people as the norm and assigns a position of difference to others (thus adopting the assumptions behind the difference dilemma).' I first came across this 'but for' concept in an article written by Crenshaw, supra note 35. Discussing the experiences of Black women in relation to anti-discrimination law she argues that their oppression is left to an extent unanswered because those laws have as their narrow objective only the regulation of treatment based on race or sex. As she says at 151: 'Notions of what constitutes race and sex discrimination are, as a result, narrowly tailored to embrace only a small set of circumstances, none of which include discrimination against Black women.' S e e also: Nitya Duclos, "Disappearing Women: Racial Minority Women in Human Rights Cases" (1993) 6 Canadian Journal of Women and Law 25 [hereinafter 'Duclos']. For the purposes of this piece, I would argue that an analogous process occurs in the formulation of agendas within mainstream gay and lesbian social movements plagued with identity politics. S e e Ruthann Robson, "To Market, To Market: Considering Class in the Context of Lesbian Legal Theories and Reforms" (1995) S. Cal. Rev. Law & Women's Studies 173 - 184. An important line of discussion in these debates concerns whether those who experience multidimensional oppression will benefit as much as those who 'do not' experience oppression 'but for' their 4 8  4 9 5 0  5 1  5  5 3  5 4  5 5  5 6  5 7  5 8  48  sexual orientation. For a bibliographic footnote about these debates, see Hutchinson,  supra  note 3 at 586  - 8 7 , fn 108 & 109. This issue will be discussed in greater detail in the following two chapters. S e e for example Nitya Duclos, "Some Complicating Thoughts of S a m e - S e x Marriage" (1991) 1 L. & 5 9  6 0  Sexuality 31. 6 1  This tragic incident is described in detail by Hutchinson,  supra  note 3 at 567 - 573.  Hutchinson, supra note 3 at 571. Vaid, supra note 3 observes at 268: T h e emergence of an institutionalized gay and lesbian civil rights movement is in fact linked to the emergence from the closet of professional and middle-class gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. In this respect, we are no different from other reform movements of modern times; reformers seem to be people with the time, luxury and security to engage in the political process.' Also see: Marlee Kline, "Race, Racism, and Feminist Legal Theory" (1989) 12 Harvard Women's Law Journal 115 [hereinafter 'Kline'] also notes at 116 that within the feminist movement, '[white women have] the power to portray our own experiences as wholly representative of the experiences of all women.' Vaid, supra note 3 says that '[o]n an ideological level, resistance to tackling racism and sexism comes from gay legitimationists who believe that broadening the movement's scope to encompass race and gender will involve it in issues that are not "our issues.'" at 282. S e e Valdes, supra note 8 at 48: 'As I have shown elsewhere, the past and present enforcement of sex/gender norms and hierarchies under the conflation of sex, gender and sexual orientation 6 2  6 3  6 4  6  is design to ensure the cultural and political subordination of lesbians, gay men and other "sexual a defy Euro-centric hetero-patriarchy.' and also Hutchinson, supra note 3 who states at 640 that:  'Ultimately, I view multidimensionality as a discursive project aimed at unveiling the complexity of subordination and identity...' For example, in regards to the notion of 'immutability' - often used as a basis for protection from discrim-ination related to 'sexual orientation' - Nitya Iyer has observed that: 'By focusing on immutability, the test reinforces an understanding of ascribed social characteristics as intrinsic to individuals, rather than comparative or relational; as inevitable, rather than historically and geographically variable; and as neutral, rather than reflecting a particular pattern of social relations.' (Nitya Iyer, "Categorical Denials: Equality and the Shaping of Social Identity" (1993) 19 Queens Law Journal 179). For a general theoretical description of the kind of coalition based political action - one which does not adopt a pre-configured category such as 'sexual orientation' inherited from law - that I would suggest is preferable, see Bower, supra note 3. S e e for example: Diana Majury, "Refashioning the Unfashionable: Claiming Lesbian Identities in the Legal Context" (1994) 7 Canadian Journal of Women and Law 286; and, Peterson, supra note 4 at 119. S e e for example: Douglas Sanders, "Constructing Lesbian and G a y Rights" (1994) 9 Canadian Journal of Law and Society 99 Morgan, supra note 3 at 28. Valdes, supra note 8 at 35. For a sample of these debates, see for example: Alan Freeman, "Racism, Rights and the Quest for Equality of Opportunity: A Critical Legal Essay" (1988) 23 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 295 and Patricia J . Williams, "Alchemical Notes: Reconstructing Ideals from Deconstructed Rights" (1987) 22 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 401 - 433. Donald G . Casswell, Lesbians, Gay Men, and Canadian Law (Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications, 1996) [hereinafter'Casswell'] 6 6  6 7  6 8  6 9  7 0  7 1  7 2  7 3  74 7 5  7 6  7 7  78 7 9  8 0  8 1  8 2  83  Ibid, at 1.  Casswell, supra note 73 at 18. Casswell, supra note 73 at 18. Casswell, supra, note 73 at 17. Morgan, supra note 3 at 12. Duclos, supra note 56 at 42. A s did women of colour in human rights law enforcement, as described by Duclos, S e e for example: Crenshaw, supra note 35 and Kline, supra note 63. Casswell, supra note 73 at 18.  supra  note 56.  Casswell, supra note 73 at 556. S e e Casswell, supra note 73 at 567 - 574. An opposite-sex 'fiancee' can on condition that the sponsor and fiancee marry each within a limited period of time after arrival in C a n a d a . Casswell, supra note 73 at 572. 8 4  49 8 5  S e e for example: Lisa Marie Jakubowski, Immigration and the Legalization Fernwood, 1997). Casswell, supra note 73 at 572. 8 6  of Racism (Halifax, N.S.,  8 7  88  Casswell, supra note 73 at 572. Casswell, supra note 73 at 570. For example Hutchinson, supra note 3 at 607 - 608 argues that is more difficult for 'poor' queer people to be openly queer. Also see supra note 29. Bruce MacDougall, "Outing: The Law Reacts to Speech about Homosexuality" 21 Queen's Law Journal 7 9 - 124 [hereinafter 'Outing']. Ibid, at 79 (Precis). The practice of 'outing,' and therefore this article must be understood in its context. I would suggest that it is now commonly accepted by queer theorists that perhaps one of the greatest obstacles to our liberation is the persistence of the 'closet': the lamentable practice of many queer people to either completely submerge their 'queerness' or to lead double lives in which, to varying degrees, their 'queerness' is severed from other aspects of their lived identity(ies). It is within this highly frustrating context that 'outing' developed as a political strategy which it was hoped would facilitate the liberation of queer people. Outing, supra note 91 at 109. See Hutchinson, supra note 3 says at 602: '[Queer theorists] also marginalize racial and class differences by attempting to articulate "common" experiences of or assumptions about all gay and lesbian people. These common experiences and assumptions, however, may obscure the realities of people of color and the poor.' For example, it has been argued that in Hispanic culture, the bi-polar and biological notions of 'male' and 'female' are not as integral as they are in Western understanding of sexuality are not central. Some argue furthermore, that the obfuscation of this fact has had a devastating impact on the ability of those who assume a Western understanding of sexuality to combat AIDs and HIV. S e e for example Ana Maria Alonso, supra note 46. Consider the reaction of the media and the police in the Rivera matter discussed above. A s Hutchinson, supra note 3 has observed at 612 that: '...the collision between Julio Rivera's Latino ("macho") and gay ("effeminate") statuses, for example, demonstrate the shifting nature of these seemingly "essentializing assumptions and reveal that many of these prejudices may really reflect heterosexual's society's negative perception of white gays and lesbians (or, possibly, a perception that all gays and lesbians are white). Further-more, stressing the universality of homophobic assumptions may obscure the act that there assumptions interact with, rely upon, and reinforce other negative constructs (such as racial stereotypes).' Outing, supra note 91 at 118. See for example: Gunning, supra note 34 at 147 observes that: 'We, as African-American women, historically have been unrapeable because we are oversexed and always "want it." W e are each the "negress slut." Much of our efforts has gone into trying to convince white people that we are a people with qualities other than stupidity, strength and sexuality.' S e e Crenshaw, supra note 35 at 157. The Black man suffers from the image of the potential rapist. See Harper, Phillip Brian, "Eloquence and Epitaph: Black Nationalism and the Homophobic Impulse in Responses to the Death of Max Robinson" in The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, supra note 5 at 163: 'In the classic text on the subject, Calvin C. Hernton has argued that the black man has historically been perceived as the bearer of a bestial sexuality, as the savage "walking phallus" that poses a constant threat to an idealized white womanhood and thus to the whole U S social order.' Peterson, supra note 4 at 124 states: 'Cheryl Clarke explains that one possible source of heterosexism in Black communities is the desire of Black Americans "to debunk the racist mythology which says [Black] sexuality is depraved.'" S e e Peterson, supra note 4 at 125: 'The legacy of slavery...may contribute to the silencing and enforced invisibility of lesbians in contemporary Black communities.' Ibid. S e e supra note 8. 8 9 9 0  9 1  92  9 3 9 4  9 5  9 6  9 7 9 8  9 9  1 0 0  101  1 0 2  103  Hutchinson, supra note 3 at 603. Outing, supra note 91 at 118. Gunning, supra note 34 at 146 observes that there seems to be a (mis)per-ception that the Black community is more homophobic. Not only does she reject this notion, but goes on to argue that: T o o often white folk in the lesbian and gay community want to latch on to statements or intim-ations that the black community is more homophobic maybe because it releases them 1 0 4  50  from some of the hard and painful work of dealing with their racism, personally as well as organizationally. Perhaps, it allows them to avoid becoming multicultural and multiperspectival.' Valdes, supra note 8 at 61. S e e for example: Crenshaw, supra note 35. Duclos, supra note 56. Eaton, supra note 11. Ibid, at 50. S e e for example: Mary Eaton, "Patently Confused: Complex Inequality and Canada v. Mossop" Vol. 1, No. 2 Review of Constitutional Studies 203 - 245. At 206 she notes that: 'The subject of my critical intervention is the attempt of the majority of the court to forge a new analytic for addressing complex equality claims. Specifically, the majority seems to have signaled that it is prepared to abandon the socalled "water-tight compartments" approach to human rights interpretation, and that it will not construe sexual orientation and other non-discrimination guarantees in the same restrictive way the lower courts have in the past.' Quoted in: Crenshaw, supra note 35 at 153. A s Duclos, supra note 56 has argued (at 50) that in the context of anti-discrimination law jurisprudence the problem is not the use of 'categories' perse but the manner in which they are used: as 'blinkers' rather than 'as a "jumping off' point, a springboard providing the opportunity to construct an intricate picture of the stereotypes and relationships involved.' I would argue the same holds true in political discourse and legal theory about queer issues. Hutchinson, supra note 3 at 640. Valdes, supra note 8 at 71. 1 0 5  1 0 6  1 0 7 1 0 8  109  1 1 0  1 1 1  1 1 2  1 1 3 1 1 4  51  Chapter Two: Who Guards the Borders of Canada's "Gay" Community: A Case Study of the Benefits of the Proposed Redefinition of "Spouse" Within the Immigration Act to Include Same-Sex Couples INTRODUCTION: T H E C E N T R A L I T Y O F ' C A T E G O R I C A L ' EQUALITY  In this chapter I f o c u s more directly upon o n e of two b r a n c h e s of law, namely, legislation a n d statutorily regulated s y s t e m s . In the chapter immediately following this one I will turn my attention to another important branch of law, that being judge m a d e law, including in particular the application a n d interpretation of the In F e b r u a r y of 2 0 0 0 Bill C - 2 3 , An Act to modernize to benefits and obligations  the Statutes  Charter. of Canada  in relation  w a s introduced in P a r l i a m e n t . T h i s Bill, if p a s s e d , will extend 1  the status of " c o m m o n - l a w partner" to s a m e - s e x conjugal r e l a t i o n s h i p s — w h e r e it had previously b e e n limited to o p p o s i t e - s e x unmarried c o u p l e s — f o r the p u r p o s e s of most federal statutes. T h i s new, unified category will therefore incorporate the relationships of both opposite a n d s a m e - s e x unmarried conjugal c o u p l e s a s a b a s i c legal 'unit' in s e v e r a l federally regulated s y s t e m s a n d institutions, s u c h a s the i n c o m e tax s y s t e m . O n e of the f e w federal statutes omitted from the Bill is the Immigration A c t .  2  N e v e r t h e l e s s , the G o v e r n m e n t of C a n a d a r e l e a s e d the report Building o n a Strong Foundation for the 21st Century: N e w Directions for Immigration a n d R e f u g e e Policy a n d L e g i s l a t i o n (hereinafter ' N e w Directions') in 1 9 9 8 . A s the title s u g g e s t s , '[tjhis 3  d o c u m e n t . . . e s t a b l i s h e s the g o v e r n m e n t ' s ten broad directions' for immigration a n d refugee p o l i c y . O n e of t h o s e directions is the 'recognition of c o m m o n - l a w a n d s a m e 4  s e x relationships through regulatory c h a n g e s . ' T h e specific type of 'recognition' that is 5  p r o p o s e d is the e x t e n s i o n of the ability o f a C a n a d i a n to s p o n s o r t h e immigration of a 52  s a m e - s e x ' s p o u s e ' a s part of the Immigration A c t ' s 'family c l a s s ' (hereinafter 'family 6  c l a s s ' ) . T h e primary practical a d v a n t a g e of inclusion within the family c l a s s is clear: T h e application is p r o c e s s e d b e c a u s e of the c l o s e relative in C a n a d a . A p p l i c a n t s for a n immigrant v i s a w h o s e applications are s p o n s o r e d by a C a n a d i a n citizen are not required to meet a n y of the s e l e c t i o n criteria that are applied to other applicants...In e s s e n c e , m e m b e r s h i p in the c l a s s b e c o m e s the selection s t a n d a r d . 7  A l t h o u g h m e m b e r s h i p within the 'family c l a s s ' d o e s not m e a n that a p e r s o n cannot be e x c l u d e d from C a n a d a for r e a s o n s of criminal inadmissibility, for e x a m p l e , it d o e s e x e m p t a p e r s o n from the requirement to p a s s a p o i n t s - b a s e d a s s e s s m e n t . Currently, the only w a y a p e r s o n c a n migrate to C a n a d a based upon a s a m e - s e x s p o u s a l relationship with a C a n a d i a n is through a n 'Humanitarian a n d C o m p a s s i o n a t e A p p l i c a t i o n ' (hereinafter ' H & C ' ) . But a s a primary method of facilitating the immigration 8  of s a m e - s e x partners to C a n a d a H & C s a r e problematic. T h e highly discretionary nature of t h e s e administrative d e c i s i o n s results in i n c o n s i s t e n c y a n d a lack of transparency that c a n be problematic g i v e n the possibility of h o m o p h o b i a a m o n g individual officers. T h e 9  discretionary nature of the p r o c e s s m e a n s there are no fixed criteria. C o n s e q u e n t l y , d e c i s i o n s a r e difficult to c h a l l e n g e while h o m o p h o b i a is e a s y to hide. Unlike with H & C s — i n w h i c h officers have the flexibility to turn their minds to a potentially infinite range of c i r c u m s t a n c e s that call for 'humanitarian a n d c o m p a s s i o n a t e ' treatment—explicit regulatory inclusion within the family c l a s s is key b e c a u s e it is a finite list. If y o u r relationship is o n e of the categories/types identified, y o u are in the c l a s s ; if it is not, no matter h o w important a relationship, or h o w c l o s e l y it r e s e m b l e s o n e that is i n c l u d e d , you are simply not o n 'the list.' the proposal o n the table is to ' e x p a n d the definition of spouse  53  10  functionally  Importantly therefore,  to include c o m m o n - l a w  and same-sex partners'  11  ( e m p h a s i s a d d e d ) within the c a t e g o r y w h i c h currently only  includes married c o u p l e s . E q u a l l y important, the proposal to r e c o g n i s e s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s a s a type of ' s p o u s a l ' (or marriage-like) relationship largely a c c o r d s with the d e m a n d s of s o m e prominent gay a n d lesbian s o c i a l m o v e m e n t activists a n d community g r o u p s . F o r e x a m p l e , the and Gay Immigration  Lesbian  Task Force s u m m a r i s e d its d e m a n d s in this way: a single  category w h i c h would include 'married heterosexual relationships, c o m m o n law heterosexual relationships a n d s a m e - s e x relationships...our b a s i c c o n c e r n is that there be a single category.'  12  T h i s paramount c o n c e r n for what I h a v e t e r m e d 'categorical  equality' is a l s o reflected in the r e s p o n s e of Equality  for Gays and Lesbian  Everywhere  (hereinafter ' E G A L E ' ) : T h e important question is the criteria u s e d to identify a qualifying relationship, rather than the specific label u s e d to d e s c r i b e it. A s a result, Immigration m a y c h o o s e to u s e l a n g u a g e referring to " s p o u s e s " , "relationships of interdependency", "intimate partnerships" or simply "qualifying relationships". T w o important c o n s i d e r a t i o n s n e e d apply, however: (i) W h a t e v e r l a n g u a g e is u s e d must not create hierarchies. F o r e x a m p l e , it would be objectionable to d e s c r i b e heterosexual relationships a s " s p o u s a l " in nature a n d relegate s a m e - s e x relationships to s o m e "other" c l a s s . . . . 13  It is not surprising that the p r o p o s e d recognition of s a m e - s e x relationships a s equivalent—both functionally and categorically—to o p p o s i t e - s e x conjugal relationships is c o n s i d e r e d a s r e a s o n to celebrate by m a n y .  1 4  First of all, it s h o u l d be r e c o g n i z e d that  it h a s b e e n a long a n d a r d u o u s struggle to get politicians a n d g o v e r n m e n t s to r e c o g n i z e , in a n y w a y w h a t s o e v e r , the value of s a m e - s e x s p o u s a l relationships. M o r e o v e r , the d e m a n d for categorical equality must be understood in the context of a broader shift within gay a n d lesbian s o c i a l m o v e m e n t s in recent y e a r s .  1 5  In the early  1970s g a y a n d l e s b i a n activism w a s more often c h a r a c t e r i s e d by highly c h a r g e d , 54  liberatory inspired d e m a n d s for recognition and respect of the different sexualities a n d lifestyles of g a y s and l e s b i a n s . H o w e v e r , by the 1 9 9 0 s most social m o v e m e n t g r o u p s w e r e fixated on e s c h e w i n g any and all differences b e t w e e n g a y s and l e s b i a n s and m a i n s t r e a m heterosexual society, or a s I shall a r g u e , its ideological m o d e l .  1 6  G e n e r a l l y , d e m a n d s for the liberation of g a y and lesbian s e x from the social and legal s h a c k l e s of heterosexist normativity h a v e b e e n r e p l a c e d with c l a i m s for incorporation within the m a i n s t r e a m b a s e d upon the fundamental ' s a m e n e s s ' of s a m e - s e x and o p p o s i t e - s e x relationships: B y the late 1 9 8 0 s . . . " h o m o s e x u a l s " w e r e portrayed...in short, a s a c l a s s not d e c i d e d l y distinct from h e t e r o s e x u a l s and wrongfully stereotyped a s sexually o d d or different. That the types of c a s e s w h i c h h a v e b e e n brought forward h a v e shifted s o markedly in the direction of s p o u s a l or family c l a i m s is e v i d e n c e of this, a s is the w a y t h o s e c l a i m s t h e m s e l v e s have been framed. 17  T h e three main a s p e c t s of t h e s e types of claims, s u c h a s that for inclusion within the family c l a s s , are t h e s e : (1) w e are the s a m e , therefore (2) w e want to be treated similarly, through (3) inclusion in the s a m e categories a s married people and opposites e x unmarried s p o u s e s . T h e s e three distinct a s p e c t s , w h e n c o m b i n e d , constitute what I shall refer to in this chapter a s the 'formal equality' a p p r o a c h to r e f o r m .  18  Although the  first of t h e s e is the thematic f o c u s of this chapter, a s I shall d i s c u s s in the C o n c l u s i o n it is w h e n all three c o m b i n e — f o r m i n g a n impenetrable core 'truth' about the tenets of g a y and lesbian equality-seeking—that the ability to e v e n imagine, let alone strive for b r o a d b a s e d progressive social c h a n g e for the benefit of q u e e r p e o p l e is s e v e r e l y h a m p e r e d . Turning now to the central f o c u s of this chapter, o n e of the most troubling a s p e c t s of the formal equality a p p r o a c h to reform is not a l w a y s its g o a l s , perse,  but the  essentialist a s s u m p t i o n w h i c h underlies the a p p r o a c h itself: that is, that there is a group  55  called ' g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s ' (and/or people w h o h a v e ' s a m e - s e x relationships') w h i c h is h o m o g e n e o u s . A s Nitya D u c l o s has o b s e r v e d : '[i]n arguing that a s a m e - s e x marriage bar is bad (or good), w e implicitly a s s u m e a universal s a m e - s e x f a m i l y . '  19  In other  w o r d s , this a p p r o a c h a s s u m e s a universal a n d singular c o m m o n a l i t y of interest b a s e d on s e x u a l orientation. C o n v e r s e l y , w e a l s o tend to a s s u m e a universal o p p o s i t e - s e x family. T h e most o b v i o u s implication of this is that the differences among  q u e e r s , in our relationships 2 0  a n d e v e n in our different aspirations a n d interests, are all s u b m e r g e d . H o w e v e r , c a t e g o r i e s are n e c e s s a r y , s i n c e without t h e m w e w o u l d b e i n c a p a b l e of holding the complexity of the world in our minds. N e v e r t h e l e s s , w e must be vigilant about the w a y s in w h i c h w e utilize categorical thinking. C a t e g o r i e s d o not simply  mirror reality. In m a n y  w a y s they create it, they mould it like carnival mirrors. A s s u c h , w e must be cautious of the w a y s in w h i c h c a t e g o r i e s are a p p l i e d , in particular, in a s s u m i n g that they d e m a r c a t e a singular a n d universal commonality of interest. In this c h a p t e r I will continue the p r o c e s s of vigorously interrogating 'our' differences, the extent to w h i c h our interests a s 'queer people' both c o n v e r g e , a n d diverge. I will question the w a y s in w h i c h 'we' differ generally a n d in particular a s regards o u r interests a n d aspirations vis-a-vis the C a n a d i a n immigration s y s t e m . Is it likely that w e , all of us, will benefit from the p r o p o s e d redefinition of ' s p o u s e ' in the immigration regulations? Will there be any correlation between the ability to a c c e s s the benefits of t h e s e p r o p o s e d reforms a n d r a c e , c l a s s , g e n d e r , ability e t c . ? W h o among  us is positioned to  suffer greater d i s a d v a n t a g e , or the i n c r e a s e d potential of harm in c o n n e c t i o n with ' s u c c e s s ' ? H o w c a n w e tailor our d e m a n d s s o that the least h a r m is d o n e to those least able to a b s o r b more d i s a d v a n t a g e ? Ultimately, the central question explored in this 56  chapter is: ' S h o u l d g a y a n d lesbian equality-seeking g r o u p s be s e e k i n g the recognition of g a y a n d l e s b i a n relationships through a redefinition of the term " s p o u s e " within the immigration regulations?' T h i s type of question, s a d l y , is all too u n c o m m o n within political a n d a c a d e m i c a n a l y s e s about how best to r e c o g n i s e the v a l u e a n d equality of g a y a n d lesbian relationships. O n e of the primary benefits of being r e c o g n i s e d a s ' s a m e - s e x s p o u s e s ' (namely formal equality with o p p o s i t e - s e x relationships) is a s c l e a r a s ink o n paper, w h e r e a s substantive d i s a d v a n t a g e s a n d limitations must be s e a r c h e d for, explained a n d proven; a burden of proof difficult to d i s c h a r g e given the complexity of the i s s u e s a n d the apparently h e g e m o n i c c o n s e n s u s regarding the benefits of incorporation within s p o u s a l c a t e g o r i e s . This view is reflected in the leadership of J o h n F i s h e r , executive director of E G A L E : A s F i s h e r points out, E G A L E n e e d s a " c o h e s i v e r e s p o n s e that w e c a n put to M P ' s . " Trying to redefine benefits s o that they are not b a s e d on relationships at all w o u l d be very difficult b e c a u s e "it w o u l d divert the d e b a t e a w a y from lesbian and g a y equality i s s u e s to policy i s s u e s which w e ' r e not really m a n d a t e d or competent to p r o p o s e . " 21  E v e n w h e n t h e s e complexities are d i s c u s s e d , attempts to problematize or de-centre the formal equality a p p r o a c h to s a m e - s e x relationship recognition are often resisted by reference to three arguments: first, the affirmation of the equality of 'gay a n d lesbian families' is of p a r a m o u n t importance; s e c o n d l y , m o s t objections a r e pedantic in their e m p h a s i s on abstract theory (usually of feminist origin) about either remote, or downright inapplicable, risks of h a r m ; a n d thirdly, all that is being sought is the right of t h o s e w h o w i s h it, to ' c h o o s e ' s p o u s a l recognition. I intend to u s e the a m e n d m e n t of the family c l a s s a s a c a s e - s t u d y to illustrate a n d clarify the w a y s in w h i c h t h e s e three a r g u m e n t s in particular are, in my opinion, improperly d e p l o y e d to rhetorically s i l e n c e 57  t h o s e w h o are legitimately critical of, or simply question the v a l u e presumptively a s c r i b e d to s a m e - s e x relationships of q u e e r people being incorporated generally into the legal s y s t e m a s ' s p o u s a l . ' F u n d a m e n t a l l y , formal equality is extremely difficult to de-centre b e c a u s e although I h a v e s p o k e n of it a s an ' a p p r o a c h , ' a s Smith h a s a r g u e d it is no longer c o n s i d e r e d simply a n a p p r o a c h , or strategy for reform, but h a s b e c o m e 'the' ultimate goal of reform. F o r e x a m p l e , E G A L E ' s work is d e s c r i b e d in this w a y : For E G A L E , lesbian a n d g a y rights w e r e defined in terms of formal equality or similar t r e a t m e n t . . . E G A L E ' s p u s h for equality and antidiscrimination m e a s u r e s w a s not c o n n e c t e d to a n y b r o a d e r s o c i a l a n d political a n a l y s i s of the power relations affecting sexuality a n d s e x u a l orientation identity. 22  T o b e fair, the assumption  of g r o u p s s u c h a s E G A L E is that the 'legal' recognition of  s a m e - s e x ' s p o u s a l ' relationships will in large m e a s u r e rectify the historic ' s o c i a l ' invisibility of g a y a n d l e s b i a n families, or s o the a r g u m e n t g o e s . N e v e r t h e l e s s , I think that for the most part, Smith is correct in that the formal equality h a s b e c o m e a selfjustifying legal objective held high aloft of political d i s c o u r s e a n d contest about the appropriate g o a l s of a n d strategies for a c h i e v i n g s o c i a l c h a n g e . In this chapter, however, I will insist u p o n u n d e r s t a n d i n g formal equality a s just o n e a m o n g m a n y p o s s i b l e a p p r o a c h e s to social a n d political reform. C o n v e r s e l y to the a p p r o a c h taken by E G A L E , I will f o c u s u p o n a rigorous exploration of s o m e of the policy i s s u e s a s s o c i a t e d with s a m e - s e x ' s p o u s a l ' recognition. B y resisting the a s s u m e d universal commonality of interest of q u e e r people, a n d instead studying the p r o p o s e d reforms from the c o m p l e x a n d multi-dimensional p e r s p e c t i v e s a n d s o c i a l locations of q u e e r p e o p l e , I h o p e to demonstrate that it is i n d e e d the formal equality a p p r o a c h to reform w h i c h h a s b e c o m e pedantic in its dogmatic a s s u m p t i o n of its o w n value. F a r 58  from being reflective of s o m e neutral truth about q u e e r e x i s t e n c e (such a s , for e x a m p l e , that w e would all benefit from s a m e - s e x ' s p o u s a l ' recognition) the formal equality a p p r o a c h to reform is very political indeed insofar a s it centers a n d naturalises a perspective which is quite m i d d l e - c l a s s , white a n d m a l e in its partiality. It is this partiality of perspective, I will a r g u e , w h i c h promotes the obfuscation of the contradictory implications of q u e e r relationships being r e c o g n i s e d — w h e t h e r by c h o i c e or a s a c o n s e q u e n c e of more c o e r c i v e m e c h a n i s m s — a s ' s p o u s e s . ' T h e formal 2 3  equality a p p r o a c h to reform is o n e w h i c h cannot e v e n c o m p r e h e n d the reality that at the s a m e m o m e n t that ' s p o u s a l ' status is being transformed to include s o m e s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s , the trend towards the privatisation of s o c i a l a n d e c o n o m i c responsibility for ' d e p e n d a n t s ' is gaining strength by e q u a l m e a s u r e . O n a n interrelated, yet s e p a r a t e point, S u s a n B. B o y d h a s c o m m e n t e d that '...the incorporation of l e s b i a n s a n d g a y men within family law m a y be a s m u c h about the domestication of deviant sexualities within a s a f e , useful a n d r e c o g n i s a b l e framework than about the transformatory confounding of normative s e x u a l i t i e s . ' Therefore, any reform to C a n a d i a n immigration law b a s e d 24  strictly a n d e x c l u s i v e l y upon the dictates of formal equality m a y prove, for t h o s e q u e e r people w h o are too poor, too ethnic or too gender(ed) f e m a l e , to be little more than a n illusory benefit, or w o r s e yet, a n additional burden.  T H E THEORETICAL F R A M E W O R K : TRADITIONAL FAMILIAL IDEOLOGY & DECONSTRUCTING G R O U P IDENTITIES  M a n y of the legal c o n c e p t s a n d institutions related to family, s p o u s a l status and marriage h a v e b e c o m e ideological insofar a s their m e a n i n g , v a l u e a n d role within the distribution of benefits h a s b e c o m e a matter of c o m m o n s e n s e .  2 5  J a m e s H a t h a w a y has  clarified h o w 'family' is naturalised in the context of the immigration s y s t e m : 59  If it is true that family reunification is "the c o r n e r s t o n e " of C a n a d i a n immigration policy, the questions remains w h y o n e w o u l d opt for s u c h a policy. T h e usual a n s w e r is simply that family reunification is "a s a c r e d subject," that is only "natural" that "families" be a l l o w e d to live together...Yet the empirical b a s i s for this facile position h a s recently c o m e under o v e r d u e scrutiny... ( e m p h a s i s in original). 2 6  Y e t , it is b a s e d upon precisely this sort of naturalised c o n c e p t of 'family' that the a m e n d m e n t of the definition of ' s p o u s e ' to include s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s is p r e m i s e d . T h e p r o p o s e d c h a n g e is d e s c r i b e d a s part of a natural evolution of the m e a n i n g of 'family' a n d therefore required b e c a u s e of the importance of promoting that institution within the immigration s y s t e m through family reunification: C a n a d a h a s a long tradition of supporting the reunification of C a n a d i a n s with their c l o s e family m e m b e r s from a b r o a d . F a m i l y reunification e n r i c h e s the lives of t h o s e involved a n d strengthens C a n a d i a n c o m m u n i t i e s . In recent y e a r s , the characteristics of C a n a d i a n families h a v e c h a n g e d . N e w immigration a n d refugee protection legislation s h o u l d support family reunification by responding to new s o c i a l r e a l i t i e s . 27  It s h o u l d b e noted that by framing the c h a n g e s in this w a y , New Directions  erases  y e a r s of active discrimination against a n d o p p r e s s i o n of s a m e - s e x s p o u s a l families. S a m e - s e x c o u p l e s are portrayed a s having no history prior to more recent, progressive s o c i a l c h a n g e s — s o o n followed by the e n d o r s e m e n t s of C o u r t s a n d g o v e r n m e n t s . T h e alleged centrality of family reunification begins to look a bit t e n u o u s , h o w e v e r , w h e n it is c o n s i d e r e d that the n u m b e r of family c l a s s immigrants that the g o v e r n m e n t of C a n a d a h a s p l a n n e d to allow into the country h a s d r o p p e d in relation to total immigration from 4 7 % of total in 1996 to 3 1 % for 1999 (a drop of 16 per cent in three y e a r s ) ; a policy trend w h i c h is m a t c h e d by a n actual decline in landings of m e m b e r s of the family class.  2 8  C o n v e r s e l y , e c o n o m i c - b a s e d immigration has e x p e r i e n c e d a n i m p r e s s i v e  u p s u r g e from four per cent of arrivals during parts of the 1 9 8 0 s to approximately 50 per  60  cent more r e c e n t l y .  29  Family reunification s e e m s therefore to be a n increasingly  w e a k 'cornerstone' i n d e e d . G i v e n this conflict—between the rhetoric of centrality e m p l o y e d to justify the ' e x p a n s i o n ' of the family c l a s s , a n d the reality of e v e r diminishing n u m b e r s — i t s e e m s only s e n s i b l e to e x a m i n e more closely the m e a n i n g a n d p l a c e of 'family' within the immigration s y s t e m . In this regard the feminist c o n c e p t of 'traditional familial ideology,' which h a s often b e e n applied in the relationship recognition d e b a t e , is a useful analytic tool. T h e family ideology/family reality (or realities) distinction a l l o w s u s to h y p o t h e s i s e that although 'the' family remains a pivotal concept, strategically e m p l o y e d at various m o m e n t s within the d i s c o u r s e of immigration, in certain w a y s the types of a c c e p t a b l e families are getting fewer a n d the b o u n d a r i e s of 'the' family getting tighter. In other w o r d s , the p r o p o s e d a m e n d m e n t to the definition of ' s p o u s e ' to include s o m e s a m e - s e x s p o u s a l units is only o n e a s p e c t of a broader redefinition,  rather than s i m p l e e x p a n s i o n ,  of the 'family c l a s s ' category. T h e authors of the New Directions  report s u m m a r i s e d  their p r o p o s a l s in this w a y : ' a reinforcement of the family c l a s s a s the traditional cornerstone of C a n a d a ' s immigration program, with significant a r e a s c o u p l e d with equally significant  restriction  in others...'  30  liberalisation  in s o m e  (emphasis added).  C o n s e q u e n t l y , the a m e n d m e n t of the family c l a s s within the immigration context 'might be understood a s more multivalent, carrying both the c h a r g e of containment and the positive c h a r g e of liberation.'  31  Particularly within the highly policed immigration  s y s t e m , the c h a r g e of containment m a y be a significant force i n d e e d . A s S a t z e w i c h h a s a r g u e d , 'the state not only plays a central role in selecting a n d defining w h o is a n appropriate individual...but also...in the e n g i n e e r i n g , the formation of immigrant families.' 61  32  A s I shall argue shortly, o n e of the w a y s the immigration s y s t e m ' c o l o n i z e s '  immigrant families is through the division of s p o u s a l units into the strictly hierarchical a n d stringently enforced roles of a 'dependant' w h o is reliant upon a private ' s p o n s o r ' for all his or her n e e d s . G i v e n this potential, at the very least, for colonisation, it s e e m s only logical to explore in detail w h i c h a s p e c t s of m e m b e r s h i p within the family c l a s s are a p p e a l i n g , w h i c h are not, and to w h o m . T h e retort that 'we just want g a y a n d l e s b i a n families to be affirmed' s e e m s vapid with the addition of 'as w h a t ? ' . W h e n the s a m e - s e x / o p p o s i t e - s e x distinction b e c o m e s the s o l e point of c o m p a r i s o n , a n a l y s i s of the benefits (and d i s a d v a n t a g e s ) of inclusion within a category is inappropriately truncated s u c h that an exploration of the c o m p l e x nature of a n institution, s u c h a s ' s p o u s a l status', b e c o m e s a theoretical impossibility. G a v i g a n h a s m a d e this point by reference to the problematic c o n c e p t of ' h e t e r o s e x u a l privilege': H e t e r o s e x u a l privilege posits a [false] bifurcated gender-neutral d y a d of homosexuality/heterosexuality...The a n a l y s i s must be e x t e n d e d to explain c o r e familial p h e n o m e n a in our country s u c h a s : wife a s s a u l t a n d child a b u s e ; the p r e s u m e d d e p e n d e n c y of a w o m a n in n e e d of either social a s s i s t a n c e or a job upon a m a n ; the enforced d e p e n d e n c y , or poverty, of m a n y s p o n s o r e d immigrant w o m e n ; a n d the terrible isolation of the battered w o m a n w h o s e first l a n g u a g e is not o n e of the official l a n g u a g e s . . . T h e c o n c e p t of heterosexual privilege d o e s not e v e n begin to do t h i s ? 3  O n c e the s p e c i o u s simplicity of the heterosexual privilege framework of a n a l y s i s is r e v e a l e d , it a l s o b e c o m e s p o s s i b l e — p e r h a p s e v e n conceptually n e c e s s a r y — t o explore the implications of inclusion within a category from various p e r s p e c t i v e s or s o c i a l locations. T h e a s s u m e d universal commonality of interest of q u e e r p e o p l e begins to fracture w h e n the actual life c i r c u m s t a n c e s of different people are c o n s i d e r e d . F o r e x a m p l e , the implications of inclusion a s a 'dependant' within the family c l a s s is different for a poor 62  immigrant w o m a n w h o is u n e m p l o y e d a n d unable to s p e a k E n g l i s h than for a professionally e m p l o y e d immigrant m a n . W h e r e a s for the m a n , in the s c e n a r i o d e s c r i b e d , the implications of being d e e m e d a 'dependant' u p o n his s p o u s e might well be merely terminological, it is i m p o s s i b l e to s a y the s a m e for the w o m a n . It is no doubt true that both individuals s h a r e a c o m m o n interest in the recognition of the dignity of their s a m e - s e x relationship; however, it surely cannot be said that they s h a r e the s a m e interests in being r e c o g n i z e d a s d e p e n d a n t s upon their s p o u s e s . A p e r s o n ' s c l a s s , g e n d e r , r a c e , ethnicity etc. will therefore all intersect, s i m u l t a n e o u s l y influencing whether, h o w a n d w h e r e o n e fits within a legal institution a n d the traditional family ideology upon which it m a y be p a t t e r n e d .  34  T h i s complexity d o e s  not w e a k e n , but rather reconfirms the family ideology critique; it d e m o n s t r a t e s that insofar a s our s o c i a l locations are v a r i e d , s o too are the plethora of w a y s in w h i c h w e m a y b e d i s a d v a n t a g e d by our dissimilarity, or a d v a n t a g e d by o u r similarity to that ideological n o r m .  3 5  In other w o r d s , a n exploration of our v a r i o u s social locations not only  helps to trace out the g a p s between the ideological norm a n d p e o p l e ' s actual lives, but also to s h a d e in the w a y s in w h i c h t h e s e norms actually infuse our lives. H e n n i n g o b s e r v e d this about activists w h o lobbied for the creation of 'registered partnerships' w h i c h w o u l d be a v a i l a b l e to s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s in D e n m a r k : T h e e m p h a s i s lay on the principles  of equality, f r e e d o m a n d justice. T h e realization of t h e s e principles  w a s often presented a s a v a l u e in itself....'  36  U s i n g the c o n c e p t s of family ideology a n d  anti-essentialism, I will c h a l l e n g e the v a l u e automatically a s c r i b e d to the principles of formal equality. T h e a m e n d m e n t of the definition of ' s p o u s e ' in the family c l a s s to include certain s a m e - s e x relationships is not inherently positive; o n the contrary, its implications will be c o m p l e x , b i a s e d a n d e v e n contradictory in its potential to affirm the 63  dignity a n d equality of q u e e r p e o p l e a n d r e c o g n i s e q u e e r families. T h e formal equality a p p r o a c h to reform falsely d e n i e s this complexity thereby s e v e r e l y limiting the p r o g r e s s i v e potential of the recognition of our relationships. I turn now to just s u c h a detailed identification of s o m e of the c o m p o n e n t s of the family c l a s s s o that the implications of inclusion within that category c a n b e a n a l y s e d from s e v e r a l p e r s p e c t i v e s .  M E R E L Y 'IDEOLOGICAL' C O N C E R N S (FOR W H O M ) ?  S u s a n B. B o y d h a s written that '[t]he ideological role of law is to transform "the h u m a n subject into a legal subject" a n d thus " i n f l u e n c e ] the w a y in w h i c h participants e x p e r i e n c e a n d perceive their relations with o t h e r s . ' "  37  A l o n g t h e s e lines, a key feminist  critique of marriage a n d other legally regulated ' s p o u s a l ' relationships is that they are patriarchal institutions that convert w o m e n into d e p e n d a n t s u p o n m e n a n d c o n s e q u e n t l y , reinforce their vulnerability to o p p r e s s i o n a n d a b u s e .  3 8  Therefore,  although not a n automatic c o n s e q u e n c e , o n e of the potential d a n g e r s a s s o c i a t e d with s a m e - s e x marriage h a s b e e n d e s c r i b e d in this w a y : B y favouring relationships similar to h e t e r o s e x u a l marriage, it would induce w o m e n — o r h o m o s e x u a l s in g e n e r a l — t o form s u c h relationships, and thus p l a c e them in e c o n o m i c d e p e n d e n c y , s o c i a l isolation, emotional stagnation, physical v i o l e n c e , a n d r e p r e s s e d c o n f l i c t s . 39  A s e p a r a t e yet interrelated i s s u e is that t h e s e risks must b e set against the larger context of the trend to privatise s o c i a l a n d e c o n o m i c responsibilities within family u n i t s .  40  For e x a m p l e , M a r g o t Y o u n g d e s c r i b e d s o m e of the factors influencing the content of the S o c i a l U n i o n F r a m e w o r k b e t w e e n the federal g o v e r n m e n t a n d the p r o v i n c e s , e x c e p t Q u e b e c , in this w a y : T h e first is the c o u r s e of evolution of the C a n a d i a n welfare state, in particular, the current a s c e n d a n c e of neo-liberalism a s the orthodoxy of state restructuring. A d v o c a c y of restricted state involvement in social a n d e c o n o m i c s p h e r e s is paired with a n e n h a n c e d e m p h a s i s o n individualism 64  a n d the role of private structures - the market, c o m m u n i t y a n d family - in providing support s e r v i c e s a n d distribution of r e s o u r c e s previously delivered by the state. T h e result has b e e n g o v e r n m e n t retrenchment and the reduction of s o c i a l program funding at both the federal a n d the provincial l e v e l . 41  T h e d i s c o u r s e of privatisation of s o c i a l responsibility is not, h o w e v e r , limited to the s p h e r e of g o v e r n m e n t policy-making. In the recent d e c i s i o n of M. v H.  42  the S u p r e m e  Court of C a n a d a c o n s i d e r e d the c l a i m — m a d e by a w o m a n w h o had b e e n in a s a m e s e x relationship for a n u m b e r of years—that the Ontario Family Law Act (hereinafter F L A ) w a s discriminatory contrary to section 15 of the Charter  insofar a s it limited the  ability to apply for s p o u s a l support to o p p o s i t e - s e x c o u p l e s (married or c o m m o n - l a w ) . T h e S u p r e m e Court of C a n a d a found that this limitation did i n d e e d constitute unfair discrimination contrary to section 15 that w a s not justifiable u n d e r section 1. Writing for the majority of the Court, C o r y a n d l a c o b u c c i , J J . identified the legislative objectives of the F L A a s : [...] a m e a n s to provide "for the equitable resolution of e c o n o m i c disputes that arise w h e n intimate relationships b e t w e e n individuals w h o h a v e b e e n financially interdependant break d o w n " a n d to "alleviate the burden on the public purse by shifting the obligation to provide support for n e e d y p e r s o n s to t h o s e parents a n d s p o u s e s w h o h a v e the c a p a c i t y to provide support to these individuals" 43  H a v i n g defined the objective in this w a y , C o r y a n d l a c o b u c c i , J J . c o n c l u d e d that excluding s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s from this part of the F L A w a s not rationally c o n n e c t e d , but w a s rather counter to the objective of this legislation a n d r e a s o n e d further that: [...] in contrast to Egan, supra, w h e r e S o p i n k a J . relied in part o n incrementalism in upholding the i m p u g n e d legislation under s. 1 of the Charter, there is no c o n c e r n regarding the financial implications of extending benefits to g a y m e n a n d l e s b i a n s in the c a s e at bar. A s already pointed out, rather than increasing the strain o n the public coffers, the e x t e n s i o n will likely g o s o m e w a y toward alleviating t h o s e c o n c e r n s b e c a u s e s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s a s a group will be l e s s reliant o n g o v e r n m e n t welfare if the support s c h e m e is available to t h e m . T h u s , I c o n c l u d e that 65  g o v e r n m e n t incrementalism c a n n o t constitute a r e a s o n to s h o w d e f e r e n c e to the legislature in the present c a s e . 4 4  In the context of the immigration s y s t e m , the legal c o n v e r s i o n of immigrant ' s p o u s e s ' into ' d e p e n d a n t s ' is a l s o quite explicit, i n d e e d , it is identified a s a policy goal supported by codified definitions a n d d r a c o n i a n enforcement m e a s u r e s . In the New  Directions  report the authors are clear that the extension of s p o u s a l status to s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s should very responsible  much for  a  be contingent 'dependant'  u p o n the immigrant  'proper'  roles—a C a n a d i a n 'sponsor'  spouse—being  maintained:  'Proposed  m e a s u r e s w o u l d r e c o g n i s e the evolution of the C a n a d i a n family; at the s a m e time, they w o u l d e n s u r e that s p o n s o r s live up to their obligations to provide support to newly arriving family m e m b e r s . '  4 5  M a n d a t i n g this support is a regulatory definition of the term  'dependant' a s including 'spouse[s]' a n d a requirement that the C a n a d i a n ' s p o n s o r ' sign a contract in w h i c h he or s h e 'undertakes to provide for the e s s e n t i a l n e e d s of the m e m b e r a n d the m e m b e r ' s a c c o m p a n y i n g d e p e n d a n t s for a period of 10 y e a r s . '  46  M o s t importantly, the p u r p o s e of the undertaking is not to e n s u r e that family c l a s s immigrants get support, but rather to e n s u r e that they not s e e k support outside their 'family'. T h e s p o n s o r s h i p undertaking (and the s e v e r a l statutory provisions that refer to it) s e r v e to restrict the a c c e s s of immigrants to a broad range of s o c i a l s e r v i c e s . e x a m p l e , pursuant to section 51 of the general regulations of the Ontario 1997,  Works  47  For Act,  S . O . 1 9 9 7 , C . 2 5 - A — t h e A c t which regulates the provision of g e n e r a l welfare  a s s i s t a n c e — a p e r s o n with respect to w h o m a n undertaking w a s given will h a v e , in certain c i r c u m s t a n c e s , a n amount d e d u c t e d from available p a y m e n t s e v e n though he or s h e no longer r e s i d e s with or in fact r e c e i v e s a n y financial support from the s p o n s o r  4 8  T h e result of this type of legal binding of immigrant s p o u s e to s p o n s o r , c o m b i n e d with  66  s y s t e m i c o p p r e s s i o n , is that 'for m a n y immigrant w o m e n in C a n a d a , e s p e c i a l l y the poor, the opportunity to be independent virtually i m p o s s i b l e . '  from their s p o u s e s , both in fact a n d in law, is  49  Within the context of d e b a t e s about the implications of being r e c o g n i s e d a s s a m e - s e x s p o u s e s , this kind of a n a l y s i s is often d i s m i s s e d a s having little predictive  value  b e c a u s e , it is a r g u e d , s a m e - s e x relationships avoid the hierarchical pull of gender. F o r e x a m p l e , a s o n e supporter of the right of s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s to get married puts it: ' s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s getting married c a n powerfully c h a l l e n g e g e n d e r roles a n d thus destabilise  sexism....'  50  But  c o n s i d e r then  the  experience  of  same-sex spousal  immigration in A u s t r a l i a : A question raised by the r e s e a r c h is about the forms of relationships w h i c h , b e y o n d the d e p e n d e n c y i m p o s e d by migration, d o not apparently exhibit the dominant W e s t e r n ideology of equality in relationships. In the male study group relationships that are u n e q u a l in terms of a g e , e d u c a t i o n , a n d financial status may h a v e b e e n entered into precisely b e c a u s e of t h e s e factors. T h i s a p p l i e s to both A u s t r a l i a n resident a n d o v e r s e a s partner. It is my impression that the d e s i r e for a partner, c o m b i n e d with attraction to y o u n g e r m e n , socialisation in the old patronprotege s y s t e m , a n d the e c o n o m i c a d v a n t a g e s of North A m e r i c a n s o v e r Third W o r l d p e o p l e s , all c o m b i n e to lead a disproportionate n u m b e r of older h o m o s e x u a l men to s e e k a partner from the populations of those Third world countries w h e r e youth is still s o c i a l i s e d to respect a n d defer to elders... . 5 1  H o w s h o u l d the Australian e x p e r i e n c e be u n d e r s t o o d ? O n e might argue that it d e m o n s t r a t e s that there are n u m e r o u s a x e s , 'other' than g e n d e r , u p o n w h i c h power inequalities within legally regulated relationships c a n d e v e l o p . I think, however, that in the context of this d e b a t e it is p e r h a p s a l s o insightful to understand that t h e s e 'other' a x e s m a y b e c o m e for s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s a gendering force. Often within the context of s p o u s a l relationships in particular, g e n d e r is a factor of how d e p e n d e n t o n e p e r s o n is upon another more e m p o w e r e d party in the relationship. A l t h o u g h this inequality often 67  c o r r e s p o n d s to the respective s e x e s of the parties, s e x is not n e c e s s a r i l y the s o u r c e of that inequality. O n e important s o u r c e is usually t r a c e a b l e to the c o m p l e x network of laws that regulate various a s p e c t s of the institution of ' s p o u s a l ' status. E x a m p l e s of this type of ' d e p e n d e n c y enforcing' law are legion. T h e y range from the o b s c e n e l y explicit e x a m p l e of the ' s p o u s e in the h o u s e ' r u l e s  52  (used to force recipients  of s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e to rely upon a person d e e m e d to be their ' s p o u s e ' for financial support  e v e n though  they  prefer,  often  with very g o o d c a u s e , to maintain  their  i n d e p e n d e n c e ) to the more general promotion of s p o u s a l relationships of e c o n o m i c 53  d e p e n d e n c y within the i n c o m e tax s y s t e m . couples  will  institutions,  automatically historically  avoid  the  5 4  T h e r e f o r e , the assertion that s a m e - s e x  dependency  promoting  influence  mainly e x p e r i e n c e d by t h o s e in o p p o s i t e - s e x  of  legal  relationships,  o b f u s c a t e s the fact that t h e s e institutions d o not simply act upon 'gender' but create it a n d reinforce it. T h e y are not only ' g e n d e r e d ' but 'gendering' insofar a s they promote and  reinforce  dependency  within  spousal  relationships.  Whether  or  not  this  understanding of 'gender' is a c c e p t e d , at the very least it is folly to a s s u m e that s a m e s e x relationships are inherently i m m u n e to the institutional promotion of d e p e n d e n c e within s p o u s a l relationships, w h a t e v e r it is called. M o r e fundamentally, starting from the position that s a m e - s e x relationships are devoid of p o w e r inequalities is clearly m i s t a k e n . F o r e x a m p l e , s p o u s a l a b u s e is usually c o n s i d e r e d a s a problem that affects w o m e n in o p p o s i t e - s e x relationships. A s s u c h , a b u s e within s a m e - s e x intimate relationships r e m a i n s pitifully u n d e r - r e s e a r c h e d . H o w e v e r , the literature s u g g e s t s that within m a l e - m a l e relationships violent a b u s e may be e v e n more c o m m o n than in male-female r e l a t i o n s h i p s .  55  T h e situation of those in  f e m a l e - f e m a l e relationships is no better. O n e study indicates that of t h o s e s u r v e y e d , 68  3 9 % w e r e in a b u s i v e relationships a n d 7 2 % of all r e s p o n d e n t s c o n s i d e r e d v i o l e n c e / a b u s e to be a problem a m o n g l e s b i a n s . G i v e n this a n d other forms of 56  potential power inequality within s a m e - s e x relationships, it s e e m s u n w i s e to d i s m i s s the institutional promotion of d e p e n d e n c y within ' s p o u s a l ' legal s y s t e m s a n d institutions a s merely 'ideological' c o n c e r n s w h i c h d o not p o s e any risk of 'real' harm for t h o s e in s a m e - s e x relationships. T h e s e i s s u e s m a y t h e m s e l v e s be complicated by a p e r s o n ' s c l a s s or race, to n a m e only two factors. F o r e x a m p l e , the c h o i c e a n d ability of a w o m a n to l e a v e a relationship in which s h e is being a b u s e d is very m u c h constrained by her level of e c o n o m i c d e p e n d e n c y upon the a b u s i v e p a r t n e r .  57  Island h a s noted that, '[s]imilar to m a n y straight  battered w o m e n , m a n y battered g a y men are...financially d e p e n d a n t o n their violent partners....  58  T h e situation m a y be w o r s e for l e s b i a n s w h o , given the feminisation of  poverty, a r e m o r e likely than g a y m e n to b e poor a n d c o n s e q u e n t l y u n a b l e to survive without s o m e o n e with w h o m to pool r e s o u r c e s a n d s h a r e e x p e n s e s . S u s a n B. B o y d h a s pointed out that like w o m e n of colour, w h o often e x p e r i e n c e the state a s o p p r e s s i v e , l e s b i a n s (regardless of their race) m a y a l s o r e a s o n a b l y perceive state involvement in their lives a s threatening a n d m a y therefore be particularly reticent about inviting state intervention into their family life, e v e n if it is a b u s i v e .  5 9  F o r immigrant  s p o u s e s , this reluctance to contact the police or other state authority might a l s o be motivated by fears of losing immigration s t a t u s .  60  If they are awaiting landing within  C a n a d a , until they are l a n d e d , their immigration status is i n d e e d p r e c a r i o u s  61  a n d their  vulnerability to a b u s e great: T h e greatest fear of t h o s e w h o s e status to remain in C a n a d a is uncertain or u n k n o w n to them is intervention by immigration authorities....' F o r a s a m e - s e x s p o u s a l immigrant this fear m a y be c o m p o u n d e d if their country of 69  62  origin is particularly h o m o p h o b i c a n d they h a v e effectively s e v e r e d ties with their support networks b a c k h o m e , or ' e n c o u r a g e d ' persecution at the h a n d s of state authorities, by c o m i n g out a s a ' s a m e - s e x s p o u s e . ' It s h o u l d be noted that there is provision within the H & C p r o c e s s for immigrant spouses who leave abusive relationships.  63  H o w e v e r , this is a highly discretionary  r e m e d y lacking in t r a n s p a r e n c y a n d c o n s i s t e n c y .  64  M o r e o v e r , e v e n this r e m e d y of last  resort is imbued with class-related o b s t a c l e s : o n e of the factors explicitly identified a s relevant is w h e t h e r 'there is a significant d e g r e e of e s t a b l i s h m e n t in C a n a d a '  6 5  w h i c h is  demonstrated by, a m o n g other things, a 'stable e m p l o y m e n t ' a n d ' s o u n d financial management.'  66  A truly vicious c y c l e of enforced d e p e n d e n c y is thereby c o m p l e t e d for  m a n y immigrant s p o u s e s : a s p o u s e w h o is e c o n o m i c a l l y d e p e n d a n t upon a n a b u s i v e s p o n s o r is by e q u a l m e a s u r e l e s s likely to receive a positive H & C discretionary e x e m p t i o n , a n d a s s u c h , is e v e n more d e p e n d a n t upon their a b u s i v e s p o u s e for immigration status. T h i s n e e d not b e s o . S e c t i o n 37 of the Immigration  Act authorises  the Minister (and by proper delegation, senior immigration officials) to i s s u e 'Minister's Permits' allowing a p e r s o n without permanent r e s i d e n c y or citizenship to remain in C a n a d a for up to three y e a r s , without being l a n d e d , e v e n if they are otherwise r e m o v e a b l e from the country. D e s p i t e y e a r s of lobbying by both immigrant a n d w o m e n ' s rights g r o u p s , the government of C a n a d a has yet to adopt guidelines making the i s s u a n c e of Minister's P e r m i t s standard for w o m e n w h o h a v e credible c l a i m s of being a b u s e d , thereby affording t h e m an opportunity to establish t h e m s e l v e s within C a n a d a before having to apply for p e r m a n e n t r e s i d e n c e . T h i s c y c l e is sadly all too consistent with the broader situation of s p o u s a l a b u s e insofar a s it is c h a r a c t e r i s e d by the individuation a n d privatisation of s y s t e m i c 70  inequalities. In other w o r d s , not only do m a n y of the laws regulating s p o u s a l status e n c o u r a g e the d e p e n d e n c e of o n e party upon another, w h e n that p o w e r i m b a l a n c e is a b u s i v e , the r e s p o n s e s tend to ignore (and thus e x a c e r b a t e ) the s y s t e m i c a s p e c t s of inequality a n d o p p r e s s i o n . T h e i n a d e q u a c y of the H & C r e s p o n s e to s p o u s a l a b u s e is therefore o p e n to the s a m e criticism levied against the b r o a d e r practice of 'dealing' with it a s if it w e r e exclusively  a private criminal matter:  B y its very nature, a criminalization strategy is completely inattentive to the role of power, its inequitable distribution b a s e d u p o n g e n d e r , r a c e , c l a s s , disability, a n d s e x u a l orientation, a n d the role w h i c h the public state plays in perpetuating t h e s e i m b a l a n c e s of p o w e r . 67  F o r e x a m p l e , it h a s b e e n argued that m a n y a b u s e d s p o u s e s will be u n a b l e to leave until there are g e n e r a l 'welfare reforms that e n s u r e w o m e n c a n survive e c o n o m i c a l l y without their h u s b a n d s i n c o m e . . . . '  68  Currently, a poor a b u s e d s p o u s e e c o n o m i c a l l y  d e p e n d e n t upon his or her partner may be effectively t r a p p e d , unwilling e v e n to call the police for f e a r of b e c o m i n g destitute if the a b u s i v e s p o u s e is jailed. F o r a n immigrant 'spouse'—including o n e that is ' l a n d e d ' a s a permanent resident—the situation may be e v e n more grim s i n c e he or s h e is, by regulation, defined a s a s p o u s a l 'dependant' a n d a s s u c h not e x p e c t e d to receive social a s s i s t a n c e . C o n s e q u e n t l y s o m e s o c i a l service 69  a g e n c i e s will presumptively reduce by law their already m e a g r e monthly a l l o w a n c e s .  70  T h e w a y s in w h i c h the immigration s y s t e m a n d the legal s y s t e m more generally r e s p o n d to s p o u s a l a b u s e c a n be understood, therefore, a s the privatisation of s y s t e m i c o p p r e s s i o n . Insofar a s t h e s e r e s p o n s e s fail to a d d r e s s , a n d c o n s e q u e n t l y e x a c e r b a t e s y s t e m i c inequalities they trap a b u s e d s p o u s e s , privatise a n d contain their s y s t e m i c inequality a n d o p p r e s s i o n , within those relationships.  71  O f c o u r s e , what I h a v e termed the privatisation of s y s t e m i c o p p r e s s i o n will not affect all s p o u s e s s i m i l a r l y .  71  O b v i o u s l y , it is t h o s e w h o e x p e r i e n c e s y s t e m i c o p p r e s s i o n  w h o risk its privatisation within a s p o u s a l arrangement: It is a l s o important to o b s e r v e that the potential for h a r m s d e s c r i b e d a b o v e , a n d thus the e x p e r i e n c e of fear, are not e v e n l y distributed a m o n g w o m e n . Rather, their distribution is d e m a r c a t e d a l o n g c l a s s , r a c e , ethnicity, and citizenship status lines. T h e v a r i o u s r e a s o n s identified a b o v e s u g g e s t that it is racial minority w o m e n , poor w o m e n , a n d immigrant w o m e n , (these are of c o u r s e not mutually e x c l u s i v e categories) w h o are likely to be e x p o s e d to the greatest risk of h a r m . 7 2  C o n s e q u e n t l y , s p o u s a l status h a s the capacity to e x a c e r b a t e s y s t e m i c o p p r e s s i o n not only within relationships, but a l s o between t h e m , b e c a u s e e v e n the risks attendant upon participation in the institution—such a s the inability to e s c a p e a b u s e — c o r r e s p o n d s to the level of s y s t e m i c o p p r e s s i o n o n e f a c e s more generally. T h u s a s J a c o b s h a s o b s e r v e d : 'the fight for alternative families d o e s not confront the structures of w o m e n ' s e c o n o m i c o p p r e s s i o n that h a v e b e c o m e increasingly significant with the d e v e l o p m e n t of public patriarchy, a n d thus it d o e s not threaten g a y m e n ' s e c o n o m i c privilege with respect to w o m e n . '  7 3  Therefore, although for s o m e , the risks a s s o c i a t e d with inclusion within d e p e n d e n c y promoting institutions may be 'merely' theoretical, for others they are quite s e v e r e and real. Not surprisingly, t h e s e risks c o r r e s p o n d quite c l o s e l y with o n e ' s r a c e , gender, c l a s s etc. H o w e v e r , it is not only the risks, but a l s o the benefits, of participation within these institutions that vary along the lines of r a c e , c l a s s and g e n d e r . T h e 'formal equality' a p p r o a c h to s a m e - s e x s p o u s a l relationship recognition is assimilationist  74  b e c a u s e it a s s u m e s , rather than interrogates, the ideological  representation of ' s p o u s a l status' a s inherently beneficial. T o this point, I have f o c u s s e d on simply establishing, or surveying s o m e of the w a y s in w h i c h this a s s u m p t i o n 72  e s c h e w s quite real risks of harm a s s o c i a t e d with inclusion within legal s y s t e m s a s s p o u s e s , particularly for t h o s e w h o f a c e s y s t e m i c o p p r e s s i o n . N o w , I c h a n g e f o c u s s o m e w h a t to d i s c u s s the w a y s in w h i c h inclusion itself c a n b e quite partial.  D E C O N S T R U C T I N G T H E ' O U R ' IN R E L A T I O N S H I P S  D u c l o s h a s s a i d : 'I d o not believe that it is coincidental that t h o s e w h o m marriage is most likely to benefit are t h o s e w h o are already fairly high up in the hierarchy of privilege that p e r v a d e s society at l a r g e . '  75  Nor d o I. T h e s o c i o - e c o n o m i c 'benefits' linked  to t h e s e t y p e s of institutions are b a s e d upon a universal m o d e l of the family, therefore, the more o n e d i v e r g e s from that norm, the less well the s y s t e m w o r k s a s a distributor of benefits.  76  T h u s , for e x a m p l e , Claire Y o u n g has d e m o n s t r a t e d that within the i n c o m e tax  s y s t e m it is t h o s e c o u p l e s with o n e wealthy s p o u s e upon w h o m the other, e c o n o m i c a l l y d e p e n d a n t s p o u s e is reliant, that benefit most from the s y s t e m of tax p r e f e r e n c e s linked to s p o u s a l s t a t u s .  77  O n e of the most central a s p e c t s of the model immigrant family c a n be inferred from the following policy statement: 'the privilege of s p o n s o r i n g the immigration of a family m e m b e r must be b a l a n c e d with the responsibility to provide for that p e r s o n o n c e in Canada.'  7 8  T h e favoured a n d normative m o d e l , then, is a family unit in w h i c h o n e party  (namely the C a n a d i a n ) can a n d does take financial 'responsibility' for the other (the immigrant 'dependant'). T h i s model is quite c o m m o n in benefits distribution s c h e m e s . Nitya Iyer has d e m o n s t r a t e d , for e x a m p l e , that the availability of maternity benefits is largely contingent u p o n w h e t h e r o n e h a s a p e r s o n , u s u a l l y a s p o u s e , with sufficient i n c o m e to adequately s u p p l e m e n t that 'benefit.'  79  H o w e v e r , despite its f r e q u e n c y this  model of s p o u s a l benefits distribution is problematic b e c a u s e it e x a c e r b a t e s s y s t e m i c  73  o p p r e s s i o n , both symbolically a n d materially; i n d e e d , a s will b e c o m e apparent, the two are often interconnected. Family c l a s s immigrants are defined a s ' d e p e n d a n t s ' a n d , a s s u c h , are c o n s i d e r e d both non-contributing a n d potentially threatening to the C a n a d i a n welfare state. T h e overall contribution of immigration, a n d more particularly, family c l a s s immigration, to the C a n a d i a n e c o n o m y a n d society is a very c o m p l e x q u e s t i o n , subject to m u c h d e b a t e a m o n g analysts, a n d unlikely to result in a definitive r e s p o n s e a n y time in the near future.  80  Indeed, the p l a c e a n d v a l u e of immigration c h a n g e s o v e r time a s d o the  societal a n d e c o n o m i c conditions in C a n a d a .  8 1  H o w e v e r , more specifically, there is  g o o d e v i d e n c e to s u g g e s t that despite the difficulties a s s o c i a t e d with m o v i n g to a n e w country, recent immigrants are l e s s likely, o n the o n e h a n d , to be in receipt of social a s s i s t a n c e than native born C a n a d i a n s a n d , o n the other h a n d , actually contribute to the Canadian economy.  8 2  H o w is this i n c o n s i s t e n c y b e t w e e n the representation of immigrants a s a threat to the C a n a d i a n network of social s e r v i c e s , a n d the reality of immigrants e x p l a i n e d ? T h e roots of the i n c o n s i s t e n c y , c a n in part, b e found in a n examination of the c h a n g i n g 'face' of C a n a d i a n immigration o v e r the y e a r s . A s William Foster, et al, h a s o b s e r v e d : B o t h A u s t r a l i a a n d C a n a d a h a v e e x p e r i e n c e d u n p r e c e d e n t e d c h a n g e in the national origins of their intakes in recent d e c a d e s . C a n a d a a b a n d o n e d its official preference for immigrants of E u r o p e a n (or United States) origin by the mid-1960s...Prior to 1963, E u r o p e a n immigrants constituted o v e r 8 0 per cent of C a n a d a ' s a n n u a l intake, but in the last d e c a d e o v e r 70 per cent h a v e c o m e from A s i a n , A f r i c a n , C a r i b b e a n or Latin A m e r i c a n countries. 83  Importantly, this m o v e a w a y from patently racist immigration policies m a y well h a v e b e e n l e s s the result of a growing understanding of racial ( i n j u s t i c e , a s m u c h a s a calculated reaction to the reality that E u r o p e simply c o u l d not s u p p l y C a n a d a with 74  e n o u g h immigrants to meet its labour n e e d s .  8 4  B e a r i n g this historical context in  mind, J a k u b o w s k i has o b s e r v e d that the government: [...] is quick to characterise "the marriage" b e t w e e n C a n a d a a n d its immigrants a s s u c c e s s f u l , but the s u c c e s s s e e m s to be linked, albeit implicitly, to the more traditional, white immigrant of the past. It is interesting that "today's immigrants" (the majority of w h o m are visible minorities) h a v e c o m e to be depicted a s d e p e n d a n t , socially maladjusted people w h o are prone to crime. T h i s racially-charged a s s u m p t i o n of d e p e n d e n c y is problematic b e c a u s e , in turn, it often b e c o m e s the b a s i s upon w h i c h immigrants are turned into d e p e n d a n t s . In the current context, the following findings regarding the operation of R e g u l a t i o n 8 of the family benefits s c h e m e — t h e p r e d e c e s s o r to still extant provisions u s e d to r e d u c e the amount of s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e p a y a b l e to immigrant ' d e p e n d a n t s ' — a r e far from surprising: 86  ' c a s e w o r k e r K a t h l e e n L a w r e n c e h a s alleged that a disproportionately high n u m b e r of racial minority family benefits recipients h a v e "Regulation 8 c h a r g e s " d e d u c t e d from their a l l o w a n c e . '  87  A s the e x a m p l e a b o v e d e m o n s t r a t e s , the s y m b o l i c v a l u e or ' s o c i a l p u r c h a s e ' which c o m e s with being ' r e c o g n i s e d ' a s s a m e - s e x families—to refer b a c k to o n e of the central justifications for the formal equality a p p r o a c h to r e f o r m — m a y itself be priced quite differently white and/or m i d d l e - c l a s s than it is non-white a n d / o r poor. N o doubt m a n y will be eligible for s o c i a l recognition a s the 'model s a m e - s e x family' within the immigration context, but others m a y find they are more c o m m o n l y recognised  a s 'potential drains to  the C a n a d i a n welfare s y s t e m , ' 'welfare a b u s e r s ' or quite simply 'more of those n e w immigrants w h o don't fit in to C a n a d i a n society.' T h i s p r o c e s s of s y m b o l i c (de)valuation, w h i c h c o m e s with being r e c o g n i s e d a s a d e p e n d e n t s p o u s e — p o s i t i v e or negative d e p e n d i n g upon h o w well o n e fits the ideological n o r m — c a n b e c o m e the b a s i s for quite 75  material o p p r e s s i o n . T h e denial of benefits b e c o m e s part of a vicious c y c l e in which s y s t e m i c o p p r e s s i o n is o n c e again e x a c e r b a t e d . In the context of the maternity benefits, Iyer h a s d e s c r i b e d the situation in this w a y : F r o m a feminist perspective, the reality of e x c l u s i o n o b s c u r e d by a state benefit that is presented a s universal is troubling for two r e a s o n s . First, the provision of the benefit e x a c e r b a t e s the e c o n o m i c o p p r e s s i o n of poorer w o m e n . . . . T h e s e c o n d w a y in w h i c h the benefit fails a s a feminist reform is that it e x a c e r b a t e s the o p p r e s s i o n e x p e r i e n c e d by Aboriginal w o m e n , w o m e n of colour, w o m e n with disabilities, w o m e n w h o a r e single parents, a n d l e s b i a n s (with respect to the parental l e a v e c o m p o n e n t of the benefit)  as  mothers.  88  In the context o f the immigration s y s t e m , m e m b e r s of the family c l a s s a r e depicted a s a threat to C a n a d a . T h i s depiction g e n e r a t e s animosity informed by r a c i s m a n d x e n o p h o b i a a n d the denial of benefits that in turn contributes to the formation of a racialized a n d g e n d e r b a s e d u n d e r c l a s s that confirms the a n i m o s i t y .  89  Therefore, it is mistaken to a s s u m e that all s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s will equally benefit from the re-definition of s p o u s e in the Immigration Act. T h e r e is clearly no singular a n d universal c o m m o n interest in this respect. This is not to s a y , h o w e v e r , that there are no s h a r e d interests a m o n g q u e e r people vis-a-vis the recognition of s a m e - s e x relationships for immigration p u r p o s e s . C l e a r l y , w e all benefit from having o u r relationships r e c o g n i z e d a s real types of families in the immigration context. T h e difference b e t w e e n t h e s e two c o n c e p t s c a n be demonstrated by a simplified hypothetical. C o n s i d e r a conservative wealthy g a y m a n w h o w i s h e s to s p o n s o r his equally wealthy s a m e - s e x lover, with w h o m he h a s h a d a committed c o m m u t e r relationship for s e v e r a l y e a r s . N o w c o n s i d e r a single mother o n social a s s i s t a n c e w h o h a s h a d a four-year long committed relationship with a w o m a n w h o is a n illegal immigrant to C a n a d a a n d working for below minimum w a g e for s e v e r a l y e a r s . Clearly, both c o u p l e s s h a r e in interest in the recognition of the validity of their relationships; however, their interests m a y well diverge 76  in terms of which types of s a m e - s e x relationships they w i s h to be r e c o g n i z e d , a n d under what terms. T h e problem with tying the 'privilege' of s p o n s o r i n g an immigrant s p o u s e with the obligation to be financially responsible for that p e r s o n is that s o m e p e o p l e m a y simply not be able to support another, no matter how intimate a n d important the r e l a t i o n s h i p . A n d pursuant to section 19(1 )(b) of the Immigration  90  Act an aspirant immigrant will b e  'inadmissible' if the immigration officer has ' r e a s o n a b l e g r o u n d s to believe [they] are or will be unable to support t h e m s e l v e s . . . . '  91  Therefore, e v e n in regards to a s p o u s e 'the  v i s a officer must be satisfied that the applicant c a n support h i m - or herself in C a n a d a , or that other a d e q u a t e a r r a n g e m e n t s for support h a v e b e e n m a d e . '  9 2  E v e n the c o m p a s s i o n  of the H & C cannot be e x t e n d e d s o far a s to e m b r a c e t h o s e s p o u s e s w h o are s o poor a s to be i n a d m i s s i b l e .  93  C h a p t e r O P 2 ( O v e r s e e s P r o c e s s i n g ) of the Immigration M a n u a l ,  w h i c h is u s e d a s a guideline by immigration officers, e x p l a i n s the situation in this w a y : A19(1)(b) is not satisfied w h e r e proper a r r a n g e m e n t s h a v e not b e e n m a d e [for c a r e a n d support of the immigrant]. T h i s could apply w h e r e the situation in C a n a d a is s u c h that it would require the immigrant to s e e k public/governmental a s s i s t a n c e upon landing. H o w e v e r , b e c a u s e of the a c k n o w l e d g e d humanitarian a s p e c t s of family reunification, officers are e n c o u r a g e d not to refuse s p o n s o r e d s p o u s e s a n d / o r d e p e n d e n t children u n l e s s a r r a n g e m e n t s for c a r e a n d support are virtually non-existent a n d offer no prospect of improvement. R e f u s a l s s h o u l d be extremely rare if the s p o n s o r is e m p l o y e d , h o w e v e r m a r g i n a l l y . 94  A l t h o u g h in the past, a s the guidelines a b o v e imply, section 19(1 )(b) w a s rarely e n f o r c e d against ' s p o u s e s , ' immigration officers m a y not b e s o willing to overlook e c o n o m i c unsuitability w h e n considering the v i s a applications of s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s . I would a r g u e that this is indeed a r e a s o n a b l e possibility for a c o u p l e of r e a s o n s . F o r e x a m p l e , the h o m o p h o b i a and h e t e r o s e x i s m of individual officers m a y incline t h e m towards rejecting the applications of s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s w h e n e v e r p o s s i b l e , especially if 77  they d o not fit the ideal m o d e l . A l s o , a s I h a v e argued a b o v e , Immigration C a n a d a is increasingly e m p h a s i s i n g in its public statements the n e e d to c l o s e the s y s t e m to immigrants, e v e n those w h o are part of the family c l a s s , w h o will be likely to (ab)use C a n a d a ' s s y s t e m of s o c i a l s e r v i c e s . But o n c e a g a i n , the risks a s s o c i a t e d with rejection 95  will not b e e v e n l y distributed, but rather will likely fall along historically well established a x e s of o p p r e s s i o n . L e s b i a n s a r e l e s s likely to fit within the ideal, self-supporting m o d e l of an immigrant s p o u s a l unit given the feminisation of poverty. F o r e x a m p l e , in the U S , L e e Badgett's r e s e a r c h revealed that 'married c o u p l e h o u s e h o l d s a n d male s a m e - s e x h o u s e h o l d s h a v e roughly e q u a l h o u s e h o l d i n c o m e s , while f e m a l e s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s bring h o m e 182 0 % l e s s i n c o m e that a similar married c o u p l e ' s i n c o m e . '  9 6  But, of c o u r s e , t h e lines of  poverty are not only related to gender. A s Herbert o b s e r v e d : ' W e s t Indian w o m e n [of colour] e a r n e d $ 3 , 0 0 0 l e s s o n a v e r a g e than other non-visible immigrant w o m e n . '  9 7  More  generally, S a t z e w i c h h a s demonstrated that: [ . . . i m m i g r a n t families from traditional s o u r c e s of the United S t a t e s , Britain a n d W e s t e r n E u r o p e are l e s s likely to h a v e low i n c o m e status than immigrant families from " n o n - traditional" s o u r c e countries. T h e former [viz. 'white' people] therefore have more r e s o u r c e s at their d i s p o s a l to qualify for s p o n s o r s h i p than the latter. 98  But e v e n if the rules of inadmissibility are not applied more routinely against s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s , m a n y g a y , l e s b i a n , bisexual and t r a n s g e n d e r p e o p l e will b e unable to a c c e s s the benefits of the p r o p o s e d redefinition of the term ' s p o u s e . ' T h i s is s o b e c a u s e the presumptive prioritisation of the ' s p o u s a l ' category within the immigration s y s t e m o p e r a t e s to e x c l u d e t h o s e that d o not appear e n o u g h like the ideological family. T h u s , a s I shall a r g u e , the ' s p o u s a l ' category m a y a l s o operate to e x c l u d e t h o s e w h o d o not conform to a heterosexist a n d ethnocentric model of family. 78  T h e p r o p o s e d c h a n g e s to the definition of ' s p o u s e ' should not, in my opinion, be understood simply a s a n 'extension.' After all, the p r o p o s e d redefinition is part of a n inverse p r o c e s s of 'liberalisation' and 'restriction'  99  of the family c l a s s within the context  of an immigration s y s t e m in which both the p l a n n e d  1 0 0  a n d a l s o the actual n u m b e r of  family m e m b e r s gaining entry into C a n a d a h a s d e c r e a s e d e v e r y y e a r of the past three.  101  A s s u c h , it is likely that inclusion within a restricted family c l a s s will be part of a  broader trend in w h i c h only those s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s that 'mirror a s c l o s e l y a s p o s s i b l e traditional h e t e r o s e x u a l relationships' are r e c o g n i s e d .  1 0 2  In an a n a l y s i s of the Australian e x a m p l e of s a m e - s e x s p o u s a l immigration it w a s noted that '[m]ere c o m p a n i o n s , g o o d friends, or lovers w h o w e r e neither cohabiting nor e x c l u s i v e w e r e not allowed under the a r r a n g e m e n t . '  103  In C a n a d a , although the  definition of ' s a m e - s e x s p o u s e ' r e m a i n s u n s p e c i f i e d , the regular r e f e r e n c e s to ' c l o s e family m e m b e r s ' a n d 'core family' m a k e it unlikely that ' s p o u s e ' will include a n y o n e other than a s a m e - s e x 'conjugal' partner—a term w h i c h is g e n e r a l l y u n d e r s t o o d to m e a n 'marriage like'—with w h o m o n e intends to permanently r e s i d e .  1 0 4  T h e observation  of B e c h regarding the registered partnership laws of D e n m a r k will likely b e a p p l i c a b l e therefore: ' T h e law discriminated against traditions of life-style a m o n g h o m o s e x u a l s , s u c h a s n o n - p e r m a n e n t relationships a n d the primacy of friendship n e t w o r k s . '  105  I would a l s o a r g u e that the likelihood that only 'marriage like' s a m e - s e x relationships will b e r e c o g n i s e d (to the e x c l u s i o n of all others) is significantly i n c r e a s e d by the insistence of g a y a n d lesbian equality g r o u p s for inclusion within the s a m e category a s married a n d o p p o s i t e - s e x s p o u s a l relationships; I h a v e referred to this a s the d e m a n d for categorical e q u a l i t y .  106  A s B r o d s k y h a s wryly o b s e r v e d , in equality litigation  ' e v i d e n c e i s . . . a d v a n c e d to s h o w that lesbian a n d g a y relationships are just like  79  c o m m o n - l a w heterosexual relationships, only s t r a i g h t e r . '  107  But this is a n i s s u e that I  will d i s c u s s in more detail in the c o n c l u s i o n to this chapter. T h i s presumptive prioritisation of ' s p o u s a l ' family units, h o w e v e r , is not only heterosexist, but a l s o ethnocentric. It should be c o n s i d e r e d , for e x a m p l e , that in m a n y cultures m e m b e r s of the ' e x t e n d e d ' family, s u c h a s parents a n d g r a n d p a r e n t s , are often equally important a s s p o u s e s .  1 0 8  Not surprisingly, the n u m b e r of parents a n d  grandparents that the g o v e r n m e n t has planned to admit to C a n a d a h a s b e e n declining at a n e v e n s h a r p e r rate than that of the family c l a s s g e n e r a l l y .  109  In the f a c e of this  o b s c e n e l y ethnocentric trend c a n there be little w o n d e r that the 'expansion class'  1 1 0  to include s a m e - s e x s p o u s e s is being packaged  of the family  a s part of a p r o c e s s in which  '[t]he s c o p e of the family c l a s s would be e n h a n c e d , not d i m i n i s h e d . '  111  T h e redefinition of ' s p o u s e ' to include s a m e - s e x partners s h o u l d not, however, only be understood a s diverting attention a w a y from the growing e t h n o c e n t r i s m of the immigration s y s t e m , but a l s o a s itself part of, a n d therefore limited by that trend. G i v e n the m y o p i c f o c u s of m a n y g a y a n d lesbian equality activists on the recognition of s a m e s e x ' s p o u s a l ' relationships, it bears c o m m e n t that t h o s e q u e e r p e o p l e w h o are single or would prefer to s p o n s o r a parent or c l o s e friend more than a 'conjugal' partner stand to lose just a s m u c h a s , if not more than straight p e o p l e from the growing trend within C a n a d i a n immigration policy to prioritise ' s p o u s a l ' status, to the e x c l u s i o n of other forms of intimate relationships. A s C l a i r e Y o u n g h a s o b s e r v e d : Currently state s u b s i d i s e d benefits are provided to s o m e p e r s o n s ( s p o u s e s ) solely b e c a u s e they are in a relationship with another p e r s o n . S i n g l e p e r s o n s are discriminated against. E x t e n d i n g the definition of s p o u s e to include the partners of l e s b i a n s a n d g a y m e n w o u l d , to s o m e extent, reinforce this inequity. S i n g l e l e s b i a n s a n d g a y m e n will continue to receive no part of this s u b s i d y , regardless of the responsibilities they m a y h a v e to other individuals, while lesbian a n d g a y c o u p l e s stand to benefit. 112  80  In s u m m a r y I will rely in part upon the w o r d s of G w e n B r o d s k y , w h o captured quite succinctly what I h a v e attempted to demonstrate in this p a p e r using the e x a m p l e of the redefinition of the category ' s p o u s e ' in the family c l a s s : [...] in family benefits litigation, the formal equality p a r a d i g m m a r g i n a l i z e s l e s b i a n s a n d g a y m e n w h o are not "like" the stereotype of h e t e r o s e x u a l c o u p l e s or w h o d o not meet standard criteria for h e t e r o s e x u a l c o m m o n law relationships; ignores the equally legitimate c l a i m s to benefits of t h o s e not in c o u p l e s , whether h e t e r o s e x u a l or lesbian or g a y ; p r e c l u d e s a more radical c h a l l e n g e by l e s b i a n s a n d other feminists to the patriarchal family; e n d o r s e s socially a p p r o v e d s e x u a l relationships a s a legitimate b a s i s of entitlement to benefits; a n d falsely a s s u m e s that only benefits a n d no detriments flow from state recognition of s p o u s a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . 113  A s currently articulated in New Directions,  the redefinition of ' s p o u s e ' within the family  c l a s s to include s a m e - s e x partners will facilitate the recognition of the relationships of s o m e q u e e r p e o p l e , while other relationships—both q u e e r a n d not—are further marginalized. D e p e n d i n g upon how ' s p o u s e ' is ultimately d e f i n e d , a n d h o w strictly the model of the ideal, self-supporting immigrant family is applied to applicants in s a m e - s e x relationships, the p r o p o s e d reform will provide few, or no benefits at all, for t h o s e w h o d o not fit within a heterosexist, ethnocentric a n d c l a s s i s t ideological family norm. M o r e o v e r , given the trend to privatise s o c i a l responsibility (and c o n s e q u e n t l y o p p r e s s i v e relations) within families, it is a model that c a n s e v e r e l y p e n a l i s e t h o s e w h o try a n d fail to meet the s t a n d a r d s of that norm. Inclusion within the category of ' s p o u s e ' in the family c l a s s of the Immigration Act d o e s indeed hold the potential to r e c o g n i s e s o m e g a y a n d l e s b i a n families, but it will a l s o promote a n e w c l a s s of 'bad h o m o s e x u a l s ' w h o will not only be m a r k e d ' a s ' n o n - s p o u s a l for the p u r p o s e s of the family c l a s s , but a l s o 'by' their poverty, b l a c k n e s s a n d f e m a l e n e s s . In her recent book, Are We "Persons" Yet: Law and Sexuality in Canada,  Kathleen  L a h e y lays out o n e of the m o s t c o m p r e h e n s i v e a n d thought provoking a n a l y s e s of the 81  potential s o c i o - e c o n o m i c implications of inclusion of s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s a s ' s p o u s a l ' units. A n d although s h e ultimately supports the pursuit of formal equality, s h e is a l s o c l e a r it is not only the benefits of inclusion that will b e u n e v e n l y distributed, but a l s o the c o s t s of e x c l u s i o n : T h e distribution of the benefits of inclusion a l o n g c l a s s , r a c e , s e x u a l orientation, ability, a n d g e n d e r lines would certainly reinforce the appropriation a n d d e p e n d e n c y p a r a d i g m s a s s o c i a t e d with heterosexual relationships. But the allocation of the c o s t s of e x c l u s i o n a l s o disproportionately burden those w h o are already d i s a d v a n t a g e d by c l a s s , race, sexuality, gender, and ability a s w e l l . 1 1 4  T h e r e f o r e , I w o u l d s u g g e s t that the argument that the formal equality a p p r o a c h to reform 'simply s e e k s the right of s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s to c h o o s e to be r e c o g n i s e d a s s p o u s e s ' is at best s p e c i o u s in the partiality of its p e r s p e c t i v e , a n d at worst, ugly in the s e l f i s h n e s s of its objectives.  C O N C L U S I O N : R E P L A C I N G T H E D E M A N D S OF F O R M A L EQUALITY FOR THE POTENTIAL OF PROGRESSIVE STRATEGIES  T o this point I h a v e f o c u s s e d primarily on two t h e m e s : first, the policy implications of c h a n g e s to the Immigration  Act g r o u n d e d in a formal equality a p p r o a c h to reform; a n d  s e c o n d l y , h o w t h e s e implications vary d e p e n d i n g upon o n e ' s s o c i a l location(s) or community of interest. In the c o n c l u s i o n of this chapter I want to c h a n g e the focus s o m e w h a t by turning the g a z e back onto the formal equality a p p r o a c h itself. M i r i a m S m i t h a r g u e s that the current trend within l e s b i a n a n d g a y rights g r o u p s to f o c u s on formal legal equality (a focus that reflects the b r o a d e r a s s u m p t i o n that gaining legal rights is tantamount to s o c i a l c h a n g e the Charter  of Rights and Freedoms,  of the groups t h e m s e l v e s :  82  1 1 5  ) is in part the result of the entrenchment of  but is a l s o linked to the nature of the composition  E G A L E [for example] w a s rooted in the e m e r g i n g m i d d l e - c l a s s communities of out l e s b i a n s a n d g a y s w h o potentially s t o o d to benefit e c o n o m i c a l l y from the recognition of lesbian a n d g a y relationships in law. Its leadership, e s p e c i a l l y in its early period, w a s provided mainly, although not exclusively, by white male p r o f e s s i o n a l s . 116  It is important to r e c o g n i s e that the ideological v a l u e presumptively a s c r i b e d to the formal equality a p p r o a c h by m a n y g a y a n d lesbian rights g r o u p s is, in part, related to the more g e n e r a l a s s u m p t i o n that legal rights e q u a l s o c i a l c h a n g e (the h e g e m o n y of liberalism, a s it were). H o w e v e r , it is equally important to r e c o g n i s e that this a s s u m p t i o n is valid, at least for s o m e communities of interests. T h e formal equality a p p r o a c h to reform should not be understood a s correct or incorrect, or s o m e w h e r e in b e t w e e n : it is a political c h o i c e to prioritise a n d p u r s u e certain objectives, or interests, rather than others. T o s u g g e s t otherwise w o u l d be to fall into the s a m e , in my opinion, mistaken mindset reflected in this a n a l y s i s : Trying to redefine benefits s o that they are not b a s e d o n relationships at all w o u l d be very difficult b e c a u s e "it would divert the d e b a t e a w a y from lesbian and gay equality i s s u e s to policy i s s u e s w h i c h w e ' r e not really m a n d a t e d o r c o m p e t e n t to p r o p o s e . " ( e m p h a s i s a d d e d ) 1 1 7  T h i s a n a l y s i s e s c h e w s the fact that not pursuing the redefinition of the w a y in which s o c i o - e c o n o m i c benefits are distributed is itself a c h o i c e , a n d that what constitutes equality for g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s varies d e p e n d i n g upon o n e ' s r a c e , g e n d e r , c l a s s etc. Therefore, what I referred to in the introduction to this C h a p t e r a s ' e s s e n t i a l i s m ' is better understood a s the presumptive privileging of o n e perspective, or community of interest, namely that of t h o s e w h o only f a c e discrimination b a s e d o n their s e x u a l orientation. M o r e o v e r , the 'assimilationist' nature of this a p p r o a c h is a l s o not incorrect, but rather should be understood a s the natural inclination of t h o s e w h o will, for the most part, benefit from m e r e inclusion into classist, racist a n d g e n d e r i n g institutions. T o u s e a m e t a p h o r I learnt at a w o r k s h o p o n r a c i s m , for t h o s e w h o d o not e x p e r i e n c e c o m p l e x 83  o p p r e s s i o n it is natural to c o m p r e h e n d o p p r e s s i o n a s a line w h i c h o n e must simply get over; w h e r e a s , for those w h o e x p e r i e n c e c o m p l e x o p p r e s s i o n , it s e e m s more natural to try to e r a s e the line completely. But e v e n w h e n the formal equality a p p r o a c h is a c k n o w l e d g e d a s a political c h o i c e a n d m e a n s to a n e n d , a s o p p o s e d to s o m e naturally occurring a n d self-justifying g o a l , it is put forward a s the only politically feasible a p p r o a c h to reform. M o r e progressive b r o a d - b a s e d s o c i a l c h a n g e a g e n d a s are d i s m i s s e d a s 'all or nothing' a p p r o a c h e s . Essentially, the argument g o e s that o n c e 'we' are on the inside, w e c a n then pursue p r o g r e s s i v e reforms through incremental c h a n g e , rather than striving for perfect solutions all at o n c e . I will, therefore, return to the c a s e study of the reform of the Immigration  Act, to briefly explore t h e s e a r g u m e n t s .  It is p o s s i b l e , in my opinion, to formulate policies that a d v a n c e our s h a r e d interest in s e e i n g the intimate or e v e n 'conjugal' relationships of g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s r e c o g n i s e d , while minimising the e x c l u s i o n s a n d e x a c e r b a t i o n of the o p p r e s s i o n s of ' o t h e r s . '  118  In  the context of immigration, o n e solution might be to a d v o c a t e that m e m b e r s h i p within the family c l a s s be b a s e d upon a more 'functional' definition of family rather than a mere redefinition of a static categorical definition of legal a n d biological r e l a t i o n s h i p s .  119  e x a m p l e , in a report p r o d u c e d a s part of a national consultation about family c l a s s immigration, J a m e s C . H a t h a w a y r e c o m m e n d e d that: [...] recognition that there is no single, "natural", or preferred paradigm of "family" s h o u l d be the b a s i s for a more c o n s i d e r e d a n d rational a p p r o a c h to s o c i a l planning. R a t h e r than continuing to define "family" through description of o b s e r v e d patterns of relationship, w h i c h vary markedly from o n e culture to another a n d o v e r time, e m p h a s i s s h o u l d more r e a s o n a b l y shift to the definition of "family" o n functional t e r m s . 1 2 0  84  For  S u c h a solution w o u l d not eliminate all of the problems I h a v e d i s c u s s e d in this chapter. H o w e v e r , at least with a n explicitly functionally-defined test there is t r a n s p a r e n c y regarding the type of family m o d e l that is b e i n g r e c o g n i s e d a n d promoted. T h i s t r a n s p a r e n c y in turn o p e n s up a v e n u e s for political d e b a t e about what kind of immigrant family s h o u l d be e n c o u r a g e d rather than a s s u m i n g , incorrectly, that 'the' family h a s static qualities derived s o m e h o w from n a t u r e .  121  F o r e x a m p l e , it w a s stated in  the report quoted directly a b o v e that: It w a s a g r e e d that the definition of intimate partners for the p u r p o s e s of family c l a s s immigration s h o u l d a v o i d reliance o n s y m b o l i c o r traditional representations of intimate partnerships, a n d , i n s t e a d , reflect the real, functional relationships found in contemporary C a n a d i a n s o c i e t y . 122  Unlike a categorical a p p r o a c h b a s e d upon ' s p o u s a l ' status, a functional a p p r o a c h , b a s e d upon flexible criteria, at least h a s greater capacity to resist the  automatic  prioritisation of a traditional, heterosexist a n d ethnocentric m o d e l of family to the e x c l u s i o n of other equally important relationships, both s a m e - a n d o p p o s i t e - s e x . Let us a s s u m e , however, a s m a n y formal equality proponents w o u l d , that although it might be ideal, it w o u l d not be politically feasible to a d v o c a t e that all of the categories within the family c l a s s , including that of ' s p o u s e , ' be s w e p t a w a y a n d r e p l a c e d with o n e unified, functional definition of family. I w o u l d still a r g u e that it w o u l d b e politically feasible to lobby for the creation of a s e p a r a t e category for g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s , o n e which is b a s e d u p o n a more functional understanding of the families of g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s a n d their v a l u e , rather than e q u i v a l e n c e to ' s p o u s a l status.' A s a r g u e d a b o v e , the u s e of categories is not inherently objectionable; e v e n if they w e r e , categories are n e c e s s a r y for us to c o m p r e h e n d the complexities contained in both law a n d life. In this context, therefore, the c h a l l e n g e is to envision a category that will a d v a n c e the broadest c r o s s - s e c t i o n of c o m m u n i t i e s of interests within the q u e e r community. 85  U s i n g a s the starting point an e m p h a s i s o n 'substantive' rather than 'formal' equality (a f o c u s o n c o m m u n i t i e s of interest rather than pre-defined g r o u p s of people) it s e e m s to me that w e could formulate s o m e a r g u m e n t s to support a claim that 'our' relationships, a n d therefore our n e e d s , tend to be different than t h o s e of heterosexuals. F o r e x a m p l e , it could be argued that b e c a u s e of the stigmatisation of our sexualities a n d our s e x u a l relationships, non-conjugal friends are more likely, a s c o m p a r e d with h e t e r o s e x u a l s , to be the most important a n d intimate 'family' m e m b e r s in our lives. M o s t importantly, this argument n e e d not be framed in s u c h a w a y a s to s u g g e s t that g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s are i n c a p a b l e of forming intimate conjugal relationships of p e r m a n e n c e . Rather, what would be a r g u e d is that in addition to the recognition of our ' s p o u s a l ' relationships, the principle of substantive equality requires that w e h a v e a c c e s s to a broader definition of 'our' families. E v e n if there w a s little e v i d e n c e to support that kind of c l a i m o r s i m p l y insufficient political will to justify d e m a n d s for a broader a n d more functional definition of 'gay families,' it still s e e m s to me strategically preferable to d e m a n d a s e p a r a t e category for s a m e - s e x ' s p o u s e s . ' T h e benefit of s u c h a c a t e g o r y — a s o p p o s e d to a single category in w h i c h married, opposite- a n d s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s are all i n c l u d e d — i s , quite simply, that it would be 'ours.' Activists would h a v e a solid footing, at a politically opportune time in the future, to begin exploring whether w e have unique a n d s h a r e d n e e d s , interests, or political aspirations, a s g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s . Unfettered by the n e e d to c o m p a r e or distinguish the relationships of g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s from t h o s e of h e t e r o s e x u a l s , activists would h a v e plenty of r o o m to a d v o c a t e for reforms to the definition, or e v e n application of 'our' category to suit a broader c r o s s - s e c t i o n of our c o m m u n i t i e s of i n t e r e s t s .  86  123  F o r e x a m p l e , b a s e d upon the assertion that m a n y g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s prefer, and/or fit within a model of family b a s e d on inter-dependency, a s o p p o s e d to the d e p e n d e n c y of o n e partner upon the o t h e r  124  , activists c o u l d a d v o c a t e for reforms to  r e d u c e the hierarchical distribution of wealth a n d p o w e r within legally r e c o g n i s e d g a y a n d lesbian relationships. Furthermore, the increasingly c o m m o n privatisation of social a n d e c o n o m i c responsibility for the well being of individuals within family units could be c h a l l e n g e d o n the g r o u n d s that it replicates a heterosexist, c l a s s i s t a n d patriarchal e c o n o m y w h i c h is both inapplicable a n d u n a c c e p t a b l e to g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s . W e c o u l d , a s g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s , turn our attention more directly to exploiting our 'disruptive potential' vis-a-vis the 'dominant relations of production a n d r u l i n g . '  125  In this w a y , gay  a n d lesbian relationships, or more accurately, their legal definitions, could b e c o m e the fulcrum u p o n w h i c h d e m a n d s for e v e n broader, p r o g r e s s i v e s o c i a l c h a n g e are b a s e d . H e t e r o s e x u a l s might actually begin to emulate our relationships a n d e n v y their legal status, rather than the r e v e r s e . But of c o u r s e , for the proponents of the formal equality a p p r o a c h to reform, p r o p o s a l s s u c h a s t h e s e would be entirely u n a c c e p t a b l e b e c a u s e they violate all three tenets of that a p p r o a c h . R a t h e r than e m p h a s i s i n g our being the ' s a m e ' a s h e t e r o s e x u a l s , they s u g g e s t that some of us may be different in significant w a y s . R a t h e r than presumptively d e m a n d i n g similar treatment, the p r o p o s a l s a b o v e rely upon a n assertion that different m o d e l s m a y be required if 'our' relationships are to be afforded substantive equal v a l u e . Lastly, a n d p e r h a p s most importantly, the a p p r o a c h e s outlined a b o v e d o not  necessarily  prioritise s a m e - s e x ' s p o u s a l ' relationships, and their formal recognition. Nor, however, is pursuit of the recognition of s a m e - s e x ' s p o u s a l ' relationships automatically rejected. Rather, it is the actual relationships of g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s — n o t a n ideologically sanitised 87  (i.e. heteronormative) model—that a r e prioritised. O n e n e e d only review the v e h e m e n t l y negative reactions of s e v e r a l g a y a n d lesbian rights g r o u p s to the creation of a s e p a r a t e definition of ' s a m e - s e x partner' in Ontario to confirm the centrality of ' s p o u s a l ' recognition a n d categorical equality to the a g e n d a of t h e s e g r o u p s .  1 2 6  A s one  E G A L E p r e s s r e l e a s e put it: 'All w e a s k is to be treated e q u a l l y — i n s u b s t a n c e a n d in form.'  127  T h e problem with s u c h a position is of c o u r s e that the two g o a l s a r e not  s y n o n y m o u s , i n d e e d they m a y not e v e n parallel e a c h other. D e c o n s t r u c t e d in this w a y , it is the formal equality a p p r o a c h to reform that is more accurately d e s c r i b e d by the statement 'all or nothing.' T h e r e is nothing about a p r o g r e s s i v e o r multi-dimensional a p p r o a c h to equality that inherently insists that reform be either immediate or perfect. O n the contrary, I w o u l d a r g u e that it is the formal equality a p p r o a c h — w i t h its implacable desire for the inclusion of s a m e - s e x relationships within t h o s e categories currently inhabited by married a n d / o r o p p o s i t e - s e x ' s p o u s a l ' relationships—which potentially thwarts the potential for strategic a n d incremental p r o g r e s s i v e legal a n d s o c i a l reform. K a t h l e e n L a h e y h a s argued that '[t]he best p r o g r e s s i v e s c a n h o p e for, in my opinion, is that o n c e q u e e r communities a r e fully e m p o w e r e d to participate in e v e r y political d e b a t e o n e q u a l terms, more of the implications of hierarchy will b e c o m e visible a n d less tolerable to the body p o l i t i c . '  128  1 must d i s a g r e e . I s e e little in the formal equality  a p p r o a c h to reform—the z e a l o u s pursuit of ' s p o u s a l ' recognition, n o matter what—to support this optimism. T h e problem with L a h e y ' s supposition is that using the formal equality a p p r o a c h to reform, ' q u e e r communities' will n e v e r be a b l e to 'fully participate in every political d e b a t e o n e q u a l terms' ( e m p h a s i s a d d e d ) . Quite the contrary is likely, I would a r g u e . F o r the most part, it will only be t h o s e g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s w h o only 88  e x p e r i e n c e s e x u a l orientation o p p r e s s i o n w h o will e x p e r i e n c e , unequivocally, the privileges of full citizenship. A n d sadly, there is little to e n c o u r a g e a r e a s o n a b l e belief that t h e s e few will be h a p p y to then dismantle the h o u s e to w h i c h they h a v e just b e e n admitted. I return then to the question that I articulated at the beginning of this chapter, namely, should g a y a n d l e s b i a n equality-seeking groups pursue inclusion within the family c l a s s a s ' s p o u s e s . ' H a v i n g c o m e d o w n the road of r e s e a r c h i n g a n d writing this chapter, I must b e g to reformulate the question b e c a u s e , a s it is, it is not a n s w e r a b l e by reference to s o m e impartial, logical or natural formula of law or equality. Rather, it is a political question, the a n s w e r to w h i c h d e p e n d s on o n e ' s political objectives a n d s o c i a l perspective. I think that the far more interesting question is this: 'how s h o u l d w e determine w h o gets to participate in the p r o c e s s of d e c i d i n g what "our" q u e s t i o n s a r e , what it is w e s e e k to pursue, a n d w h y ? ' T h i s is a question that I touched upon in the Introduction to this thesis, a n d will a d d r e s s in greater detail in its C o n c l u s i o n . H o w e v e r , I would reject the formal equality a p p r o a c h to reform a s I h a v e d e s c r i b e d it in this chapter. It presumptively a n d unfairly privileges a n d naturalises certain p e r s p e c t i v e s or c o m m u n i t i e s of interest within the q u e e r community, m o r e than others. T h e formal equality a p p r o a c h to reform is s o problematic b e c a u s e it is a f a l s e a n d premature end to a n a l y s i s ; it flattens our differences: our different aspirations, our different s o c i a l locations, the different benefits, h a r m s a n d d a n g e r s w h i c h will c o m e with inclusion within the category of ' s p o u s e . ' T h e s e political q u e s t i o n s — s u c h a s how, or whether 'our' relationships s h o u l d be incorporated into different legal institutions—should be contested on a political terrain 89  w h i c h at the very least strives to r e c o g n i s e a s m a n y p e r s p e c t i v e s a s p o s s i b l e , not presumptively elevated to the rarefied a t m o s p h e r e of liberal legal theory. T h e s e q u e s t i o n s , it s e e m s to m e , s h o u l d not be left in the h a n d s of l a w y e r s , but d e b a t e d a m o n g a s wide a c r o s s - s e c t i o n of q u e e r communities a s p o s s i b l e . A b s e n t t h e s e kinds of d i s c u s s i o n s , it s e e m s to m e that the g a y and lesbian equality-seeking groups will remain inhospitable terrain for t h o s e w h o e x p e r i e n c e c o m p l e x o p p r e s s i o n . P e r s o n a l l y , a s g a y male person of colour, I have m a d e the (very political) c h o i c e to resist the incorporation of s a m e - s e x relationships a s ' s p o u s a l ' within the family c l a s s of the Immigration  Act. But a g a i n , this c h o i c e is g r o u n d e d in m y p e r s p e c t i v e s . I simply  cannot, a s the child of immigrant parents, think e x c l u s i v e l y about ' s e x u a l orientation' w h e n considering the reform of the Immigration  Act. A s s o m e o n e w h o has w o r k e d with  p o o r immigrant w o m e n , trapped in a b u s i v e relationships, I cannot, e v e n tacitly e n d o r s e immigration laws that bind w o m e n to 'dependent' relationships. C o n s i d e r t h e s e w o r d s of C o r y a n d l a c o b u c c i J J . in the M. v. H. d e c i s i o n : [...] differences of opinion within the s a m e constitutionally relevant group d o not constitute a r e a s o n to defer to the c h o i c e s of the legislature. Indeed, a s noted by E G A L E , given that the m e m b e r s of equality-seeking g r o u p s are b o u n d to differ to s o m e extent in their politics, beliefs a n d opinions, it is unlikely that any s. 15 c l a i m s would survive s . 1 scrutiny if unanimity with respect to the desired r e m e d y w e r e required before discrimination c o u l d be r e d r e s s e d . 1 2 9  A s s o m e o n e w h o largely works within the field of law, I a m driven to continually m a k e the c o n n e c t i o n s b e t w e e n c o m p l e x o p p r e s s i o n s a n d law to m a k e sure that both the courts a n d a l s o a d v o c a t e s for legal reform never forget, at the v e r y least, that there indeed is not 'unanimity.' I must, at least strive to e r a s e the line(s), not just hop over t h e m , leaving behind (ir)relevant a s p e c t s of myself.  90  ADDENDUM:  .  In April 2 0 0 0 , after substantial completion of this chapter, the G o v e r n m e n t of C a n a d a introduced Bill C - 3 1 , An Act respecting refugee  protection  to persons  immigration  who are displaced,  to Canada  persecuted  and the granting  of  or in danger, 2nd S e s s . ,  36th P a r i . , C a n a d a , 1 9 9 9 - 2 0 0 0 . If e n a c t e d into law this Bill would introduce a wide range of c h a n g e s to the immigration a n d refugee law of C a n a d a . B e c a u s e of the complexity of t h e s e c h a n g e s , e v e n a cursory a n a l y s i s of them is b e y o n d the s c o p e of this a d d e n d u m . H o w e v e r , I do w i s h to briefly flag a couple of a s p e c t s of policy statements about the Bill i s s u e d by the G o v e r n m e n t of C a n a d a . In an internet d o c u m e n t titled " Q u e s t i o n s a n d A n s w e r s for Bill C - 3 1 , T h e Immigration and R e f u g e e Protection A c t "  1 3 0  the core conflict of the C a n a d i a n immigration  s y s t e m — n a m e l y , family reunification 'versus' the apparent strain o n the C a n a d i a n social welfare s t a t e — w a s highlighted. It w a s noted that '[t]he p r o p o s e d c h a n g e s a r e intended to r e c o g n i z e the evolution of the C a n a d i a n family a n d strengthen o n e of the c o r n e r s t o n e s of C a n a d i a n immigration policy: family reunification' by 'broadening the definition of "dependent child",' ' e n h a n c i n g adoption provisions,' 'eliminating the bar for health r e a s o n s in the c a s e of s p o n s o r e d s p o u s e s a n d d e p e n d e n t children' a n d 'establishing an " i n - C a n a d a " landing c l a s s for s p o u s e s a n d children w h o are already in the country s o that they d o not h a v e to leave the country to apply.' H o w e v e r , the d o c u m e n t a l s o s t r e s s e d that C a n a d a would be adopting tougher m e a s u r e s to "to s p e e d up the resolution of the [refugee] c l a i m s , deport b o g u s refugees more quickly, a n d enforce stiff penalties on those w h o bring t h e s e people to our s h o r e s illegally." It also e m p h a s i z e d that importance of the " S o c i a l Union F r a m e w o r k A g r e e m e n t " a n d r e c o g n i z e d 'the impact immigration c a n h a v e on social s e r v i c e s . ' 91  Within that rhetorical context, the extension of ' s p o u s a l ' status to s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s w a s prominent. T h e s i m u l t a n e o u s expansion/contraction of the ideologically a c c e p t a b l e form of 'family' for immigration p u r p o s e s is apparent in the following section, quoted in full: Q u e s t i o n 4 : W h y d o e s the A c t e x p a n d the definition of s p o u s e to include both c o m m o n - l a w and s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s ? A n s w e r 4 : In keeping with the O m n i b u s Bill o n M o d e r n i z i n g Benefits and Obligations ( C - 2 3 ) , the immigration legislation is consistent with e q u a l treatment under the law. T h i s e q u a l treatment e n s u r e s that both c o m m o n law a n d s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s are treated fairly in all C a n a d i a n legislation. Q u e s t i o n 5: W h a t d o e s the n e w A c t do to tighten up s p o n s o r s h i p rules s o that newly s p o n s o r e d immigrants d o not b e c o m e a burden o n t a x p a y e r s ? A n s w e r 5: T h e n e w legislation will introduce collection criteria s o that the G o v e r n m e n t of C a n a d a c a n collect from deadbeat sponsors, if they do not live up to their obligations a n d d o not repay the p r o v i n c e s for any debt arising from a default of a s p o n s o r s h i p resulting in welfare c o s t s . A s w e l l , the g o v e r n m e n t will be a b l e to d e n y the right to s p o n s o r to a n y o n e w h o is in default of court-ordered s p o u s a l or child support, a s well a s to p e r s o n s convicted of a crime related to d o m e s t i c a b u s e . P e r s o n s o n s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e (excluding disability p e n s i o n s ) will not be a l l o w e d to s p o n s o r u n l e s s the Minister gives c o n s e n t (italics a d d e d ) . Interestingly, two d a y s after its initial posting to the C a n a d a Immigration w e b - s i t e , the d o c u m e n t had b e e n c h a n g e d , completely omitting the reference to ' d e a d b e a t s p o n s o r s . ' T h e nature of the 'collection criteria' a s well a s m a n y other important a s p e c t s of the new immigration a n d refugee s y s t e m remain unspecified a n d will no doubt be the subject of m u c h d e b a t e , both within Parliament a n d more generally. N e v e r t h e l e s s , what is clear is that the G o v e r n m e n t of C a n a d a will promote immigrant families that are — regardless of the s e x of the s p o u s e s — self-sufficient, no matter what.  1  2 n d S e s s i o n , 36th Parliament, C a n a d a , 2 0 0 0 .  R.S.C. 1985, c. I-2 (hereinafter cited as 'Immigration Acf). Please note that as discussed in an addendum to this chapter, the federal government has now introduced a Bill, not yet passed, to 2  92  specifically amend the Immigration Act to redefine the category of 'spouse' to include same and oppositesex common-law partners, in addition to married couples. Citizenship and Immigration C a n a d a (Minister of Public Works and Government Services C a n a d a , 1998). Available at: http://cicnet.ci.gc.ca (hereinafter cited as 'New Directions'). 3  Ibid, at i.  4  New Directions, supra note 3 at 25. For the general provision for spousal and a description of the 'family class' selection criteria see Immigration Act, supra note 2 at s. 6 and also Immigration Regulations, 1978, SOR/78-172 (hereinafter cited as 'Immigration Regulations') at s. 2(1) and 4. In these sections, 'spouse' is currently restricted to opposite-sex married couples. Lome Waldman, Immigration Law and Practice (Vancouver: Toronto: Butterworths, 1992) (hereinafter cited as 'Immigration Law and Practice') at 13.7. Immigration Act, supra note 2 at s. 114(2). The revised H & C guidelines recognise for the first time that '[t]he separation of common-law or same-sex partners who reside together in a genuine conjugal-like relation-ship is grounds for H&C consideration': Immigrant Applications in Canada Made on Humanitarian or Compassionate (H&C) Grounds, IP-5, February 23, 1999 (hereinafter cited as 'H&C Guidelines') at 8.2. See: Donald G . Casswell, Lesbians, Gay Men, and Canadian Law (Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications, 1996) at 572; and, Lesbian and G a y Immigration Task Force (LEGIT), brief to Honourable Lucienne Robillard, Minister'of Immigration, Government of C a n a d a , November 1, 1996 at 5 (on file with author). A s E G A L E has commented, 'Whatever criteria are used to identify a qualifying [same-sex] relationship, there will always be couples, family members or other individuals, who do not fall within the established criteria': Equality for G a y s and Lesbians Everywhere ( E G A L E ) , "Recommendation to the Department of Immigration on reforming and enhancing Canada's immigration laws and policies." Available at http://www.egale.ca (hereinafter cited as " E G A L E Recommendation") at 5. Citizenship and Immigration C a n a d a , "Strengthening Family Reunification" News Release 99-02, January 6, 1999. There are, of course, other ways in which the relationships of queer people could be 'recognised'. For example, rather than being recognised only insofar as they are 'spousal,' same-sex relationships could be afforded immigration status on the basis that they are of relative importance to the Canadian sponsor, whether 'spousal' or not. S e e my 'Conclusion.' Lesbian and G a y Immigration Task Force (LEGIT), "Same -Sex Couples Are A Reality," brief to the Minister of Immigration, Government of C a n a d a , February 11,1998 at 2 (on file with author). " E G A L E Recommendation," supra note 10 at 4. Tom Yeung, "Immigration breakthrough: Federal Liberals propose recognition of gay spouses for immigration" Xtra West, January 21, 1999. 1 will often in this paper refer only to 'gay[s] and lesbian[s]' not because of a desire or oversight to consider bisexual, transgendered and other 'sexual minorities,' but as a reflection of the sad reality that within political organising and movements the focus is often squarely on only gays, and to a lesser extent lesbians. Barry D. A d a m , The Rise of A Gay and Lesbian Movement, revised edition, (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1995) at Chapter 5, "Gay Liberation and Lesbian Feminism." Mary Eaton, "Lesbians, G a y s and the Struggle for Equality Rights: Reversing the Progressive Hypothesis" (1994) 17 Dalhousie Law Journal 130 (hereinafter cited as "Reversing the Progressive Hypothesis") at 174. For an extensive and informative discussion of this and other aspects of movements for gay and lesbian equality in C a n a d a see, for example: Miriam Smith, Lesbian and Gay Rights in Canada: Social Movements and Equality-Seeking, 1971-1995 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999) (hereinafter cited as 'Lesbian and Gay Rights in Canada'). Nitya Duclos, "Some Complicating Thoughts on S a m e - S e x Marriage" (1991) 1 Journal of Law and Sexuality 31 (hereinafter cited as "Some Complicating Thoughts") at 34. By which I mean those people who derogate in some way from heterosexual normativity. 5  6  7  8  9  1 0  1 1  1 2  1 3  1 4  15  1 6  1 7  1 8  1 9  2 0  21  22  Lesbian and Gay Rights in Canada, supra note 18 at 98. Lesbian and Gay Rights in Canada, supra note 18 at 85.  S e e for example Shelley A . M . Gavigan, "Legal Forms, Family Forms, Gendered Norms: What is a Spouse?" (1999) 14-1 Canadian Journal of Law and Society 1 2 7 - 1 5 7 (hereinafter cited as "What is a 2 3  93  Spouse?") who lays out in some detail the ways in which the 'spouse in the house' rule has been 'mean in its application' (at 143) to 'welfare mothers' (at 143 -151) and notes the ways in which the form of 'spouse' in property law is quite different from that in welfare/poverty laws. More importantly, the latter form, she argues, 'is a form that shapes and is shaped by class and gender relations' at 151. Susan B. Boyd, "Family , Law and Sexuality: Feminist Engagements" (1999) 8-3 Journal of Social and Legal Studies 369 - 390 (hereinafter cited as "Family, Law and Sexuality") at 378. S e e Shelley Gavigan, "Law, Gender, and Ideology" in A. Bayefsky (ed.) Legal Theory Meets Legal Practice (Edmonton: Academic Printing and Publishing, 1988), 283 - 295 (hereinafter cited as "Law, Gender, and Ideology") at 291: '...the importance of analyzing law as ideology is best illustrated by a consideration of "the family," writ large as it often is. "The family" is presented both in law and in popular culture as the basic unit of society, a sacred, timeless and so natural an institution that its definition is selfevident.' James C . Hathaway, "Towards a Contextualized System of Family Class Immigration" in Report of the National Consultation on Family Class Immigration, Refugee Law Research Unit, Centre for Refugee Studies, York University, June 1994 (hereinafter cited as "Towards a Contextualized System") at 2 - 3. New Directions, supra note 3 at 10. The actual number of family class landings has also been on the decline. S e e the "Annual Immigration Plan[s]" for recent years are available at http://cicnet.ci.qc.ca (hereinafter cited as "Annual Immigration Plan[sj"). Also see: Vic Satzewich (ed.), Deconstructing a Nation: Immigration, Multiculturalism and Racism in '90s Canada (Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, 1992) (hereinafter cited as 'Deconstructing a Nation') William Foster, Fred Gruen and Neil Swan, "Economic Effects of the Host Community" in Adelman, Howard et al., eds., Immigration and Refugee Policy: Australia and Canada Compared, Volume II (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994) at 452 (hereinafter cited as "Economic Effects of the Host Community"). New Directions, supra note 3 at 6. "Reversing the Progressive Hypothesis," supra note 17 at 131. Vic Satzewich, "Migrant and Immigrant Families in C a n a d a : State Coercion and Legal Control in the Formation of Ethnic Families" (1993) 24-3 Journal of Comparative Family Studies 315 - 338 (hereinafter cited as "Migrant and Immigrant Families") at 334 - 335. Shelley Gavigan, "Paradise Lost, Paradox Revisited: The Implications of Familial Ideology for Feminist, Lesbian and G a y Engagement to Law" (1993) 31 Osgoode Hall L.J. 589 - 624 (hereinafter cited as "Paradise Lost") at 614. S e e : Marlee Kline, "Race, Racism and Feminist Legal Theory" (1989) 12 Harvard Women's Law Journal 115 & "Complicating the Ideology of Motherhood: Child Welfare Law and First Nation Women" (1993) 31 Queens L.J. 306-342. 2 4  2 5  2 6  2 7  2 8  2 9  3 0  3 1  3 2  3 3  3 4  3 5  "Paradise Lost," supra note 33 at 623: 'I have attempted to illustrate that the analytical and political  challenge posed by diverse experiences in family life strengthens, rather than undermines, the critique of "the family.'" Bech Henning, "Report From a Rotten State: 'Marriage' and 'homosexuality' in 'Denmark'" in Modern Homosexualities: Fragments of lesbian and gay experience ed. Ken Plummer (London: Routledge, 1992) 134- 147 (hereinafter "Report from a Rotten State") at 136. Susan B. Boyd, "Child Custody, Ideologies and Employment" (1989) 3 Canadian Journal of Women and Law 111-133 (hereinafter cited as "Child Custody, Ideologies and Employment") at 114. S e e Didi Herman, "Are We Family?: Lesbian Rights and Women's Liberation" (1990) Vol. 28, No. 4 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 789 - 815 at 796: 'These theorists contend that hegemonic familial ideology is a primary contributor to the oppression and exploitation of women.' "Report from a Rotten State," supra note 36, at 136. For a more full discussion of these issues, see "Family, Law and Sexuality," supra note 24 and Susan B. Boyd, ed. Challenging the Public /Private Divide: Feminism, Law and Public Policy (Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1997). Margot Young, "The Social Union Framework Agreement: Hollowing out the State" (1999) 10:4 Constitutional Forum at 120. [1999] 2 S . C . R . 3. This case and several others will be discussed in much greater detail in the chapter following this one. 3 6  3 7  3 8  3 9  4 0  4 1  4 2  94  4J 44 45 46  Ibid, at paragraph 93. Ibid, at paragraph 130. New Directions, supra note 3 at 23. Immigration Regulations, supra note 6. S e e definitions of 'dependant,' 'undertaking' & 'sponsor' at s.  2(1); and, the requirement of an undertaking at s. 5(2)(h). 47 Immigration Regulations, supra note 6, at s. 2(1) and Schedule VI which lists unavailable sources of support. 8 Ontario Regulation, 134/98 s. 51 (as amended). Equivalent provisions also occur in section 40 of the regulations to the Ontario Disability Support Program Act (formerly the Family Benefits Act). The provisions are currently the subject of a Charter challenge brought in the Superior Court of Justice pursuant to Rule 14.05 of the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure (Jeeveratnam et al. v. Ontario). "Paradise Lost," supra note 33, at 609. Evan Wolfson, "Crossing the threshold: equal marriage rights for lesbians and gay men and the intra-community critique" 21 New York University Review of Law and Social Change at 598. John Hart, " A Cocktail of Alarm: Same-sex couples and migration to Australia 1985 - 90" in Modern Homosexualities: Fragments of lesbian and gay experience ed. Ken Plummer (London: Routledge, 199 121 - 1 2 2 (hereinafter cited as " A Cocktail of Alarm") at 130. For the comparative situation of the 'older American man' who sponsors a 'beautiful, faithful, Asian wife' s e e : Michelle J . Anderson, "A License to Abuse: The Impact of Conditional Status on Female Immigrants" (1993) Vol. 102 Yale Law Journal 1401 1430 (hereinafter cited as " A License to Abuse"). S e e for example, Ontario Regulation, 134/98, supra note 48 at s. 1. This type of regulation, a s contained in the Family Benefits Act (now replaced by the Ontario Disability Support Act) was declared unconstitutional by a majority of the Superior Court of Justice (Ontario), General Division, in Falkinerv. Ontario (Ministry of Community and Social Services, Inco Maintenance Branch), reported at [2000] O.J. No. 2433. That decision is now in the process of an expedited appeal to Ontario Court of Appeal. Pending the resolution of that appeal, the Court has granted a stay of the order of the General Division: Falkiner v. Ontario (Ministry of Community and Social 4 9  5 0  5 1  5 2 5 3  Services, Income Maintenance Branch), Ontario Court of Appeal, [2000] O . J . No. 2750.  Claire F.L. Young, "Taxing Times for Lesbian and Gay Men: Equality at What Cost?" 17 Dalhousie Law Journal 534 - 559 (hereinafter cited as "Taxing Times"). At 535 Young questions the desirability of 5 4  redefining 'spouse' in the Income Tax Act to include same-sex couples in part because she 'conclude[s] that it is those couples in which one partner is economically dependant on the other that would benefit most from being included as spouses under the Act.' For a discussion of the ways in which the system of maternity benefits privileges women in dependent relationships see: Nitya Iyer, " S o m e Mothers Are Better Than Others: A Re-examination of Maternity Benefits" in Susan B. Boyd, ed. Challenging the Public /Private Divide: Feminism, Law and Public Policy (Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1997), 168 - 194 (hereinafter cited as "Some Mothers Are Better"). David Island & Patrick Letellier, Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them: Battered Gay Men and Domestic Violence (New York: London: The Haworth Press, 1991) (hereinafter cited as 'Men Who Beaf) at 1 3 - 1 4 . Schilit, Rebecca and Gwat-Yong Lie, "Substance Use as a Correlate of Violence in Intimate Lesbian Relationships" (1990) Vol. 19, Part 3 Journal of Homosexuality 51 (hereinafter cited as "Violence in Intimate Lesbian Relationships") at 58. S e e also, Ellen Faulkner, "Lesbian Abuse: The Social and Legal Realities" 16 Queen's Law Journal 261-286 & "Woman-to-Woman Abuse: Analyzing Extant Accounts of lesbian battering" in George S . Rigakos and Kevin D. Bonnycastle eds. Unsettling Truths: Battered Women, Policy, Politics, and Contemporary research in Canada (Vancouver: The Collective Press, 19 at 52-62. S e e "A License to Abuse," supra note 51 and Pamela Choice and Leanne K. Lamke, "A Conceptual Approach to Understanding Abused Women's Stay/Leave Decisions" (1997) Vol. 18, No. 3 Journal of Family Issues 290 - 314 (hereinafter cited a s "Women's Stay/Leave Decisions") at 305. 58 Men Who Beat, supra note 55, at 23. Susan B. Boyd "(Re)Placing the State: Family, Law and Oppression" (1994) 9(1) Canadian Journal of Law and Society 39 - 73 at 53 - 54. The homophobia of police and other state enforcement agencies also results in a similar reluctance on the part of gay men: Men Who Beat, supra note 55. Immigrant women of colour may not wish to call the police or may be at a disadvantage even if they do because of 5 5  5 6  5 7  5 9  95  the racism of police, language inability, historically informed fear of the state/police, fear of loss of economic support should their abusive partner be imprisoned or deported and community censure: see "A License to Abuse," supra note 51 and Dianne L. Martin and Janet E. Mosher, "Unkept Promises: Experiences of Immigrant Women With the Neo-Criminalization of Wife Abuse" (1995) 8 Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 3 - 4 4 (hereinafter cited as "Unkept Promises") Many aspirant immigrant spouses apply for landing from within Canada under the H&C system and await 'landing' while residing with their spouse. Exemptions from the requirement to apply for permanent residency outside Canada (pursuant to Immigration Act, supra note 2 s. 9(1)) is authorised pursuant to s. 6 0  114(2) of the Immigration Act, supra note 2 and s. 2.1 of the Immigration Regulations,  supra note 6  For example, the H&C Guidelines, supra note 8, describe the situation in this way at 1.7.2: T o be granted landing, the applicant must meet the requirements of subsection 5(2) of the Act which states that an immigrant shall be granted landing if he is not a member of an inadmissible class and otherwise meets the requirements of the Act and Regulations [such as having a 'sponsor' if coming in as part of the 'family class],..A FINAL POSITIVE determination about admissibility and whether the applicant meets landing requirements can only be made at the time of the landing interview.' (emphasis is as shown in original). "Unkept Promises," supra note 59 at 26. H&C Guidelines, supra note 8 at 8.10: Immigration '[o]fficers are reminded to consider using their positive [H&C] discretionary authority where the spouse...of a Canadian citizen of permanent resident leaves an abusive situation and, as a result, does not have an approved sponsorship... .' See discussion of H&Cs in 'Introduction.' 6  6 2 63  6 4  6 5  66  6 7 6 8 69  H&C Guidelines, supra note 8 at 8.10. H&C Guidelines, supra note 8 at 6.2.  "Unkept Promises," supra note 59 at 9. See "Unkept Promises," supra note 59 at 41. Immigration Regulations, supra note 6 at s. 2(1).  For example, see the social assistance regulations referred to, supra note 48 See, for example, "Women's Stay/Leave Decisions," supra note 57 at 305: 'Abused women's unemployment has been associated with staying in, or returning to, an abusive relationships, whereas having a job has been associated with successful separation... .' "Unkept Promises," supra note 59 at 35. Michael P. Jacobs, "Do Gay Men Have a Stake in Male Privilege? The Political Economy of Gay Men's Contradictory Relationship to Feminism," in Amy Gluckman and Betsy Reed, eds., Homosexual 7 0 71  7 2 7 3  Economics:  Capitalism, Community, and Lesbian and Gay Life (New York: Routledge, 1997) 1 6 5 - 8 4 at  173. (Quoted in "Family, Law and Sexuality," supra note 24 at 378 - 379.) By which I mean an approach which insists that we are no different from heterosexuals, as opposed to demanding respect for our right to be different and our actual differences, where they may exist. "Some Complicating Thoughts," supra note 19 at 58. Ibid. For an example of a legal challenge to this practice of basing benefits upon a universal model of the family see: Jbdy Freeman "Defining Family in Mossop v. DSS: The Challenge of Anti-Essentialism and Interactive Discrimination for Human Rights Litigation" (1994) 44 University of Toronto Law Journal 41 - 96 (hereinafter cited as "Defining Family") "Taxing Times," supra note 54 at 535. 74  7 5 76  7 7 78  New Directions, supra note 3, at 10.  79  "Some Mothers are Better," supra note 54.  80  Compare for example the chapters contained in Howard Adelman et al., eds., Immigration and  Refugee Policy: Australia and Canada Compared, Volume II (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994) with Don DeVoretz, ed. Dimishing Returns: the Economics of Canada's Recent Immigration Policy  (Toronto: C D . Howe Institute, 1995). Compare the work of Don DeVoretz, ibid., with some of his earlier analyses contained in Don DeVoretz, Immigration and Employment Effects (Ottawa: Institute for Research of Public Policy, 1989) 81  (hereinafter cited as 'Immigration and Employment  Effects').  Lisa Marie Jakubowski, Immigration and the Legalization of Racism (Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, 1997) (hereinafter cited as 'Immigration and the Legalization of Racism") at 71. See also, "Economic Effects of the Host Community," supra note 29 at 455 and 457. "Economic Effects of the Host Community," supra note 29 at 452. 8 2  8 3  96  Immigration and Employment Effects, supra note 81 at 2. Immigration and the Legalization of Racism, supra note 82 at 65. See also "Migrant and Immigrant Families," supra note 32 at 332: '...immigration officials have been concerned that people of the "wrong" 84 85  origins make excessive use of family reunification provisions...The issue of family migration is at present racialized, in part, because immigration officials wish to "prevent Canada's immigration movement from becoming concentrated in a small number of developing countries" (Star-Phoenix, Sept. 1, 1990: A12). The terms "developing countries" or "non-traditional source countries" are simply euphemisms used by immigration officials used (sic.) to describe the migration to Canada of "non-white races" who are seen as "problem creating".' Supra note 48. "Paradise Lost," supra note 33 at 622. "Some Mothers are Better," supra note 54 at 176. "Migrant and Immigrant Families," supra note 32. A person who wishes to 'sponsor' a member of the 'family class' must generally establish that he or she earns sufficient income to take financial responsibility for the member. This requirement is 'waived' in the case of the sponsorship of, inter alia, a 'spouse.' However, the rules of 'inadmissibility still apply: Immigration Regulations, supra note 6 at s.5(2)(f) & Schedule IV: the 'Low Income Cut-off.' Immigration Regulations, supra note 6 at 19(1 )(b) which reads in full: 'persons who there are reasonable grounds to believe are or will be unable or unwilling to support themselves and those persons who are dependant on them for care and support, except persons who have satisfied an immigration officer that adequate arrangements, other than those that involve social assistance, have been made for their care and support;' (emphasis added). Immigration Law and Practice, supra note 7 at 13.31. The H&C is an application to be exempt from regulations; the rules of inadmissibility are set out in the Immigration Act, supra note 2. Processing Members of the Family Class, OP 2, June 1996 at 14.3, page 49. See for example, New Directions, supra note 3. Of course, as I have also argued above, this must be understood as part of a larger trend of erosion of the Canadian welfare state in favour of privatised responsibility for people's well-being. M.V. Lee Badgett, Income Inflation: The Myth of Affluence Among Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Americans (New York: Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies, 1998) at 15. See also "Taxing Times," supra note 54, at 555. Jacinth Herbert, "'Otherness' and the Black Woman" (1989) 3 Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 296-279 at 275. "Migrant and Immigrant Families," supra note 32 at 333. New Directions, supra note 3 at 6. See "Annual Immigration Plan[s]," supra note 28. See "Canada - A Welcoming Land: 1999 Annual Immigration Plan," Tabled in October 1998, supra note 28 at 7. Susan B. Boyd, "Challenging the Public/Private Divide: An Overview" in Susan B. Boyd, ed. Challenging the Public/Private Divide: Feminism, Law and Public Policy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997) at 18. "A Cocktail of Alarm," supra note 51 at 125. New Directions, supra note 3 at 21 - 26. "Report from a Rotten State," supra note 36 at 136. At 54. Gwen Brodsky, "Out of the Closet and Into a Wedding Dress? Struggles for Lesbian and Gay Legal Equality" (1994) 7 Canadian Journal of Women and Law 523 - 535 (hereinafter cited as "Out of the Closet") at 532. 86  87  88  89  90  91  92  93  94  95  6  97  98 99  100 101  102  103 104  105 106 107  108  Immigration and the Legalization of Racism, supra note 82 at 75. See "Annual Immigration Plan[s]," supra note 28. For example, the amount planned for 1996 was 34,700 whereas for 1999 it is a mere 17,300. As a percentage of total number of immigrants planned parents and grandparents Emphasis added. accounted for 19% in 1996 and only 9% in 1999. New Directions, supra note 3 at 23. 109  110 111  97  1 1 2  1 1 3  1 1 4  "Taxing Times," supra note 54 at 556. "Out of the Closet," supra note 107 at 532. Kathleen A . Lahey, Are We "Persons" Yet: Law and Sexuality in Canada  (Toronto: University of  Toronto Press, 1999) at 266. What she terms 'rights talk,' Lesbian and Gay Rights in Canada, supra note 18, Chapter Four. For a more general description of this typically liberal assumption, and the implications of the entrenchment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in particular, see Joel Bakan, Just Words: Constitutional Rights and Social Wrongs (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997). For an earlier, but still trenchant analysis of some of these issues, also see, Michael Mandel, The Charter of Rights and the Legalization of Politics in Canada (Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing Inc., 1989). 1 1 5  Lesbian and Gay Rights in Canada, supra note 18 at 78. Ibid, at 99.  116  117  For a description of a legal strategy which works towards this goal s e e the description of the Intervener's Factum submitted to the Supreme Court of C a n a d a in Mossop in "Defining Family," supra note 76. The " E G A L E Recommendations" supra note 10 hints at such an approach: 'In E G A L E ' s view, the objective should be to identify relationships which are bona fide, rather than just relationships which fall within certain artificially-constructed criteria' at 4. "Towards a Contextualized System," supra note 26 at 4. This process of open debate about the function of family may avoid some of the pitfalls of 'additive' reform described in "Some Complicating Thoughts," supra note 19 at 34 in this way: "Reforms that attempt to modify current laws by "adding on" newly recognized family forms tend to assimilate these new forms to the core model of the "traditional" family in order to maintain uniformity in the law. Some families still get left out and the families that are added in may be pushed into shapes not of their own choosing." Report of the National Consultation on Family Class Immigration, Refugee Law Research Unit, Centre for Refugee Studies, York University, June 1994 at 3. For example, in "Family, Law and Sexuality," supra note 24, Susan B. Boyd says this: '...in M. v. H., although heteronormativity was of course challenged, the ways that the legal arguments had to be formulated meant that the potentially disruptive lesbian subject was absorbed back into familiar roles and, to a large extent, her disruptive potential was displaced.' at 381. S e e for example the judgement of Cory and lacobucci J J . in the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in M. v. H. [1999] 2 S . C . R . at paragraphs 110 and 127. S e e "Family, Law and Sexuality," supra note 24 at 381. S e e for example web-site of E G A L E at www.egale.ca for a series of press releases dated October 25 , November 3 and 2 5 of 1999 issued on the subject. Ibid. Press Release, "Separate is Unequal! No separate definition for those in same-sex relationships" November 3, 1999. Kathleen A . Lahey, Are Wee Persons Yet?: Law and Sexuality in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999) at 266. 1 1 8  1 1 9  1 2 0  1 2 1  1  2  1 2 3  1 2 4  1 2 5  1 2 6  th  rd  th  1 2 7  1 2 8  129 1 3 0  98  M. v. H., supra note 42 at paragraph 127. Downloaded from http://www.cic.qc.ca/enqlish/about/policy/imm-faq e.html on April 7, 2000.  Chapter Three: The Limited Language of Law INTRODUCTION  In this last chapter of the body of this thesis I turn my attention to another very important b r a n c h of law, n a m e l y judge m a d e law. In particular, I f o c u s o n the d e c i s i o n s of the S u p r e m e Court of C a n a d a interpreting the Canadian Freedoms  1  [hereinafter 'Charter'].  Charter of Rights  and  Both before a n d s i n c e the ratification of the Charter,  it  has b e e n the subject of criticism by ' p r o g r e s s i v e s ' a n d ' c o n s e r v a t i v e s ' alike. F o r e x a m p l e , from a progressive perspective, M i c h a e l M a n d e l cautioned against the 'legalization of politics'—the apparent replacement of '"conflicts of interest" with "matters of p r i n c i p l e ' " — a n d criticized the Charter a s an inherently u n d e m o c r a t i c instrument. 2  M o r e recently, authors s u c h a s J o e l B a k a n , J u d y F u d g e a n d Harry G l a s b e e k h a v e not only criticized the form a n d p r o c e s s of the Charter, perse, the Charter's  but h a v e a l s o taken a i m at  apparent functional inability to effect the type of s o c i o - e c o n o m i c c h a n g e or  normative political vision they s u p p o r t s .  3  F o r e x a m p l e , in his book, Just Words: Constitutional  Rights and Social  Wrongs  4  [hereinafter 'Just Words'] B a k a n openly a s s o c i a t e s his criticism of the Charter with a 'normative standpoint': his vision of 'social justice' a n d ' p r o g r e s s i v e ' s o c i a l c h a n g e . Put 5  simply, he q u e s t i o n s whether the Charter h a s a n effective role to play in bringing about the type of s o c i e t y in w h i c h he w i s h e s to live. T h i s type of m e t h o d o l o g y s t e p s outside of traditional legal d i s c o u r s e or doctrinal a n a l y s i s in two w a y s . First, the normative and admittedly political v a l u e s by w h i c h judgments are judged operate outside the allegedly scientific a n d v a l u e free body of rules referred to a s 'doctrinal' or 'internal legal' a n a l y s i s .  99  S e c o n d l y , the result of a given c a s e is e x a m i n e d not only in terms of the s u c c e s s of the claimant, but a l s o in terms of its s y s t e m i c a n d societal impact more broadly. Doctrinal a n a l y s i s , n e e d not, however, be applied to the e x c l u s i o n of a n exploration of the policy implications of particular d e c i s i o n s , or vice v e r s a . In her article "Symes v. M.N.R.: W h e r e S e x M e e t s C l a s s " A u d r e y Macklin j u x t a p o s e s c l a s s i c doctrinal a n a l y s i s 6  with a more external, contextual a n a l y s i s . In the F e d e r a l C o u r t of A p p e a l d e c i s i o n (ultimately u p h e l d by the S u p r e m e C o u r t of C a n a d a o n different g r o u n d s ) the C o u r t found that the term ' b u s i n e s s e x p e n s e ' could not be interpreted to include child care e x p e n s e s a n d that this e x c l u s i o n did not violate the Charter equality rights of the claimant, a lawyer with her o w n practice. Macklin effectively e m p l o y s internal legal a n a l y s i s to c h a l l e n g e the Court's section 15 a n a l y s i s . In a crisp a n d eloquent d e p l o y m e n t of legal logic, s h e d e m o n s t r a t e s the aridity of the C o u r t ' s application of section 15 to the facts of this c a s e : T h e gist of Mr. J u s t i c e D e c a r y ' s position is that it is a b s u r d to grant S y m e s parity with b u s i n e s s m e n if, in s o d o i n g , s h e is p l a c e d in a superior position to other w o m e n . T o put it another w a y , it is preferable that all w o m e n be equally d i s a d v a n t a g e d relative to m e n if the alternative is to improve the situation of the best-off w o m e n . 7  O n the other h a n d , considering the broader context that 'tax d e d u c t i o n s are inherently regressive,' that 'full deductibility w i d e n s the g a p between the e c o n o m i c a l l y privileged a n d others' a n d ' d o e s nothing to a s s i s t parents currently u n a b l e to p u r c h a s e child care s e r v i c e s ' , s h e a l s o c o n c l u d e s that ' S y m e s ' c a u s e [is] o n e w h i c h c h a m p i o n s c l a s s 8  privilege a s o p p o s e d to s e x equality' a n d should not, therefore, b e supported a s a 9  'feminist' c a u s e . But e v e n though s h e s u r v e y s the d e c i s i o n from both p e r s p e c t i v e s , they remain mutually e x c l u s i v e o n a functional level. S h e d o e s not apply contextual factors to c l a s s i c legal d i s c o u r s e . 100  M a c k l i n c o n c l u d e s that although from a 'doctrinal' p e r s p e c t i v e the F e d e r a l Court of A p p e a l got it w r o n g , from a contextual or 'policy' p e r s p e c t i v e , a positive result in S y m e s ' favour would c o n c l u d e s that '[a]t  h a v e b e e n undesirable. F r o m the doctrinal worst,  S y m e s is attempting  to  perspective s h e  redress a disadvantage  she  e x p e r i e n c e s a s a w o m a n while leaving intact the current s y s t e m ' s preferential treatment of b u s i n e s s p e o p l e , a c l a s s to which s h e b e l o n g s . '  10  H o w e v e r , s h e a l s o c o n c l u d e s that  'from the perspective of feminist legal strategy, the h a z a r d s of promoting Beth S y m e s ' claim...far e x c e e d the potential benefits' b e c a u s e it will w i d e n the g a p between 'uppermiddle c l a s s , s e l f - e m p l o y e d , professional w o m e n ' w h o will be a b l e to fully deduct their child c a r e e x p e n s e s a n d those salaried w o m e n w h o will only be a b l e to deduct a portion of their e x p e n s e s , a s well a s t h o s e w h o cannot afford child c a r e at a l l .  11  But surely, it  would be a very i m p o v e r i s h e d version of section 15 'doctrine' w h i c h would permit, or d e m a n d this kind of s o c i a l (in)equality? W h e r e M a c k l i n a n d I differ is that in m y opinion, the 'doctrine' w h i c h , a c c o r d i n g to her should h a v e resulted in S y m e s ' being s u c c e s s f u l — n a m e l y , section 15 equality a n a l y s i s — s h o u l d itself incorporate a broader contextual a n a l y s i s of the equality of all w o m e n in their a c c e s s to child care. A s M a c k l i n herself notes: If the g o a l of section 15 in this context is to r e d r e s s the discriminatory impact of tax laws o n m e m b e r s of d i s a d v a n t a g e d g r o u p s , there c a n be no pretext for confining the inquiry to section 18(1) [a b u s i n e s s deduction] of the A c t or the r e m e d y to b u s i n e s s w o m e n . Insofar a s tax d e d u c t i o n s are c o n c e r n e d , the real i s s u e would be the i n a d e q u a c y of the partial deduction under section 6 3 in facilitating self-employed and salaried w o m e n ' s a c c e s s to the paid w o r k f o r c e . 12  N e v e r t h e l e s s , it is precisely this sort of artificial 'confinement' of a n a l y s i s w h i c h M a c k l i n tacitly e n d o r s e s in S y m e s ' right a s the claimant to frame the equality i s s u e a s a c o m p a r i s o n b e t w e e n b u s i n e s s m e n a n d b u s i n e s s w o m e n , to the e x c l u s i o n of all others. 101  A c c o r d i n g to her a p p r o a c h , although the feminist m o v e m e n t s h o u l d promote a n equality that c o n s i d e r s the c i r c u m s t a n c e s a n d benefits of a broad c r o s s - s e c t i o n of w o m e n , o n c e the matter gets into court, the Charter's  doctrine a n d p r o c e s s d e m a n d s  that the c i r c u m s t a n c e s of the claimant be universalised to the e x c l u s i o n of all others. M a c k l i n ' s rigid separation of internal (legal) v e r s u s contextual (policy) a n a l y s i s results in two s e p a r a t e normative v e r s i o n s e q u a l i t y — o n e doctrinal a n d the other s o c i o political—which sit very uncomfortably next to e a c h other. T h e conflict springs from her inconsistent application of the principles of anti-essentialism to feminist legal d i s c o u r s e . M a c k l i n finds fault in the history of feminist litigation b e c a u s e of its 'essentialist' presentation of the n e e d s of m i d d l e - c l a s s , a n d largely white w o m e n a s those of all women: C o n t e m p o r a r y feminist theory and practice [has] b e e n criticized (not without justification) for a propensity to not only give priority to the p r o b l e m s most likely to be e n c o u n t e r e d by middle c l a s s , white w o m e n , but also to universalize t h e s e e x p e r i e n c e s a n d represent t h e m a s e m b l e m a t i c of " w o m e n ' s condition". In my view, depicting Symes a s a section 15 c a s e d i s p l a y s this e s s e n t i a l i s m in a c t i o n . 13  Y e t , in her doctrinal a n a l y s i s of the application of section 15, s h e d i s m i s s e s the negative c l a s s implications of a finding in favour of S y m e s a s irrelevant. M a c k l i n a r g u e s that the F e d e r a l Court of A p p e a l ' s a n a l y s i s of section 15 in the Symes  c a s e s h o u l d h a v e been  limited to a consideration of the type of ' d i s a d v a n t a g e she e x p e r i e n c e s as a  woman.  ,14  M a c k l i n a s s u m e s , rather than interrogates S y m e s ' ability to blinker the Court's c o m p r e h e n s i o n of a c o m p l e x s y s t e m to a consideration of o n e ground of discrimination, a s it is e x p e r i e n c e d by her, a s a relatively privileged w o m a n . In this paper, it is precisely this a s p e c t of section 15 equality doctrine and litigation that I w i s h to critically e x a m i n e . C a n the Charter's e s s e n t i a l i z e d s u b j e c t s ? In the context of Charter 102  section 15 doctrine c o m p r e h e n d n o n litigation by a ' n o n - e s s e n t i a l i z e d '  subject I m e a n a litigant w h o is not r e d u c e d to the o n e or more characteristics w h i c h c o r r e s p o n d to the listed o r a n a l o g o u s ground(s) c l a i m e d a s the b a s i s of the discrimination. It is my hypothesis that b e c a u s e section 15 doctrine h a s b e e n d e v e l o p e d in relation to "grounds" of discrimination a n d h o m o g e n i s e d "groups" of p e o p l e , it tends to privilege a n understanding of discrimination that u n i v e r s a l i z e s the e x p e r i e n c e s of t h o s e w h o only e x p e r i e n c e o p p r e s s i o n in relation to o n e Charter  ground or s o c i a l  characteristic. T h e c o n v e r s e formulation of this theory is that the Charter  is now largely  i n c a p a b l e of r e d r e s s i n g , or e v e n c o m p r e h e n d i n g , the b u r d e n s of p e o p l e w h o e x p e r i e n c e 'intersectional' discrimination a n d o p p r e s s i o n . B y 'intersectional' I m e a n the e x p e r i e n c e of a combination of multiple forms of o p p r e s s i o n , w h i c h results in new a n d unique forms of o p p r e s s i o n . In the first section of this chapter I will sur vey s e v e r a l a s p e c t s of Charter  process  a n d jurisprudence—particularly that of the S u p r e m e C o u r t of C a n a d a - r - w h i c h generally i m p e d e the ability of courts to c o m p r e h e n d intersectional discrimination. T h i s survey is not, therefore, meant to provide a broad overview of the S u p r e m e C o u r t of C a n a d a ' s equality j u r i s p r u d e n c e ; rather, I intend simply to highlight s o m e of the doctrinal and operational o b s t a c l e s that, in my opinion, prevent the r e m e d y of intersectional oppression. In the s e c o n d section of the paper I will contextualise the d i s c u s s i o n by considering equality rights litigation related to the ground of ' s e x u a l orientation'. I will a r g u e that o n c e the ground of ' s e x u a l orientation' is invoked in Charter  litigation, all other  characteristics of c l a i m a n t s , a n d of g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s m o r e generally, a r e effectively e r a s e d . In this s e c t i o n , a s in the previous chapter, I will f o c u s o n a more contextual 1 5  103  a n a l y s i s of the broader policy implications of t h e s e d e c i s i o n s from multiple p e r s p e c t i v e s , or c o m m u n i t i e s of interests. In the c o n c l u s i o n to this chapter I will p r o p o s e a n alternative a p p r o a c h to understanding equality, discrimination a n d o p p r e s s i o n in the C o u r t s . It is incumbent upon the Court to investigate a n d explicitly identify those c o m m u n i t i e s of interests w h o will a n d will not benefit from a p r o p o s e d remedy. I will argue that, a s o p p o s e d to categories of p e o p l e a n d mutually e x c l u s i v e g r o u n d s of discrimination, the concept of "communities of interests" will e n c o u r a g e C o u r t s to grapple with the c o m p l e x nature of oppression.  ' G R O U N D S & G R O U P S ' A N D O T H E R E S S E N T I A L I S T U N D E R T O W S IN S E C T I O N 1 5 D O C T R I N E  A n anti-essentialist methodology, in my opinion, is o n e w h i c h at least strives to c o m p r e h e n d the possibility of a n infinite variety of s o c i a l locations, of unique identity(ies), rather than 'fixing' h o m o g e n e o u s categories of p e o p l e . Unfortunately, a s Martha M i n o w e x p l a i n e d , w e are incapable of holding the complexity of the world in our minds: ' W e d o not know h o w to d e s c r i b e individuals a s unique e x c e p t by reference to traits that actually draw t h e m into m e m b e r s h i p in groups of people sharing those traits.'  16  In the context of section 15 legal a n a l y s i s , this inability is reflected in the  centrality of 'grounds' to the p r o c e s s , a n d the u s e of a claimant's m e m b e r s h i p in a 'group' a s the b a s i c units of section 15 a n a l y s i s . N e v e r t h e l e s s , Nitya D u c l o s has observed: T h e error in the current a p p r o a c h lies not s o m u c h in the u s e of c a t e g o r i e s , w h i c h may well be intrinsic to the w a y w e think, but in the a s s u m p t i o n that the particular c a t e g o r i e s w e a r e u s i n g n o w a r e natural, objective, a n d permanent. W e c a n continue to u s e the categories w e h a v e , in this c a s e the g r o u n d s of discrimination, but w e s h o u l d strive to m a k e t h e m flexible, d y n a m i c , a n d relational. A complaint alleging discrimination o n o n e ground s h o u l d not immediately focus...[attention] o n 104  that particular characteristic of the complainant. Instead it should provide a n o c c a s i o n for considering the whole p i c t u r e . . . 17  A s I might put it, the problem lies not with positing c a t e g o r i e s , but with their peremptory fixation, without d e b a t e or in depth a n a l y s i s . In Canada  (Attorney  General)  v. Mossop  18  [hereinafter 'Mossop']  a g a y m a n had  applied for, a n d w a s d e n i e d ' b e r e a v e m e n t l e a v e ' to attend the funeral of his s a m e - s e x partner's father b e c a u s e his collective a g r e e m e n t defined ' s p o u s e ' e x c l u s i v e l y a s s o m e o n e of the 'opposite-sex.' H e argued that this definition constituted discrimination on the ground of his 'family status' contrary to the Canadian  Human  Rights  Act.  Although the Ontario Court of A p p e a l had already determined in Haig that the  :a  Charter  required that ' s e x u a l orientation' be 'read in' a s another protected ground within that A c t , the Charter w a s not relied upon by the claimant in that argument. E s s e n t i a l l y , Mr. M o s s o p a r g u e d that his relationship constituted a 'family' a n d w a s c o n s e q u e n t l y protected from discrimination b a s e d upon the ground of 'family status,' r e g a r d l e s s of the s e x of his partner or whether or not ' s e x u a l orientation' w a s r e c o g n i z e d a s a s e p a r a t e ground of discrimination. In rejecting this argument, L a m e r C . J . s a i d : It is thus c l e a r that w h e n P a r l i a m e n t a d d e d the p h r a s e "family status" to the E n g l i s h v e r s i o n of the CHRA in 1 9 8 3 , it refused at the s a m e time to prohibit discrimination of the b a s i s of s e x u a l orientation in that A c t . In my opinion, this fact is determinative. I find it hard to s e e h o w Parliament c a n b e d e e m e d to h a v e intended to c o v e r the situation n o w before the Court in the CHRA w h e n w e know that it specifically e x c l u d e d s e x u a l orientation from the list of prohibited g r o u n d s of discrimination c o n t a i n e d in the A c t . In the c a s e at bar, Mr. M o s s o p ' s s e x u a l orientation is s o c l o s e l y c o n n e c t e d with the g r o u n d s w h i c h led to the refusal of the benefit that this denial could not be c o n d e m n e d a s discrimination on the b a s i s of "family status" without indirectly introducing into the CHRA the prohibition which P a r l i a m e n t specifically d e c i d e d not to include in the A c t , n a m e l y the prohibition of discrimination o n the b a s i s of s e x u a l o r i e n t a t i o n . 20  Mr. M o s s o p ' s s e x u a l orientation e r a s e d his family status: his identity—who he w a s , his intimate familial r e l a t i o n s h i p s — b e c a m e completely o v e r w h e l m e d , a n d therefore defined 105  by his s e x u a l orientation. Although L a m e r C . J . a d d e d that this ' d o e s not m e a n that the hypothesis of overlapping g r o u n d s of discrimination s h o u l d be ruled out in other contexts'  21  he c o n c l u d e d that no s u c h overlapping could o c c u r in this c a s e b e c a u s e  Parliament had d e c i d e d not to include s e x u a l orientation in the list of prohibited grounds. Nitya D u c l o s said this about the legal fallacy upon w h i c h the g r o u n d s - b a s e d a p p r o a c h to understanding discrimination is b a s e d : It is only w h e n o n e b e c o m e s i m m e r s e d in the world of g e n d e r are extracted from the w h o l e person a n d e x c l u s i v e categories of discrimination. It is only w h e n thinking that race discrimination a n d s e x discrimination observable things.  law that race a n d b e c o m e mutually e n g a g e d in legal become separate  22  Ironically, L a m e r C . J . d e f e n d s the right of Parliament to r e c o g n i z e (and alternatively ignore) multiple g r o u n d s — o r 'legal identities'—at the e x p e n s e of permitting courts the ability to c o m p r e h e n d the c o m p l e x 'real identities' of p e o p l e , their i n s e p a r a b l e , 'intersectional identity(ies)' d e s c r i b e d by D u c l o s . His a c k n o w l e d g e m e n t of the  potential  for 'overlapping g r o u n d s ' a m o u n t s to an e n d o r s e m e n t , rather than a c h a l l e n g e to the p r o c e s s of the p i e c e m e a l extraction a n d (in)comprehension of the 'intersectional identity(ies)' of people facing discrimination. His f o c u s on the 'grounds' codified in the Canadian  Human  Rights Act c l o u d s his ability to s e e the nature of their intersection, the  inseparability of the s e x u a l orientation discrimination in the lived family status discrimination e x p e r i e n c e d by Mr. M o s s o p : F a m i l y status is c o n n e c t e d to the other b a s e s of discrimination, then, in that it h a s s e r v e d a s a conduit or m e c h a n i s m by w h i c h s e x i s m , racism a n d h o m o p h o b i a (to n a m e just three) have b e e n s e c u r e d a n d perpetuated. T o put matters s o m e w h a t differently, the families w h i c h m e m b e r s of t h e s e g r o u p s form are not legitimized a s "families" b e c a u s e of the "nature" of their m e m b e r s , not the nature of their f a m i l i e s . . . 23  106  G i v e n that the denial of family status or denigration of certain family forms is, at least for historically d i s e m p o w e r e d g r o u p s , a v e h i c l e through w h i c h their subordination is maintained a n d perpetuated, it a l s o follows that the relationship between the ground "family status" a n d other g r o u p s of discrimination is a n overlapping o n e . It is n o n s e n s i c a l to a s k whether c a s e s w h i c h implicate o n e of t h e s e other g r o u n d s a n d family status are "really" about family status, or about race, or s e x , or s e x u a l orientation, a s if t h e s e characterizations w e r e mutually e x c l u s i v e . N o r is it n e c e s s a r y to try a n d d i s c e r n whether family status plus o n e of the other h e a d s of discrimination in combination produce c o m p o u n d or intersectional inequalities. T h e nature of the interaction b e t w e e n family status a n d the other prohibited g r o u n d s of discrimination is o v e r l a p p i n g . In her dissent, L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . argued that the then C h i e f J u s t i c e ' s position w a s ' b a s e d o n a n underlying a s s u m p t i o n that the g r o u n d s of "family status" a n d " s e x u a l orientation" a r e mutually e x c l u s i v e . ' L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . a l s o e n d o r s e s the ability of the 25  courts to r e c o g n i z e the overlapping of grounds of discrimination: It is increasingly r e c o g n i z e d that categories of discrimination m a y overlap, a n d that individuals m a y suffer historical e x c l u s i o n o n the b a s i s of both race a n d g e n d e r , a g e a n d physical h a n d i c a p , or s o m e other c o m b i n a t i o n . T h e situation of individuals w h o confront multiple g r o u n d s of d i s a d v a n t a g e is particularly c o m p l e x . . . C a t e g o r i z i n g s u c h discrimination a s primarily racially oriented, or primarily gender-oriented, m i s c o n c e i v e s the reality of discrimination a s it is e x p e r i e n c e d by individuals. Discrimination m a y be e x p e r i e n c e d o n m a n y g r o u n d s , a n d w h e r e this is the c a s e , it is not really meaningful to a s s e r t that it is o n e of the other. It m a y be more realistic to r e c o g n i z e that both forms of discrimination m a y b e p r e s e n t a n d i n t e r s e c t . 26  H o w e v e r , unlike L a m e r C . J . , s h e c o m e s to the c o n c l u s i o n that 'where a p e r s o n suffers discrimination on more than o n e g r o u n d , but...only o n e form of discrimination is a prohibited ground...one should be cautious not to c h a r a c t e r i z e the discrimination s o a s to deprive the p e r s o n of any p r o t e c t i o n . '  27  Essentially, her d i s a g r e e m e n t with L a m e r C . J .  a m o u n t s to a d i s a g r e e m e n t about the proper application of a g r o u n d s - b a s e d a p p r o a c h of ' o v e r l a p p i n g ' — a s o p p o s e d to 'intersectional'—discrimination to the facts of this c a s e . Unfortunately, although in s u b s e q u e n t d e c i s i o n s L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . c h a l l e n g e s the u s e of a g r o u n d s - b a s e d a p p r o a c h to understanding d i s c r i m i n a t i o n , in her d i s s e n t in 28  107  Mossop,  her d e f e r e n c e to the centrality of a g r o u n d s - b a s e d a p p r o a c h ultimately a l s o  results in a n i n c o m p r e h e n s i o n of lived intersectional identity(ies) a n d discrimination. S h e posits a 'practical' solution to situations of intersectional discrimination that, s h e s u g g e s t s , permits o n e to 'ignore the complexity of the interaction, a n d characterize the discrimination a s of o n e type or the o t h e r '  29  w h e r e both are prohibited. S o m e of the  p r o b l e m s with this a p p r o a c h are m a d e apparent by its hypothetical application to the A m e r i c a n c a s e of DeGraffenried  v. General  Motors  30  [hereinafter 'DeGraffenried'].  In  that c a s e a group of black w o m e n sought to c h a l l e n g e their e m p l o y e r ' s seniority s y s t e m on the ground that it discriminated against them a s 'black w o m e n ' , distinct from both black a n d f e m a l e e m p l o y e e s in g e n e r a l . B e c a u s e the e m p l o y e r h a d only b e g u n to e m p l o y black w o m e n in 1964 after the p a s s a g e of the civil rights legislation prohibiting race discrimination, they all lost their jobs under the application of a seniority s y s t e m in a s u b s e q u e n t r e c e s s i o n . T h e C o u r t refused to certify t h e m a s a c l a s s , s a y i n g : [P[laintiffs have failed to cite a n y d e c i s i o n s w h i c h h a v e stated that B l a c k w o m e n are a s p e c i a l c l a s s to be protected from discrimination...The plaintiffs are clearly entitled to a r e m e d y is they h a v e b e e n discriminated against. H o w e v e r , they should not be allowed to c o m b i n e statutory r e m e d i e s to create a n e w ' s u p e r - r e m e d y ' w h i c h w o u l d give t h e m relief b e y o n d what the relevant statues intended. T h u s , this lawsuit must be e x a m i n e d to s e e if it states a c a u s e of action for race discrimination, s e x discrimination, or alternatively either, but not a combination of b o t h . 31  T h e Court then summarily granted judgement in favour of the defendant on the grounds that 'prior to 1964 G e n e r a l M o t o r s did hire w o m e n — a l t h o u g h they w e r e of c o u r s e white w o m e n — w h o w e r e unaffected by the layoff....'  32  A n d rather than attending to the  (judicially-excised) race discrimination a s p e c t of their c i r c u m s t a n c e s , 'the Court r e c o m m e n d e d that the plaintiffs join c a u s e with a group of black m e n w h o w e r e a l s o suing G e n e r a l Motors for its racist e m p l o y m e n t p r a c t i c e s . '  33  L'Heureux-Dube J.'s  assertion that although 'multiple levels of discrimination m a y exist, multiple levels of 108  protection m a y n o t ' "super-remedy".'  35  34  is a n a l o g o u s to the District C o u r t s refusal to 'create a n e w  A s M a r y E a t o n points out, L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . ' s s u g g e s t i o n that  courts [...] "ignore the complexity of the interaction" a n d r e d u c e the claim to a simple single h e a d is to return to the flaws of DeGraffenried, and ensures that a n y r e m e d i e s f a s h i o n e d will prove inadequate....Characterizing the complaint a s either, but not both, race a n d s e x discrimination thus m i s s e s the point [of intersectional discrimination and oppression] a l t o g e t h e r . 36  T h e remedial c r u d e n e s s of a strictly g r o u n d s - b a s e d a p p r o a c h to intersectional identity(ies) is a l s o manifest in the r e a s o n s g i v e n , by both the majority a n d d i s s e n t s , in Thibaudeau  v. Canada  37  [hereinafter 'Thibaudeau'].  In this c a s e , however, the  'categorical' thinking of the Court is not reflected in d i s c u s s i o n s about the proper definition a n d application of the appropriate 'grounds' of discrimination. In  Thibaudeau,  the e m p h a s i s , a n d the crux of the d i s a g r e e m e n t b e t w e e n the justices of the S u p r e m e Court of C a n a d a , w a s o n the proper 'group' or 'constitutional unit' to b e c o n s i d e r e d : the nature of the people (or person) within the category or 'ground.' A n d a s I shall d i s c u s s , how the relationship/connection between the two c o n c e p t s are understood is a n important i s s u e , a n d o n e , in my opinion, given too little thought by the S u p r e m e Court of Canada. Thibaudeau  involved a c h a l l e n g e to the provisions of the Income Tax Act that taxed  child support p a y m e n t s in the h a n d s of the (recipient) custodial parent. T h e (payor) n o n custodial parent, o n the other h a n d , w a s permitted to d e d u c t the a m o u n t of child support p a y m e n t s . T h e s e provisions constituted a reversal of the g e n e r a l principle of taxation law that i n c o m e is taxed in the h a n d s of the earner. O n that b a s i s , all of the j u d g e s of the S u p r e m e C o u r t of C a n a d a a g r e e d that the provisions at the very least drew a distinction related to s o m e description of s e p a r a t e d / d i v o r c e d custodial parents. T h o u g h 109  M c L a c h l i n is the only m e m b e r of the Court w h o dealt with the matter at a n y length in her dissenting opinion, it a p p e a r s that all the j u d g e s a c c e p t e d that the distinction w a s an a n a l o g o u s ground of d i s c r i m i n a t i o n .  38  T h e objective behind t h e s e provisions w a s that s i n c e recipient s p o u s e s (mostly w o m e n ) w e r e in a lower marginal tax rate than the p a y o r s (mostly men) in about 6 7 per cent of c a s e s , taxing the p a y m e n t s in the h a n d s of the recipient resulted in a n 'overall' t a x - s a v i n g in terms of the i n c o m e u s e d to m a k e child support p a y m e n t s . Theoretically, that tax s a v i n g w a s to be carried o v e r to the recipient by w a y of a ' g r o s s i n g up' by the Family Court j u d g e s of the amount of the child support in order to reflect that s a v i n g . A n d a c c o r d i n g to the e v i d e n c e before the court, in s o m e c a s e s , the s y s t e m did work a s anticipated. T h e majority of the Court d i s m i s s e d the claim o n the b a s i s that the provisions c a u s e d no burden to the relevant constitutional unit, w h i c h they identified a s the postdivorce/separation couple. A s G o n t h i e r J . , for the majority, r e a s o n e d : In v i e w of the substantial s a v i n g s g e n e r a t e d by the inclusion/deduction s y s t e m , it is c l e a r that the group of s e p a r a t e d of d i v o r c e d parents cannot a s a w h o l e claim to suffer prejudice a s s o c i a t e d with the very e x i s t e n c e of the s y s t e m in question. O n the contrary, it w a s s h o w n that on the whole m e m b e r s of the group derive a benefit from it: a s most of the recipient parents are subject to a marginal tax rate lower than that of the patents p a y i n g the m a i n t e n a n c e , it c a n be s a i d that the p u r p o s e s for w h i c h the s y s t e m w a s created have b e e n to a large extent a c h i e v e d . 3 9  M c L a c h l i n J . , h o w e v e r , b a s e d her a n a l y s i s of w h e t h e r o r not there w a s a 'burden' for the p u r p o s e s of section 15 on a s m a l l e r group or unit of a n a l y s i s . In dissent, s h e f o c u s s e d u p o n the particular facts of M s . T h i b a u d e a u ' s c a s e , n a m e l y , that b e c a u s e the judge did not, in fact, g r o s s up e n o u g h in her c a s e , her tax burden w a s i n c r e a s e d . Essentially, the perspective of M s . T h i b a u d e a u , a s a n individual, b e c a m e the basis for the definition of the relevant constitutional unit. B a s e d u p o n this u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the 110  relevant constitutional unit, s h e c o n d u c t e d a direct c o m p a r i s o n b e t w e e n 'custodial' parents a n d 'non-custodial' parents: T h e i m p u g n e d taxation s c h e m e i m p o s e s a burden o n s e p a r a t e d or d i v o r c e d custodial parents, w h i c h it d o e s not i m p o s e o n s e p a r a t e d o r divorced non-custodial parents. T h e custodial parent must include child support p a y m e n t s from w h i c h s h e g a i n s no p e r s o n a l benefit. T h e n o n custodial parent m a y deduct support p a y m e n t s from his taxable i n c o m e . H e is t a x e d only on his actual p e r s o n a l i n c o m e l e s s this d e d u c t i o n . O n its f a c e , this d e m o n s t r a t e s a d v e r s e u n e q u a l treatment of custodial parents. T h e e v i d e n c e in this c a s e s u g g e s t s that taking into a c c o u n t the a m o u n t s from w h i c h s h e benefited in the form of tax credits, M s . T h i b a u d e a u w a s obliged to pay from her o w n r e s o u r c e s a n additional $ 2 , 5 0 5 in federal tax for 1989 a s a result of the inclusion of child support p a y m e n t s in her taxable i n c o m e : testimony of J e a n - F r a n c o i s Drouin, a tax l a w y e r . 40  B e c a u s e both G o n t h i e r a n d M c L a c h l i n J J . b a s e d their r e m e d i e s upon particular categories of p e o p l e , neither is able to fashion a n appropriate r e m e d y . A s Pothier comments: In different w a y s , all of the j u d g e s of the S u p r e m e C o u r t of C a n a d a dealt with this c a r e on a categorical basis. T h e y all ultimately ignored the fact that the inclusion/deduction s y s t e m h a s differential impacts d e p e n d i n g on the c i r c u m s t a n c e s . B y looking only at the level of the c o u p l e a n d only at the a g g r e g a t e effect, the majority a s s u m e d without question that the family law s y s t e m is c a p a b l e of properly allocating the tax s a v i n g in the 67 per cent of c a s e s w h e r e there is o n e , a n d ignored the fact that for a substantial minority of c a s e s (29 per cent), the inclusion/deduction s y s t e m p r o d u c e s a net loss. O n the other h a n d , the two d i s s e n t e r s , in looking only at the recipient s p o u s e , ignored the c a s e s w h e r e the w o r k s , both theoretically a n d practically, a s it is s u p p o s e d to, a n d ordered a r e m e d y applicable independently of whether there w a s , in the particular c i r c u m s t a n c e s , a demonstrated detriment in cumulative effect. 41  Unfortunately, e v e n though L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . a n d C o r y a n d l a c o b u c c i J J . adopted a more n u a n c e d , e f f e c t s - b a s e d rather than a n exclusively g r o u n d s / g r o u p b a s e d a p p r o a c h , ultimately, neither avoid the 'all or nothing' pitfalls of categorical thinking. L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . adopts a multi-stage p r o c e s s of thinking about w h e t h e r M s . T h i b a u d e a u is part of a group that suffers a burden for the p u r p o s e of section 15:  111  T h u s , although M s . T h i b a u d e a u a n d Mr. C h a i n e fell within the 67 percent of c o u p l e s that the g o v e r n m e n t c l a i m s benefit a s " c o u p l e s " from the inclusion/deduction s y s t e m , the regime in practice not only uniquely d i s a d v a n t a g e s M s . T h i b a u d e a u by cutting into the m o n e y s h e available for the children, but a l s o uniquely enriched Mr. C h a i n e to the extent that he s a v e d tax b e c a u s e his marginal tax rate w o u l d h a v e b e e n higher than that of M s . T h i b a u d e a u [ b e c a u s e the judge did not ' g r o s s - u p ' enough]...It is, therefore, absolutely indisputable that M s . T h i b a u d e a u suffered a significant inequality. T h e question then b e c o m e s , is s h e simply a n individual w h o fell through the c r a c k s of a n otherwise equitable s y s t e m , o r is the s y s t e m itself generally u n e q u a l to custodial parents a s a g r o u p ? In my view...[i]mportant s y s t e m i c factors preclude the family law s y s t e m from properly filing the l a c u n a left by the inclusion/deduction provisions of the ITA 4 2  Eventually, h o w e v e r , s h e b a s e s her c o n c l u s i o n upon the prioritisation of o n e particular s u b - g r o u p of p e o p l e : A denial of equality d o e s not n e c e s s a r i l y require that all m e m b e r s of a group be a d v e r s e l y affected by the distinction. It suffices that a particular group is significantly more likely to suffer a n a d v e r s e effect a s a result of a legislative distinction than any other group.. 4 3  A n d a s the extract from the a n a l y s i s of Pothier quoted a b o v e implies, this prioritisation results in a concomitant d e - e m p h a s i s of the interests of others within the larger group. C o r y a n d l a c o b u c c i J J . a l s o d i s t a n c e t h e m s e l v e s from the a p p r o a c h a d o p t e d by G o n t h i e r J.:'[...] the functional v a l u e s / r e l e v a n c e a p p r o a c h of G o n t h i e r J . f o c u s e s narrowly o n the ground of distinction a n d , a s a result, omits a n a n a l y s i s of the discriminatory impact of the i m p u g n e d distinction.'  44  Essentially, Cory and lacobucci  J J . ' s d i s a g r e e m e n t with L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . a n d M c L a c h l i n J . relates to their factual c o n c l u s i o n regarding the overall efficacy of the s y s t e m a n d the s o u r c e of a n y fault in its operation: If there is a n y disproportionate d i s p l a c e m e n t of the tax liability between the former s p o u s e s (as a p p e a r s to be the situation befalling M s . T h i b a u d e a u ) , the responsibility for this lies not in the Income Tax Act, but in the family law s y s t e m a n d the p r o c e d u r e s from w h i c h the support order 112  originally flow. T h i s s y s t e m provides a v e n u e s to revisit support orders that m a y erroneously h a v e failed to take into a c c o u n t the tax c o n s e q u e n c e s of the p a y m e n t s . Therefore, in light of the interaction b e t w e e n the Income Tax Act a n d the family law statutes, it cannot be s a i d that s. 56(1 )(b) of the Income Tax Act i m p o s e s a burden upon the respondent within the m e a n i n g of s. 15 j u r i s p r u d e n c e . 45  T h r o u g h a little c a u s a l 'slight of h a n d ' , C o r y a n d l a c o b u c c i J J . a r e a b l e to characterize M s . T h i b a u d e a u , a n d her c i r c u m s t a n c e s a s a n o m a l o u s within the broader group of custodial parents. This a n a l y s i s follows statements m a d e by l a c o b u c c i J . in the earlier c a s e of Symes v. Canada  46  [hereinafter  'Symes']:  [...] it would s e e m self-evident that if only s o m e w o m e n w e r e a d v e r s e l y affected by a provision, it might be p o s s i b l e to f a s h i o n r e m e d i e s to respond only to the affected subgroup, rather than to all women...Following upon this acknowledgement, however, the important thing to realize is that there is a difference between being able to point to individuals negatively affected by a provision, a n d being able to prove that a group or subgroup is suffering a n a d v e r s e effect in law by virtue of an impugned provision. A s already noted, proof of inequality is a comparative process: Andrews, supra. 47  Ironically, in my opinion, the r e m e d y which would h a v e b e e n ordered by L ' H e u r e u x D u b e J . a l s o largely ignores her o w n v a l u a b l e caution in Egan v. Canada  48  [hereinafter  'Egan']: W e will n e v e r a d d r e s s the p r o b l e m of discrimination completely, o r ferret it out in all its forms, if w e continues to f o c u s on abstract categories a n d generalizations rather than on specific effects. B y looking at the grounds for the distinction instead of at the impact of the distinction on particular g r o u p s , w e risk undertaking a n a n a l y s i s that is d i s t a n c e d a n d d e s e n s i t i z e d from real p e o p l e ' s real e x p e r i e n c e s . T o m a k e matters w o r s e , in defining the appropriate categories upon w h i c h findings of discrimination m a y be b a s e d , w e risk relying on conventions a n d stereotypes about individuals within t h e s e categories that, t h e m s e l v e s , further entrench a discriminatory status quo. 49  In fashioning a r e m e d y , both the d e c i s i o n s of the d i s s e n t e r s a n d that of the majority in different w a y s reinforce stereotypes. A s Pothier puts it: Thibaudeau a m o u n t s to s e x discrimination b e c a u s e it b a s e s policy on s e x u a l stereotypes without regard to the a c c u r a c y of t h o s e stereotypes...It 113  is not, a s the dissent in Thibaudeau c o n c l u d e s , the taxation of child m a i n t e n a n c e p a y m e n t s in the h a n d s of the custodial parent per s e [which is discriminatory]. Rather, it is the fact that the inclusion deduction s y s t e m is mandatory, without regard to the particular c i r c u m s t a n c e s . 50  W h e t h e r the Court defines the relevant group, or g r o u n d , by reference to the individual claimant or adopts a more s y s t e m i c perspective, o n c e it e n g a g e s in a c o m p a r i s o n b e t w e e n 'categories' of individuals or groups it s u p p r e s s e s differences within both c a t e g o r i e s . Therefore, in Thibaudeau  for e x a m p l e , 'no o n e a s k e d whether  section 15 is a m e n a b l e to tracking...differential e f f e c t s . '  51  O r a s I would put it, none of  the j u d g e s c o n s i d e r e d a c o m p a r i s o n of the many, not just two, c o m m u n i t i e s of interests raised by this c a s e . A s Nitya Iyer a r g u e s : '[l]nevitably, categorising involves making a s s i g n m e n t s of similarity a n d difference: things within the category are relatively similar, they are collectively differentiated from things outside of the c a t e g o r y . ' A s the Thibaudeau  52  d e c i s i o n reflects, another problematic a s p e c t of categorical  c o m p a r i s o n making within equality d i s c o u r s e is that it generally l a c k s the potential to undermine, or c h a l l e n g e normative notions. T h e r e a s o n the norm cannot be effectively c h a l l e n g e d is that it constitutes the central comparator. A s D u c l o s e x p l a i n s , the comparative p r o c e s s in equality d i s c o u r s e 'takes that privileged group a s the unstated model upon w h i c h antidiscrimination law is b a s e d . . . T h e c a t e g o r i e s are s e p a r a t e b e c a u s e they represent a set of possible paths of d i v e r g e n c e from the central group norm.'  53  T h i s a s p e c t of equality d i s c o u r s e is reflected e v e n m o r e clearly in the reasoning  of L a m e r C . J . in Mossop,  d i s c u s s e d a b o v e . In that d e c i s i o n , in trying to c o m e to terms  with the m e a n i n g of 'family status' in the Canadian  Human  Rights Act, the then C h i e f  J u s t i c e s e e m s to cite with approval the following excerpt from the r e a s o n i n g of M a r c e a u J . A . of the F e d e r a l Court of A p p e a l :  114  A status, to m e , is primarily a legal c o n c e p t w h i c h refers to the particular position of a p e r s o n with respect to his or her rights a n d limitations a s a result of his or her being m e m b e r of s o m e legally r e c o g n i z e d and regulated group. I fail to s e e how any a p p r o a c h other than a legal o n e could lead to a proper understanding of what is meant by the p h r a s e "family status". E v e n if w e w e r e to a c c e p t that two h o m o s e x u a l lovers c a n constitute "sociologically s p e a k i n g " a sort of family, it is certainly not o n e w h i c h is now r e c o g n i z e d by law a s giving its m e m b e r s s p e c i a l rights a n d obligations. 54  T h i s line of r e a s o n i n g , of necessity, leads L a m e r C . J . to the c o n c l u s i o n that 'family status' must be understood by reference to its 'normative' m e a n i n g : h e t e r o s e x u a l . In a related i s s u e , b e c a u s e the norm b e c o m e s the central comparator, comparative equality d i s c o u r s e c a n only c o m p r e h e n d situations of discrimination that result from a o n e - s t e p d i v e r g e n c e from the norm. T h i s explains L a m e r C . J . ' s position in Mossop  that  b e c a u s e ' s e x u a l orientation' is not specifically listed a s a ' s e p a r a t e ' g r o u n d , 'family status' c a n b e a r no m e a n i n g other than a heterosexual o n e .  5 5  In this w a y , the norm  w h i c h constitutes the root of the discrimination—which in the c a s e of Mossop  w a s the  h e t e r o s e x i s m within the c o n c e p t of 'family'—not only r e m a i n s u n c h a l l e n g e d , it is virtually e r a s e d . T h i s type of e r a s u r e is a l s o manifest in the r e a s o n s of S o p i n k a J . in the c a s e of Eaton v. Brant County Board of Education  56  [hereinafter 'Eaton']. H e s a y s this about the  status of being d i s a b l e d : T h e principal object of certain of the prohibited g r o u n d s is the elimination of discrimination by the attribution of untrue characteristics b a s e d o n stereotypical attitudes relating to immutable conditions s u c h a s race or s e x . In the c a s e of disability, this is o n e of the objectives. T h e other equally important objective s e e k s to take into a c c o u n t the true characteristics of this group w h i c h act a s h e a d w i n d s to the enjoyment of society's benefits a n d to a c c o m m o d a t e t h e m . 5 7  Eaton w a s a c a s e in which the parents of a d i s a b l e d girl c l a i m e d that a d e c i s i o n to place their daughter in a s p e c i a l c l a s s , outside of the regular c l a s s setting, constituted discrimination b a s e d on disability contrary to section 15 of the Charter. 115  Sopinka J . came  to the c o n c l u s i o n no 'burden' had b e e n i m p o s e d on the girl b e c a u s e the d e c i s i o n w a s m a d e in her 'best interests' c o n s i d e r i n g her 'true' characteristics a n d abilities. A s Claire Y o u n g e x p l a i n s , S o p i n k a J . ' s description of the 'true characteristics' of d i s a b l e d p e r s o n s is essentially a n attempt to define 'them' a s inherently  different, without  comparator. T h e flaw with this a n a l y s i s is that difference is inherently  a relational  concept, w h i c h h a s no m e a n i n g without a comparator. T h e p r e m i s e is that the d i s a b l e d are truly different. H o w e v e r , lost in the a n a l y s i s are two important insights about difference a n d disability. T h e first involves the practical recognition of the role that stereotyping a n d s o c i a l construction play in our understanding of disability a n d a c c o m m o d a t i o n . W h a t S o p i n k a J . might c o n s i d e r a s "true" is actually m u c h more c o m p l e x a n d variable than his a n a l y s i s admits. Put slightly differently, "the biological condition...[needs to be] conceptually d i s e n t a n g l e d from the...social ramifications...of the condition." D i s a b l e d individuals are no l e s s vulnerable a n d subject to negative m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g s than other d i s a d v a n t a g e d g r o u p s within C a n a d i a n society. R e c e i v e d truths about what s u c h individuals c a n or cannot d o often d i s s o l v e u p o n scrutiny, revealed a s simply f a l s e h o o d . 58  A s M a r g o t Y o u n g puts it, '[e]quality a n a l y s e s , at their best, involve critical e x a m i n a t i o n s of how difference is r e c o g n i z e d , given m e a n i n g , a n d v a l u e d . '  5 9  Unfortunately, this is precisely the a s p e c t of equality a n a l y s i s that t e n d s to be o b f u s c a t e d , or e v e n completely omitted, within the categorical framework e m p l o y e d by the S u p r e m e C o u r t of C a n a d a . A g a i n in Eaton, S o p i n k a J . s a y s : It follows that disability, a s a prohibited g r o u n d , differs from other e n u m e r a t e d g r o u n d s s u c h a s race or s e x b e c a u s e there is no individual variation with respect to t h e s e g r o u n d s . H o w e v e r , with respect to disability, this ground m e a n s vastly different things d e p e n d i n g upon the individual a n d the c o n t e x t . 60  S o p i n k a J . posits truly e s s e n t i a l i z e d subjects. L e a v i n g a s i d e for the m o m e n t the a d d e d complexity of intersectional discrimination, e v e n within the category of r a c e , for e x a m p l e , there is most certainly difference. In significant w a y s , a S o u t h A s i a n in C a n a d a m a y e x p e r i e n c e his or her 'race' differently than s o m e o n e of African origin. A 116  fourth generation A n g l o - S a x o n C a n a d i a n most certainly would e x p e r i e n c e their race differently from a p e r s o n of colour. A wealthy p e r s o n of colour w o u l d a l s o be racialized quite differently than s o m e o n e w h o is poor. E v e n S o p i n k a J . ' s c o n c e s s i o n regarding the differences within the category of 'disability' is flawed b e c a u s e a s Margot Y o u n g points out: S o p i n k a J . d o e s not draw from his observation of this variation the important c o n c l u s i o n that the category is itself artificial a n d that this reduction of infinite traits into a single n a m e d strand of difference is the m e a n s by w h i c h the powerful e x c l u d e the p o w e r l e s s . A n d this, ultimately, is no l e s s true of g e n d e r a n d r a c e . 6 1  T h e p o w e r to e x c l u d e — a n d to o b f u s c a t e the o p p r e s s i o n of all but t h o s e w h o are only o n e - s t e p a w a y from the central n o r m — i s a l s o apparent in the nature of claimants w h o are s u c c e s s f u l . In contrast to the Eaton c a s e w h e r e the claimant w a s clearly 'different' from the other children in a regular c l a s s r o o m , in Re Blainey Association  et al.  62  [hereinafter 'Blainey ] 3  and Ontario  Hockey  the claimant a r g u e d that her e x c l u s i o n from a  b o y s ' h o c k e y t e a m b e c a u s e s h e w a s a girl w a s discriminatory. B e c a u s e s h e w a s hardly different at all from the boys on the h o c k e y t e a m to w h i c h s h e d e m a n d e d a d m i s s i o n , she was successful.  6 3  G i v e n that 'difference' is a relational c o n c e p t , it is a l s o important to pay attention to how the central norm or c o m p a r a t o r is a s s u m e d a n d u n d e r s t o o d : what, or w h o it represents. F o r a s R a d h a J h a p p a n e x p l a i n s , although m a n y m i d d l e - c l a s s white feminists, by their e s s e n t i a l i s m , have 'pitted all w o m e n against all m e n , in reality, they c r a v e equality with only certain  men.'  6 4  T h i s p h e n o m e n o n is manifest in the claim of  S y m e s , w h o w a n t e d to be c o m p a r e d exclusively to o u s / n e s s m e n . A s L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e insisted: T h i s is not a c a s e about the a d v a n t a g e o u s position in society s o m e w o m e n g a r n e r a s o p p o s e d to other w o m e n , but, rather, a n examination of 117  the advantaged businesswomen.  position  that  businessmen  hold  in  relation  to  6 5  T h e inability of categorical equality a n a l y s e s to c o p e with the reality of c o m p l e x lives a n d o p p r e s s i o n is s o clearly apparent in Symes  b e c a u s e the split in the Court forced it  to grapple with the judicial fallacy of e s s e n t i a l i z e d subjects or h o m o g e n e o u s groups of p e o p l e . In Symes,  l a c o b u c c i found that s . 6 3 — w h i c h limited the a m o u n t that could be  c l a i m e d a s a deduction for child-care e x p e n s e s — c o u l d only be found to i m p o s e a ' b u r d e n ' if the claimant could establish that he or s h e w a s a m e m b e r of a  sub-group  which disproportionately incurred the actual monetary cost of child c a r e . In this c a s e , he found that: [...] the appellant is unable to demonstrate a violation of s. 15(1) of the Charter with respect to s. 6 3 of the Act, s i n c e s h e h a s not proved that s. 6 3 draws a distinction based upon the personal characteristic of sex. In reaching this c o n c l u s i o n , however, I w i s h to note that I d o not reject that s u c h a distinction might be proved in another c a s e . T h e appellant in this c a s e b e l o n g s to a particular subgroup of w o m e n , n a m e l y , married w o m e n w h o are entrepreneurs. It is important to realize that her evidentiary f o c u s w a s s k e w e d in this d i r e c t i o n . (Italics added.) 66  l a c o b u c c i J . ' s categorical r e a s o n i n g h a s curious results. H e repeatedly c h a s t i s e s S y m e s for neglecting to provide the court with a broad picture of w o m e n ' s e x p e r i e n c e s in regard child-care e x p e r i e n c e : I p a u s e to note that the appellant's f o c u s upon s e l f - e m p l o y e d w o m e n to the e x c l u s i o n of w o m e n e m p l o y e e s is a very curious a s p e c t of this c a s e . . . U n d o u b t e d l y , it w a s the juxtaposition of s . 8(2) with s . 9 of the Act w h i c h led the appellant to take the position s h e took. B y virtue of s. 8(2) of the Act, e m p l o y e e s are generally prohibited from making any deductions from employment income. Accordingly, the appellant thought it desirable to distance herself from e m p l o y e e s in this c a s e . W h e n considering her arguments with respect to statutory interpretation, this approach is understandable. W h e n considering her Charter arguments, it is less s o . 6 7  Y e t , it is p r e c i s e l y just s u c h a narrow category in w h i c h S y m e s is p l a c e d for the p u r p o s e of identifying w h e t h e r or not s h e e x p e r i e n c e s a burden, l a c o b u c c i J . r e a s o n s that e v e n  though there m a y be other sub-groups of w o m e n w h i c h e x p e r i e n c e a burden in relation to child c a r e e x p e n s e s , S y m e s is not a m e m b e r of t h o s e sub-groups, and cannot therefore rely on their e x p e r i e n c e s to establish discrimination. S y m e s ' e x p e r i e n c e s are e r a s e d in two w a y s : first, her m e m b e r s h i p within the larger group of w o m e n w h o e x p e r i e n c e a ' g r o u p - b a s e d [inequality] in p o w e r '  68  are ignored; a n d  c o n s e q u e n t l y , her ' s e x - b a s e d ' inequality in relation to m e n , n a m e l y , the disproportionate responsibility for c h i l d c a r e — a s c o m p a r e d to all m e n , b u s i n e s s m e n a n d m e n w h o earn i n c o m e s — i s a l s o e r a s e d . H e r s h a r e d interest with all w o m e n to o v e r c o m e the patriarchal allocation of the burdens of child-care is completely e r a s e d . A s l a c o b u c c i J . himself puts it: [...] the important thing to realize is that there is a difference between being a b l e to point to individuals negatively affected by a provision, and being a b l e to prove that a group or s u b g r o u p is suffering a n a d v e r s e effect in law by virtue of an i m p u g n e d provision. A s a l r e a d y noted, proof of inequality is a comparative p r o c e s s : Andrews, supra. If a group or s u b g r o u p of w o m e n could prove the a d v e r s e effect required, the proof w o u l d c o m e in a c o m p a r i s o n with the relevant body of m e n . 6 9  l a c o b u c c i s a y s that: [...] if I w e r e c o n v i n c e d that s. 6 3 h a s a n a d v e r s e effect upon s o m e w o m e n (for e x a m p l e , in this c a s e , s e l f - e m p l o y e d w o m e n ) , I w o u l d not b e c o n c e r n e d if the effect w a s not felt by a]] w o m e n . That a n a d v e r s e effect felt by a s u b g r o u p of w o m e n c a n still constitute sex-based discrimination a p p e a r s clear to m e from a consideration of past d e c i s i o n s . . . . (Italics added.) 70  T h i s statement mirrors the type of 'oversimplification of c o m p l e x lived e x p e r i e n c e s ' criticized by L i s e Gotell a s the 'bracketing of relevant s o c i a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s other than g e n d e r ' on the part of m a n y f e m i n i s t s .  71  L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . , on the other h a n d , flatly rejects l a c o b u c c i J . ' s c o n c l u s i o n that S y m e s did not prove a burden related to her s e x :  119  T h i s is the reality in which M s . S y m e s lives - a s a lawyer a n d a s a mother. A reality in w h i c h s h e suffers disproportionately to m e n a n d , a s s u c h , is discriminated against on the b a s i s of her s e x . S h e h a s proven that s h e h a s incurred an actual a n d c a l c u l a b l e price for child c a r e a n d that this cost is disproportionately incurred by w o m e n . 7 2  I certainly a g r e e that a_l w o m e n suffer s e v e r e s o c i a l a n d financial c o s t s a s s o c i a t e d with child-bearing a n d rearing a n d that t h e s e c o s t s are incurred w h e t h e r a w o m a n is a s e l f - e m p l o y e d s m a l l b u s i n e s s owner, a lawyer, a n e m p l o y e e or a fulltime h o m e m a k e r a n d caregiver. In fact, it is my view that all w o m e n , a s a c o n s e q u e n c e of g e n d e r , suffer d i s a d v a n t a g e s a s s o c i a t e d with caring for c h i l d r e n . 73  H o w e v e r , although s h e c o m e s to the opposite c o n c l u s i o n to that of l a c o b u c c i J . , s h e also e n g a g e s in a form of bracketing of relevant s o c i a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s other than gender. Put simply, s h e ignores the w a y s in w h i c h S y m e s ' interests diverge from those of m a n y less privileged w o m e n . L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . starts out with a broad survey of the situation of w o m e n vis-a-vis the responsibility for child-care: I a m not u n a w a r e that i n c o m e tax deductions are undoubtedly not the best w a y for g o v e r n m e n t to provide a s s i s t a n c e with regard to the high cost of child c a r e a n d that the allowed deductions u n d e r s. 63 are not representative of the real cost of child c a r e . P e r h a p s child c a r e should not e v e n be s u b s i d i z e d through the tax s y s t e m but, rather, provided for in another m a n n e r . A s is o b v i o u s , i n c o m e tax d e d u c t i o n s benefit only t h o s e w h o h a v e a taxable i n c o m e a n d , a s s u c h , are a form of u p s i d e d o w n s u b s i d y w h i c h allows a p e r s o n with more i n c o m e to s p e n d more on child c a r e a n d , c o n s e q u e n t l y , to receive a greater portion of the g o v e r n m e n t tax expenditure p r o g r a m in return a n d the deduction d o e s not help families w h o cannot afford child care in the first p l a c e . Finally, this type of g o v e r n m e n t s u b s i d y provides no a s s i s t a n c e to the d e v e l o p m e n t of badly n e e d e d child c a r e facilities...Neither a m I ignorant of the fact that the d i s p a r a t e treatment of e m p l o y e d p e r s o n s a n d b u s i n e s s p e r s o n s u n d e r the Act is problematic a n d m a y require future e x a m i n a t i o n . 7 4  N e v e r t h e l e s s , ultimately s h e effectively d i s m i s s e s the r e l e v a n c e of this context: H o w e v e r , t h e s e are not the i s s u e s before the Court. M s . S y m e s h a s not put in i s s u e the e n o r m o u s l y c o m p l e x q u a n d a r y of the d i s a d v a n t a g e m e n t of w o m e n generally through the continuing s o c i a l a n d e c o n o m i c cost of child c a r e . S h e h a s r a i s e d the m u c h narrower q u e s t i o n , although not in a n y w a y insignificant, of the discrimination suffered by b u s i n e s s p e r s o n s - primarily 120  w o m e n - under a n interpretation of the Act that d i s a l l o w s child c a r e e x p e n s e s a s a b u s i n e s s e x p e n s e incurred for the p u r p o s e of gaining or producing i n c o m e from her b u s i n e s s . That i s s u e , specifically the distinction b e t w e e n b u s i n e s s t a x p a y e r s , must be a n s w e r e d . M s . S y m e s ' claim cannot be a d d r e s s e d simply by pointing to the greater i s s u e of the position of w o m e n generally. T o grant her a deduction to w h i c h s h e is clearly entitled u n d e r the Act in no w a y d i m i n i s h e s the larger i s s u e of child c a r e a s it applies to all parents, particularly w o m e n , a matter to be left for another day. I a g r e e with the intervener the Charter C o m m i t t e e on P o v e r t y Issues that the appellant d o e s not c h a l l e n g e s . 6 3 o n the b a s i s of either its i n a d e q u a c y or its i n c l u s i v e n e s s ; M s . S y m e s c h a l l e n g e s the constitutionality of s. 63 only to the extent that it affects the court's interpretation a n d application of other provisions of the Act governing b u s i n e s s d e d u c t i o n s . M y c o l l e a g u e refers to family status a s a p o s s i b l e alternative a p p r o a c h , a s well a s to the fact that single mothers m a y provide a c l e a r e r e x a m p l e of hardship suffered a s a c o n s e q u e n c e of child c a r e than d o e s M s . S y m e s . T h i s m a y well be true, but this is no r e a s o n w h y the appellant's rights, under the Act or under s. 15 of the Charter, s h o u l d not be protected. Discrimination cannot be justified by pointing to other discrimination. This is not the standard to w h i c h Mr. A n d r e w s w a s held in Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia, supra. In Andrews, the C o u r t did not look at the respondent a n d justify the infringement of his rights u n d e r s. 15 on the b a s i s that, in all other a s p e c t s of his life, a s a white m a l e lawyer of British d e s c e n t , s u c h discrimination o n the b a s i s of citizenship w a s a c c e p t a b l e , s i n c e he w a s likely better off than most other p e r s o n s in the d i s a d v a n t a g e d group of n o n - C a n a d i a n citizens. Neither c a n this be the standard to w h i c h M s . S y m e s is to be held. T h i s is not a c a s e about the a d v a n t a g e o u s position in society s o m e w o m e n g a r n e r a s o p p o s e d to other w o m e n , but, rather, a n examination of the a d v a n t a g e d position that b u s i n e s s m e n hold in relation to b u s i n e s s w o m e n . If e a c h claim under s. 15 of the Charter required that all the p r o b l e m s of discrimination with respect to a particular group be r e m e d i e d a s a result of o n e investigation, /Andrews w o u l d probably not yet h a v e b e e n d e c i d e d . T h e fact that M s . S y m e s m a y b e a m e m b e r of a m o r e privileged e c o n o m i c c l a s s d o e s not by itself invalidate her claim under s. 15 of the Charter. S h e is not to be held r e s p o n s i b l e for all p o s s i b l e discriminations in the i n c o m e tax s y s t e m , nor for the fact that other w o m e n m a y suffer d i s a d v a n t a g e s in the m a r k e t p l a c e arising from child c a r e . A s the appellant a r g u e s , w e cannot "hold every w o m a n to the position of the most d i s a d v a n t a g e d w o m e n , apparently in the n a m e of s e x e q u a l i t y . " 75  This a p p r o a c h is mirrored in the s u b s e q u e n t d e c i s i o n of M c L a c h l i n J . in discussed above: 121  Thibaudeau,  [Section] 15(1) us d e s i g n e d to protect individuals from u n e q u a l treatment. Its o p e n i n g w o r d s state: ' E v e r y individual is e q u a l before a n d u n d e r the law a n d h a s the right to the e q u a l protection a n d benefit of the law' ( e m p h a s i s a d d e d ) . W h e r e unequal treatment of o n e individual a s c o m p a r e d with a n o t h e r is e s t a b l i s h e d , it is no a n s w e r to the inequality to s a y that a s o c i a l unit of w h i c h the individual is a m e m b e r h a s , v i e w e d globally, b e e n fairly treated. 76  In this w a y , both L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e a n d M c L a c h l i n J J . throw the b a b y out with the bathwater. I w o u l d a g r e e with L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . that S y m e s s h o u l d not be 'held responsible' for the broader s y s t e m i c inequalities of providing child-care s u b s i d i e s through a r e g r e s s i v e tax s y s t e m . H o w e v e r , I would not a g r e e that a s a Charter  claimant  s h e should be able to d e m a n d that the Court b a s e its understanding of what 'sex' o p p r e s s i o n is exclusively  from her perspective, that of a relatively privileged w o m a n .  Her a p p r o a c h effectively reinforces a kind of 'additive' a n a l y s i s that at best c a n only d e a l with conflicts b e t w e e n s u b - g r o u p s of w o m e n , but c a n n e v e r c o m p r e h e n d the intersectional identities a n d c o m m u n i t i e s of interests s h a r e d by all w o m e n , including t h o s e w h o are relatively privileged. A s Gotell put it: H e r e w e c a n o b s e r v e the construction of ' s e x i s m ' a s a first order category, while 'other' forms of 'discrimination' a r e p r e s e n t e d a s distinct a n d are relegated to qualifiers.  P a r a d o x i c a l l y , while the d i s c o u r s e of 'double d i s a d v a n t a g e ' purports to e m p h a s i z e relevant 'differences' a m o n g w o m e n , it functions to reinforce the notion that w e all s h a r e a n essential ' w o m a n h o o d ' . T h e e x p e r i e n c e of ' w o m a n h o o d ' that is affirmed is, not surprisingly, the e x p e r i e n c e of the white, m i d d l e - c l a s s , a b l e - b o d i e d , heterosexual w o m a n . T h i s is b e c a u s e , w h e n w e 'subtract' all 'additional' forms of 'discrimination' — r a c e , c l a s s , s e x u a l orientation, ability a n d s o on — it is s h e w h o r e m a i n s . 77  Ultimately, in Symes  neither L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e nor l a c o b u c c i J J . are a b l e , or perhaps  willing, to c o n s i d e r the c o n n e c t i o n s b e t w e e n the o p p r e s s i o n of w o m e n vis-a-vis childcare generally. T h r o u g h his categorical r e a s o n i n g , l a c o b u c c i limits himself to a 122  consideration of the 'facts' of a manufactured sub-group of w o m e n : 'married w o m e n w h o are e n t r e p r e n e u r s . '  78  W h i l e L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e — i n strong d e f e n c e of the right of  claimants to d e m a n d a myopic consideration of c o m p l e x i s s u e s — a d o p t s a line of r e a s o n i n g w h i c h s o u n d s more like a description of bush-survival tactics than a doctrine of equality: w h o e v e r m a k e s it to Court, gets the spoils. Ironically, both l a c o b u c c i a n d L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J J . a c k n o w l e d g e that equality might better be s e r v e d by a consideration of the broader, s y s t e m i c i s s u e s of the w a y s in w h i c h child-care responsibilities tend to o p p r e s s all w o m e n , l a c o b u c c i divides consideration of what he terms a n 'instrumental' perspective v e r s u s a b r o a d e r perspective in this way: Instead of f o c u s i n g upon the m a n n e r in w h i c h s . 6 3 of the Act o p e r a t e s a s a child c a r e s y s t e m , the present a p p e a l f o c u s e d only u p o n the propriety of a n instrumental result. T h i s Court w a s invited to u s e the Charter to rectify a d i s a d v a n t a g e allegedly suffered by b u s i n e s s w o m e n vis a vis b u s i n e s s m e n , a n d , in the p r o c e s s , this Court w a s invited to ignore the effect of allowing a complete deduction on the rest of the s y s t e m . At the s. 1 s t a g e of Charter a n a l y s i s , h o w e v e r , s u c h a n instrumental a p p r o a c h is inappropriate. In order to e x a m i n e properly the validity of legislative objectives in a c a s e s u c h a s the present o n e , it is important to c o n s i d e r both the operation of the Act a s a w h o l e , a n d the operation of other g o v e r n m e n t s y s t e m s relating to child c a r e .  In a similar f a s h i o n , I d o not believe that the tax deduction for child c a r e e x p e n s e s c o u l d b e properly e x a m i n e d by this C o u r t without consideration being given to the entire range of government r e s p o n s e s to family and child c a r e i s s u e s . If inequities are proved to exist within s. 6 3 , surely it must be relevant to c o n s i d e r the extent to w h i c h other government p r o g r a m s r e s p o n d to those inequities. I d o not, by a n y m e a n s , w i s h to s u g g e s t that a c o m p l e t e r e s p o n s e to child c a r e exists in C a n a d a , nor d o I s a y that courts n e e d only arrange the p i e c e s of a c o m p l i c a t e d child care p u z z l e . Instead, I simply w i s h to r e c o g n i z e that proper examination of a taxation r e s p o n s e to child c a r e e x p e n s e s requires o n e to contextualize the fiscal r e s p o n s e to the greatest d e g r e e p o s s i b l e , in order to determine w h e t h e r a n apparent inequality d i s c l o s e s a justifiable legislative objective of a m u c h broader k i n d . 79  123  A c c o r d i n g to this a p p r o a c h , a claimant must prove a n a d v e r s e effect related to the particular s u b - g r o u p of w h i c h s h e is a part. Stated c o n v e r s e l y , a w o m a n cannot rely u p o n a m o r e g e n e r a l 'social b u r d e n ' (or c o m m o n interest with all w o m e n ) a s proof of discrimination in the section 15 s t a g e of the a n a l y s i s . H o w e v e r , the g o v e r n m e n t c a n utilize the full range of s y s t e m i c a n d social benefits to justify a n y infringement. F o r her part, after e n g a g i n g in a relatively n u a n c e d review of the larger i s s u e s a s s o c i a t e d with child c a r e and w o m e n ' s o p p r e s s i o n generally, L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . simply d i s m i s s e s this 'larger i s s u e of child c a r e a s it a p p l i e s to all parents, particularly w o m e n [as] a matter to be left for another d a y . '  80  T h e 'first c o m e , first s e r v e d ' a p p r o a c h  to Charter equality doctrine is a l s o problematic for r e a s o n s related to the final obstacle that I will d i s c u s s preventing the Charter from being u s e d to a d d r e s s the e x p e r i e n c e s of intersectional discrimination a n d o p p r e s s i o n . In his book Just Words, referred to earlier, J o e l B a k a n trenchantly points out a shortcoming of m a n y other Charter  analysts:  M y c o n c e r n is with the t e n d e n c y in their a n a l y s e s , w h e t h e r in f a v o u r of the C h a r t e r or against it, to p a y insufficient attention to the constraining influences of e c o n o m i c , s o c i a l , a n d political conditions o n the operation a n d effects of the Charter. That is what I try a n d a v o i d here. I argue throughout this book that the Charter, a n d particularly its failure to a d v a n c e s o c i a l justice, must be explained in relation to the specific conditions in w h i c h it o p e r a t e s . A l l political institutions, including the C h a r t e r a n d rights, are n e c e s s a r i l y constrained in their operation by the wider s o c i a l s y s t e m that they are established to g o v e r n . That is w h y it is n e c e s s a r y to be sceptical of both C h a r t e r optimism a n d p e s s i m i s m w h e n they are b a s e d o n allegedly e s s e n t i a l features of the C h a r t e r or rights. T h e e m a n c i p a t o r y a n d egalitarian potential of the C h a r t e r ultimately d e p e n d s o n the s o c i a l a n d historical c i r c u m s t a n c e s surrounding its u s e . . . ( E m p h a s i s a d d e d . R e f e r e n c e s omitted.) 81  T h e operational a s p e c t of Charter litigation, a n d all litigation-based m o d e l s of rights for that matter, w h i c h I w i s h to briefly d i s c u s s , is a c c e s s i b i l i t y / T h e r e are n u m e r o u s factors that influence a p e r s o n ' s , or group's, ability to a c c e s s litigation-based m o d e l s of  124  rights. F o r e x a m p l e , in the context of provincial h u m a n rights c l a i m s , Nitya D u c l o s c o m m e n t e d a s follows: T h e r e are at least four r e a s o n s that might explain the underrepresentation of racial minority w o m e n c o m p l a i n a n t s in h u m a n rights c a s e s . First, t h e s e w o m e n m a y simply lack a w a r e n e s s that they h a v e legal rights to be protected from discrimination a n d of the p r o c e d u r e s for remedying violations of t h o s e rights.  [...] a third r e a s o n w h y racial minority w o m e n in g e n e r a l m a y not assert h u m a n rights c l a i m s , is that t h e s e w o m e n m a y distrust the legal s y s t e m . T h e y m a y feel, with g o o d r e a s o n , that the law is not there to help t h e m or that is they m a k e a claim, it will backfire against t h e m .  Fourth, the complaints adjudication p r o c e s s m a y not r e s p o n d to the reality of t h e s e w o m e n ' s l i v e s . 82  In addition to t h e s e briefly outlined points, I w o u l d a d d that in the Charter  context  especially, cost m a y be a determinative factor. It is trite that litigation is a n e x p e n s i v e p r o c e s s a n d o n e that is b e y o n d the financial m e a n s of m a n y C a n a d i a n s . T h e implications of this fact should not, h o w e v e r be thought of a s a strictly ' c l a s s ' related i s s u e s i n c e '[p]overty a n d e c o n o m i c inequality a r e rooted in intersecting relations of class, gender and r a c e '  8 3  to n a m e just a few.  A l t h o u g h recognition of Charter e n s h r i n e d rights m a y not a l w a y s require litigation, it o n e of the primary m e t h o d s for both defining a n d enforcing t h o s e rights. T h e trouble with L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . ' s claimant f o c u s s e d a p p r o a c h is that S y m e s (and others w h o s h a r e her privilege) not only h a v e the ability to p u r s u e a section 15 c a s e all the w a y to the S u p r e m e C o u r t of C a n a d a to enforce their individual very m e a n i n g of equality in g e n e r a l .  125  rights, but a l s o to define the  T o review, in this section I h a v e attempted to identify a n d d i s c u s s the o b s t a c l e s currently preventing the courts from understanding  the Charter's  g u a r a n t e e of equality  in w a y s that a r e likely to r e m e d y the o p p r e s s i o n of p e o p l e w h o e x p e r i e n c e intersectional o p p r e s s i o n a n d discrimination. M y central point h a s b e e n that a primarily ground or g r o u p - b a s e d a p p r o a c h is a n oversimplification of p e o p l e ' s c o m p l e x lives a n d s o c i a l locations; it is o n e w h i c h generally only permits a o n e - s t e p d i v e r g e n c e from a central, a n d therefore u n c h a l l e n g e d , norm. E v e n w h e n J u s t i c e s , s u c h a s L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e a n d l a c o b u c c i J J . , reject a strictly g r o u n d s - b a s e d a p p r o a c h , they inevitably revert to a kind of m y o p i c categorical or g r o u p - b a s e d c o m p a r a t i v e model of equality. T h i s model incorrectly e l e v a t e s all of the interests of individual claimants within a group of people to the level of a singular a n d universally applicable group interest. Lastly, b e c a u s e of the c o s t s a n d other practical operational a s p e c t s of Charter  litigation, the Charter p r o c e s s  also t e n d s to e x c l u d e m a n y people w h o e x p e r i e n c e intersectional o p p r e s s i o n . All of t h e s e factors result in the perspective of those w h o are relatively privileged being disproportionately reflected in the C o u r t ' s understanding of equality. In the next section of this chapter I will continue to d e v e l o p t h e s e t h e m e s by f o c u s s i n g o n S u p r e m e Court of C a n a d a of d e c i s i o n s arising from c l a i m s of ' s e x u a l orientation' discrimination in particular. A n d w h e r e a s in the last section I f o c u s s e d on a d i s c u s s i o n of doctrine, in this section I will devote e q u a l attention to the substantive impact of 'positive' d e c i s i o n s , on 'people'—rather than only ' c l a i m a n t s ' — o f varied c i r c u m s t a n c e s . I will u s e t h e s e d e c i s i o n s a s a c a s e - s t u d y to d e m o n s t r a t e the w a y s in which the broader political a n d s o c i o - e c o n o m i c c i r c u m s t a n c e s operate to reinforce the doctrinal privileging of p e o p l e w h o w o u l d not e x p e r i e n c e s y s t e m i c o p p r e s s i o n 'but for' their ' s e x u a l orientation'. 126  ' S E X U A L ORIENTATION' V S . ' T H E LIVES OF G A Y S , LESBIANS, BISEXUALS AND TRANSGENDER PEOPLE'  After Mossop,  the Egan c a s e w a s the next c h a l l e n g e to a law b a s e d upon a claim of  ' s e x u a l orientation' discrimination to b e heard by the S u p r e m e C o u r t of C a n a d a . T h e claimant in Egan w a s a g a y m a n w h o s e s a m e - s e x conjugal partner of s e v e r a l d e c a d e s w i s h e d to c l a i m a n a l l o w a n c e 'which accord[ed] to s p o u s e s of p e n s i o n e r s u n d e r the [Old Age Security  Act] w h o s e i n c o m e falls below a stipulated amount, a n a l l o w a n c e w h e n  they reach the a g e of 6 0 , p a y a b l e until they t h e m s e l v e s b e c o m e p e n s i o n e r s at a g e 65.'  8 4  T h e subject of the c h a l l e n g e w a s the exclusively o p p o s i t e - s e x definition of  ' s p o u s e ' — w h i c h included eligible unmarried co-habitants—that prevented the benefit from being e x t e n d e d to Egan a n d his partner. T h e S u p r e m e Court of C a n a d a split right d o w n the middle, with S o p i n k a J . writing the swing d e c i s i o n . L a Forest J . (for L a m e r C . J . , G o n t h i e r a n d Major J J . ) found that b e c a u s e the distinction of ' s e x u a l orientation' w a s 'relevant' to the legitimate legislative objective of supporting elderly, o p p o s i t e - s e x c o u p l e s w h o formed the fundamental procreative unit of C a n a d i a n society, there w a s no violation of section 15. L ' H e u r e u x D u b e J . (for herself), M c L a c h l i n J . (for herself) a n d C o r y a n d l a c o b u c c i (for t h e m s e l v e s ) all found that there w a s a violation, a n d that it w a s not justifiable under section 1. S o p i n k a J . rounded off the majority of five J u s t i c e s w h o found a section 15 violation, but also found that this violation w a s justified pursuant to section 1. B e c a u s e S o p i n k a J . ' s finding in r e g a r d s to s e c t i o n 1 w a s a d o p t e d by the L a F o r e s t a n d the three with him, ultimately, the exclusively o p p o s i t e - s e x definition of s p o u s e w a s u p h e l d . In Egan, the d e c i s i o n authored by L a F o r e s t J . is the c l e a r e s t e x a m p l e of a categorical a p p r o a c h in w h i c h two judicially imagined g r o u p s — t h e central norm and the  127  group to w h i c h the claimant ' b e l o n g s ' — a r e c o m p a r e d against e a c h other in order to determine w h e t h e r or not discrimination exists. T h e first category, or group, posited by L a F o r e s t J . is a highly normative a n d ideological vision of the h e t e r o s e x u a l family. H e defines the objective of the Old Age Security  Act in reference to this group:  [..] its ultimate raison d'etre..AS firmly a n c h o r e d in the biological a n d s o c i a l realities that heterosexual c o u p l e s h a v e the unique ability to procreate, that most children are the product of t h e s e relationships, a n d that they are generally c a r e d for a n d nurtured by t h o s e w h o live in that relationship. In this s e n s e , marriage is by nature h e t e r o s e x u a l . It w o u l d be p o s s i b l e to legally define marriage to include h o m o s e x u a l c o u p l e s , but this would not c h a n g e the biological and social realities that underlie traditional marriage. 85  N o e v i d e n c e is cited in support of his 'factual' c o n c l u s i o n s . In this w a y , L a F o r e s t J . centres a normative v e r s i o n of family w h i c h , by definition, resists c h a l l e n g e from t h o s e with non-heteronormative sexualities. A s D i a n n e Pothier o b s e r v e s : [The c o n c l u s i o n s ] of L a F o r e s t w e r e prefaced by the following introduction: "Suffice it to s a y that marriage h a s from time i m m e m o r i a l b e e n firmly g r o u n d e d in our legal tradition, o n e that is itself a reflection of long standing p h i l o s o p h i c a l a n d religious traditions." T h e f u n d a m e n t a l difficulty with J u s t i c e L a F o r e s t ' s a n a l y s i s c a n be d e m o n s t r a t e d by the fact that the just quoted s e n t e n c e still rings true w h e n only o n e w o r d , "marriage," is c h a n g e d : "Suffice it to s a y the homophobia h a s from time immemorial b e e n firmly g r o u n d e d in out legal tradition, o n e that it itself a reflection of long standing philosophical a n d religious traditions." T h e juxtaposition is m e a n t to c o n v e y that the idea that traditional attitudes toward marriage h a v e b e e n highly relevant in fostering h o m o p h o b i a . In other w o r d s , the c o n c e p t of r e l e v a n c e is apt to reinforce the anti-egalitarian sentiments that s e c t i o n 15 w a s s u p p o s e d to c h a l l e n g e . 86  L a F o r e s t J . ' s a p p r o a c h vividly d e m o n s t r a t e s the w a y s in w h i c h a c a t e g o r i c a l a n d groupb a s e d a p p r o a c h to equality d i s c o u r s e is, at the very least, highly a m e n a b l e to the o b f u s c a t i o n , rather than elucidation, of o n e of the primary s o u r c e s of o p p r e s s i o n : the unequal distribution of the p o w e r to define g r o u p s , manufacture difference a n d n a m e c a t e g o r i e s . T h i s p o w e r is precisely what he e x e r c i s e s in his d i s m i s s a l of t h o s e n o n -  128  heteronormative families w h o d o , in fact, ' o c c a s i o n a l l y adopt or bring up children' a s 'exceptional a n d in no w a y [affecting] the general p i c t u r e . '  87  Unlike L a Forest J . , l a c o b u c c i a n d C o r y J J . attempt to avoid the centering of a normative model of family a s the ideological fulcrum upon w h i c h c o m p a r i s o n is b a s e d : In this c a s e , a great d e a l of time w a s spent demonstrating the nature of the w a y , c o m p a s s i o n a t e , caring relationship that very evidently existed b e t w e e n the appellants. In p a s s i n g , it is, I think, worth mentioning that this n e e d not be d o m e in every c a s e . It is not n e c e s s a r y that the e v i d e n c e d e m o n s t r a t e that a h o m o s e x u a l relationship b e a r s all the features of an ideal h e t e r o s e x u a l relationship for the relationship of m a n y h e t e r o s e x u a l c o u p l e s is s o m e t i m e s far from ideal. T h e relationships between h e t e r o s e x u a l s must vary a s infinitely a s of the personalities of the individuals i n v o l v e d . 88  T h e s e sentiments reflect earlier statements by L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . in Mossop  in which  s h e not only c h a l l e n g e d the traditional two-parent h e t e r o s e x u a l notion of 'family' a s i d e o l o g i c a l , but a l s o went on to specifically undermine the normative v a l u e 89  unthinkingly a s c r i b e d to it: T h e reality is, a s Didi H e r m a n writes in "Are W e F a m i l y ? : L e s b i a n Rights a n d W o m e n ' s Liberation" (1990), 28 Osgoode Hall L.J. 7 8 9 , at p. 8 0 2 , that families are "sites of contradiction". S o m e p e o p l e find family life o p p r e s s i v e , others s e e k supportive family relations but c a n n o t find them. W h i l e the family m a y provide emotionally satisfying e x p e r i e n c e s , It m a y also be the site of brutal, violent a n d terrifying e x p e r i e n c e s . H o w e v e r , despite the very real potential for o p p r e s s i o n within the family, most people continue to believe that the family a l s o h a s the potential to be the site of our most important h u m a n c o n n e c t i o n s , a n d that it is there intimate c o n n e c t i o n s that offer the greatest possibilities for individual fulfilment. 90  Unlike in Mossop,  in Egan L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . g o e s on to c h a l l e n g e another central  a s p e c t of the categorical reasoning e m p l o y e d by the Court in its equality/discrimination doctrine, that being the g r o u n d s - b a s e d a p p r o a c h . A l t h o u g h this c h a l l e n g e w a s not adopted by a n y of the other J u s t i c e s of the S u p r e m e Court of C a n a d a , b e c a u s e it relates to a central topic of this paper, I will quote it at length. S h e starts out by  129  reviewing prior statements m a d e by the S u p r e m e Court of C a n a d a about the e s s e n c e of discrimination: I believe that the e s s e n c e of "discrimination" w a s largely captured by M c l n t y r e J . , s p e a k i n g for the majority of the Court in this point, in Andrews, supra, at p. 1 7 1 : "It is c l e a r that the p u r p o s e of s.15 is to e n s u r e equality in the formulation a n d application of the law. T h e promotion of equality entails the promotion of a society in w h i c h all are s e c u r e in the k n o w l e d g e that they are r e c o g n i z e d at law a s h u m a n b e i n g s equally d e s e r v i n g of c o n c e r n , respect a n d consideration." Equality, a s that c o n c e p t is enshrined a s a fundamental h u m a n right within s. 15 of the Charter, m e a n s nothing if it d o e s not represent a commitment to recognizing e a c h p e r s o n ' s e q u a l worth a s a h u m a n b e i n g , regardless of individual differences. Equality m e a n s that our society cannot tolerate legislative distinctions that treat certain people a s s e c o n d - c l a s s citizens, that d e m e a n t h e m , that treat them a s l e s s c a p a b l e for no g o o d r e a s o n , or that otherwise offend fundamental h u m a n dignity. In a similar v e i n , I refer to the w o r d s of W i l s o n J . in McKinnev v. University of Guelph, [19901 3 S . C . R . 2 2 9 , at p. 3 8 7 (dissenting, but not o n this point): "It is, I think, now clearly established that what lies at the heart of s. 15(1) is the promise of equality in the s e n s e of f r e e d o m from the b u r d e n s of stereotype a n d prejudice in all their subtle a n d ugly manifestations. H o w e v e r , the nature of discrimination is s u c h that attitudes rather than laws o r rules m a y b e the s o u r c e of discrimination." 91  T o s u m m a r i z e , at the heart of s. 15 is the promotion of a society in which all are s e c u r e in the k n o w l e d g e that they are r e c o g n i z e d at law a s e q u a l h u m a n b e i n g s , equally c a p a b l e , a n d equally d e s e r v i n g . A p e r s o n or group of p e r s o n s h a s b e e n discriminated against within the m e a n i n g of s . 15 of the Charter w h e n m e m b e r s of that group h a v e b e e n m a d e to feel, by virtue of the impugned legislative distinction, that they are l e s s c a p a b l e , or l e s s worthy of recognition or value a s h u m a n b e i n g s or a s m e m b e r s of Canadian society, equally d e s e r v i n g of c o n c e r n , respect, and c o n s i d e r a t i o n . T h e s e are the c o r e e l e m e n t s of a definition of "discrimination" -- a definition that f o c u s e s on impact (i.e. discriminatory effect) rather than on constituent e l e m e n t s (i.e. the g r o u n d s of the distinction). 92  130  S h e then g o e s on to specifically c h a l l e n g e the efficacy of a g r o u n d s - b a s e d a p p r o a c h a s a tool for uncovering discrimination: [...] the current vehicle of c h o i c e for fulfilling the p u r p o s e s of s. 15, the "grounds" a p p r o a c h , is incapable of giving full effect to this p u r p o s e . T h i s a p p r o a c h inquires into w h e t h e r the characteristics of the ground are sufficient to constitute a b a s i s for discrimination, rather than into the a b s e n c e or p r e s e n c e of discriminatory effects t h e m s e l v e s . W e m u s t r e m e m b e r that the g r o u n d s in s. 15, e n u m e r a t e d a n d a n a l o g o u s , are instruments for finding discrimination. T h e y are a m e a n s to a n e n d . B y f o c u s i n g almost entirely on the nature, content a n d context of the disputed g r o u n d , however, w e have b e g u n to a p p r o a c h it a s a n e n d , in a n d of itself. S u c h a n a p p r o a c h , in effect, a p p r o a c h e s s. 15 not by giving primacy to the word "discrimination", but rather by giving primacy to the nine e n u m e r a t e d g r o u n d s . In e s s e n c e , it defines the preconditions to w h e n discrimination will be present exclusively by reference to qualities s e e n generally to reside in those g r o u n d s . 93  At this juncture, a n important question must be a s k e d . If the p u r p o s e of s. 15 is really to provide a broad g u a r a n t e e of protection against discrimination in all its forms, then w h y d o e s it matter if the b a s i s for distinction is abstractly " a n a l o g o u s " to the e n u m e r a t e d c a t e g o r i e s ? T h e a n s w e r , I think, is that it d o e s not matter. A s this C o u r t h a s frequently a c k n o w l e d g e d , the e s s e n c e of discrimination is its impact, not its intention. T h e e n u m e r a t e d or a n a l o g o u s nature of a given ground s h o u l d not be a n e c e s s a r y precondition to a finding of discrimination. If anything, a finding of discrimination is a precondition to the recognition of a n a n a l o g o u s g r o u n d . T h e effect of the "enumerated of a n a l o g o u s g r o u n d s " a p p r o a c h m a y be to narrow the ambit of s. 15, a n d to e n c o u r a g e too m u c h a n a l y s i s at the w r o n g level. W e will n e v e r a d d r e s s the problem of discrimination completely, or ferret it out in all its forms, if w e continues to f o c u s on abstract categories a n d generalizations rather than o n specific effects. B y looking at the grounds for the distinction instead of at the impact of the distinction on particular g r o u p s , w e risk undertaking a n a n a l y s i s that is d i s t a n c e d a n d d e s e n s i t i z e d from real p e o p l e ' s real e x p e r i e n c e s . T o m a k e matters w o r s e , in defining the appropriate categories upon which findings of discrimination m a y be b a s e d , w e risk relying o n c o n v e n t i o n s a n d s t e r e o t y p e s about individuals within t h e s e categories that, t h e m s e l v e s , further entrench a discriminatory status quo. M o r e often than not, d i s a d v a n t a g e a r i s e s from the w a y in w h i c h society treats particular individuals, rather than from any characteristic inherent in those individuals. 131  F o r all of t h e s e r e a s o n s , I a m led inevitably to the c o n c l u s i o n that a truly p u r p o s i v e a p p r o a c h to s. 15 must p l a c e "discrimination" first a n d foremost in the C o u r t ' s a n a l y s i s . T h i s is not to s a y that the e s s e n t i a l characteristics of the nine e n u m e r a t e d g r o u n d s are irrelevant to our inquiry. T h e y are, in fact, highly relevant. I turn now to a d i s c u s s i o n of their important role in a n a p p r o a c h that looks to groups rather than g r o u n d s , a n d discriminatory impact rather than discriminatory p o t e n t i a l . 94  Finally, L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . p r o p o s e s a n alternative p r o c e s s for determining whether or not discrimination is evident in a particular situation: In my view, for a n individual to m a k e out a violation of their rights under s. 15(1) of the Charter, he or s h e must d e m o n s t r a t e the following three things: 1. that 2. that o n the and, 3. that  there is a legislative distinction; this distinction results in a denial of o n e of the four equality rights b a s i s of the rights claimant's m e m b e r s h i p in a n identifiable group; this distinction is "discriminatory" within the m e a n i n g of s. 15.  T h e following remarks are devoted to elaborating upon the last criterion. A distinction is discriminatory within the m e a n i n g of s. 15 w h e r e it is c a p a b l e of either promoting or perpetuating the view that the individual a d v e r s e l y affected by this distinction is l e s s c a p a b l e , o r l e s s worthy of recognition or v a l u e a s a h u m a n being or a s a m e m b e r of C a n a d i a n society, equally d e s e r v i n g of c o n c e r n , respect, a n d c o n s i d e r a t i o n . This examination should be undertaken from a subjective-objective perspective i.e. from the point of view of the r e a s o n a b l e p e r s o n , d i s p a s s i o n a t e a n d fully a p p r i s e d of the c i r c u m s t a n c e s , p o s s e s s e d of similar attributes to, a n d under similar c i r c u m s t a n c e s a s , the group of w h i c h the rights claimant is a member. T h e m e a n s by w h i c h courts m a y give principles e x p r e s s i o n to this notion is p e r h a p s best illustrated by a simple analogy. If a projectile w e r e thrown against a soft surface, then it w o u l d l e a v e a larger s c a r than if it w e r e thrown against a resilient surface. In fact, the depth of the s c a r inflicted will generally be a function of both the nature of the affected surface and the nature of the projectile u s e d . In my view, a s s e s s i n g discriminatory impact is, in principle, no different. In order for a court to determine from a subjective-objective perspective w h e t h e r the i m p u g n e d distinction will l e a v e a non-trivial discriminatory "scar" in the group affected, it is instructive to c o n s i d e r two categories of factors: (1) the nature of the group a d v e r s e l y affected by the distinction a n d (2) the nature of the interest 132  a d v e r s e l y affected by the distinction. In my view, neither is completely meaningful without the o t h e r . 95  B y a b a n d o n i n g a strictly g r o u n d s - b a s e d a p p r o a c h , L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . o p e n s the d o o r m u c h m o r e widely for the consideration of intersectional o p p r e s s i o n . B y minimizing the n e e d for a claimant to s q u e e z e him or herself into o n e or more  pre-defined  c a t e g o r i e s , her a p p r o a c h reflects the reality that p e o p l e d o not start out in s e p a r a t e categories, w h i c h c a n only then be (re)incorporated by s o m e convoluted s y s t e m of o v e r l a p p i n g g r o u n d s (as w a s p r o p o s e d by L a m e r C . J . in Mossop).  Rather, L'Heureux-  D u b e J . t a k e s a n a p p r o a c h reflecting the fact that p e o p l e d o not fit into watertight c o m p a r t m e n t s in the first p l a c e : T o e x p a n d briefly upon the e x a m p l e of d o m e s t i c w o r k e r s , under traditional a d v e r s e effects doctrine, what p e r c e n t a g e of the group w o u l d have to h a v e b e e n w o m e n in o r d e r to s u c c e e d in a s e x - b a s e d discrimination c l a i m ? Fifty p e r c e n t ? Ninety percent? A s this C o u r t found in S y m e s v. C a n a d a [1993] 4 S . C . R . 6 9 5 , it is difficult to draw a principled distinction a l o n g s u c h lines. I believe that it is both e a s i e r a n d more intellectually h o n e s t to e x a m i n e the effect of the distinction o n the g r o u p affected. In this c a s e , that group would be d o m e s t i c w o r k e r s , a n d the only d e c i s i o n is: d o e s the distinction discriminate against d o m e s t i c w o r k e r s . A s I noted in Canada (Attorney General) v. M o s s o p , [19931 1 S . C . R . 5 5 4 at p. 6 4 5 , categories of discrimination cannot be r e d u c e d to watertight c o m p a r t m e n t s , but rather will often overlap in significant m e a s u r e . W h e n a s s e s s i n g the s o c i a l context of the i m p u g n e d distinction, it is therefore of r e l e v a n c e that a significant majority of d o m e s t i c w o r k e r s a r e immigrant w o m e n , a subgroup that has historically b e e n both exploited a n d marginalized in our society. A w a r e n e s s of, a n d sensitivity to, the realities of t h o s e e x p e r i e n c i n g the distinction is a n important task that j u d g e s must u n d e r t a k e w h e n evaluating the impact of the distinction of m e m b e r s of the affected group. Discrimination cannot be fully a p p r e c i a t e d or a d d r e s s e d u n l e s s courts' a n a l y s i s f o c u s e s directly o n the i s s u e of w h e t h e r t h e s e w o r k e r s are victims of discrimination, rather than b e c o m i n g distracted by ancillary i s s u e s u c h a s "grounds", be they e n u m e r a t e d o r a n a l o g o u s . (Emphasis added) 96  H o w e v e r , a s this excerpt m a k e s clear, it is clear that the n e w p r o c e s s that s h e p r o p o s e s still e m p h a s i z e s the claimant's 133  m e m b e r s h i p within a particular group, w h i c h in turn is  b a s e d u p o n a particular, prioritized distinction.  M y point being, that no matter h o w  narrowly, o r broadly, the group is defined, it remains a form of categorical thinking. A s s u c h , it inherently h o m o g e n i z e s individuals, both inside a n d outside of the category. Diversity within that group c a n only be c o m p r e h e n d e d by the addition of subdistinctions, resulting in sub-groups. T h u s in the e x a m p l e a b o v e , d o m e s t i c workers only b e c a m e a group b e c a u s e they could be c o m p r e h e n d e d a s a sub-group of w o m e n w h o also f a c e d the added sub-distinction of immigration status. Therefore, L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . potentially reincorporates m a n y of the problems of 'additive a n a l y s i s ' d i s c u s s e d a b o v e : the perspective of relatively privileged w o m e n is inherently prioritized b e c a u s e without the addition of other o p p r e s s i o n s — r a c e , c l a s s , ability e t c . — y o u a r e left with a white, m i d d l e - c l a s s able-bodied w o m e n . F o r e x a m p l e , u n d e r L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . ' s revised p r o c e s s , S y m e s could still b e understood a s facing a (purely) s e x - b a s e d distinction in relation to b u s i n e s s m e n . B e c a u s e s h e d o e s not personify a n y additional  s u b - d i s t i n c t i o n s — s u c h a s being n o n -  white, not middle c l a s s or d i s a b l e d — s h e could still d e m a n d that the Court ignore t h e s e perspectives despite the fact that the vast majority of w o m e n a r e not relatively privileged self-employed w o m e n . T o p a r a p h r a s e L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . ' s e x a m p l e o f ' d o m e s t i c workers' in Egan quoted a b o v e : 'In this c a s e , that group would be self-employed w o m e n , a n d the only d e c i s i o n is: d o e s the distinction discriminate against self-employed women.'  9 7  Ironically, by d e - e m p h a s i z i n g the g r o u n d s of discrimination, L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e  J . in o n e very significant w a y furthers the ability of c l a i m a n t s — m a n y of w h o m will likely be relatively privileged given the costs of litigation—to d e m a n d that the Court c o n s i d e r their group's perspective, to the exclusion of all others w h o m a y f a c e 'other discrimination.' 134  98  Returning to the d e c i s i o n s of L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . a n d C o r y a n d l a c o b u c c i J J . in Egan, both d e c i s i o n s construct a category of ' s e x u a l orientation' that is relatively c l a s s privileged. F o r e x a m p l e , L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . s a y s this: W e c a n further inform our understanding of the p u r p o s e of s. 15 by recognizing what it is not. T h e Charter is a d o c u m e n t of civil, political a n d legal rights. It is not a charter of e c o n o m i c rights. T h i s is not to s a y , h o w e v e r , that e c o n o m i c prejudices or benefits are irrelevant to determinations under s. 15 of the Charter. Quite the contrary. Economic benefits or prejudices are relevant to s. 15, but are more accurately regarded as symptomatic of the types of distinctions that are at the heart ofs. 15: those that offend inherent human dignity." ( E m p h a s i s added.) I take this to be a n a c k n o w l e d g e m e n t of the s y s t e m i c manifestation of poverty in groups s u c h a s w o m e n , p e o p l e of c o l o u r a n d the d i s a b l e d . Y e t , L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . limits her a w a r e n e s s of this a s p e c t of discrimination to the hypothetical. T h u s , in Symes,  for  e x a m p l e , s h e did not c o n s i d e r the feminization of poverty a s it w o u l d interact with the r e g r e s s i v e taxation benefit to w h i c h S y m e s c l a i m e d right. N o r did s h e c o n s i d e r that p e r h a p s it would be w o m e n or colour and d i s a b l e d w o m e n w h o might disproportionately be unable to a c c e s s this benefit, and w o u l d a s a c o n s e q u e n c e , e n d up funding the child-care of w o m e n relatively more privileged than t h e m s e l v e s . T h i s flawed r e a s o n i n g is, in my opinion, repeated in Egan. E g a n a n d his partner have obviously d e c i d e d that they c a n afford to be r e c o g n i z e d a s a s p o u s a l unit, e v e n though it m a y result in a d e c r e a s e of their c o m b i n e d i n c o m e . A s s u c h , they are in a position to benefit from the cultural p u r c h a s e that c o m e s with being r e c o g n i z e d a s a s a m e - s e x c o u p l e . T h e Court, c o n s e q u e n t l y , is a b l e to adopt the p e r s p e c t i v e of the claimants, while minimizing t h o s e of others: To s u m m a r i z e , tangible e c o n o m i c c o n s e q u e n c e s are but manifestation of the more intangible a n d invidious h a r m s flowing discrimination, w h i c h the Charter s e e k s to root o u t . . . 100  135  one from  It s h o u l d be noted, finally, that neither s. 1 nor s. 15 calls for a b a l a n c e s h e e t a p p r o a c h to discrimination (i.e. s u m m i n g up all direct a n d incidental e c o n o m i c benefits to a particular distinction a n d c o m p a r i n g t h e m against the s u m of the e c o n o m i c prejudices, in order to s e e if there is a net e c o n o m i c prejudice). S u c h an a p p r o a c h to discrimination l o s e s the forest for the t r e e s . . . 101  F o r the r e a s o n s he sets out, I a g r e e with C o r y J . that it is c l e a r that h o m o s e x u a l c o u p l e s are d e n i e d the e q u a l benefit of the law in the b a s i s of the legislative distinction in s. 2 of the Old Age Security Act, w h i c h defines c o u p l e s a s relationships of "opposite-sex". That E g a n a n d Nesbit are able to c l a i m higher benefits a s s e p a r a t e individuals d o e s not alter the fact that they h a v e b e e n d e n i e d the benefits, both tangible a n d intangible, of filing for old a g e benefits a s a c o u p l e . It would take too narrow a view of the p h r a s e "benefit of the law" to define it strictly in terms of e c o n o m i c interests. Official state recognition of the legitimacy and acceptance in society of a particular type of status or relationship may be of greater value and importance to those affected than any pecuniary gain flowing from that recognition.™ (Emphasis added) 2  T h e n a g a i n , it may not be of greater importance. Indeed, the two m a y be inversely related. T h e error with this reasoning is that it a s s u m e s that there is o n e particular type or status of s a m e - s e x relationship. F o r e x a m p l e , the cultural p u r c h a s e that m a y a c c r u e to E g a n a n d his partner Nesbit by virtue of the recognition of their relationship m a y h a v e a n i n v e r s e result for a p e r s o n in a s a m e - s e x c o u p l e w h o is collecting s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e . In the current socio-political climate, the cultural labels w h i c h are likely to attach to this 'type' of relationship, o n c e ' r e c o g n i z e d ' (or more accurately 'discovered') are more likely to be ' d e a d b e a t ' a n d 'fraud'. Therefore, it might a l s o be important to a s k how m a n y s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s will, for the first time, feel c o m p e l l e d to g o b a c k into the closet about their relationship—to prevent a n y public recognition of it, to hide from the prying e y e s of their s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e w o r k e r s — a s a result of the e x p a n s i o n of the definition of ' s p o u s e ' . T h e privileging of a c l a s s l e s s perspective is e v e n more patent in the d e c i s i o n of C o r y a n d l a c o b u c c i J J w h o write: 136  T h e appellants are not alleging that the discrimination is unique or particular to their p e r s o n a l situation but, rather, that the A c t discriminates against all h o m o s e x u a l c o m m o n law c o u p l e s w h o a r e living in a state w h i c h is c o m p a r a b l e to heterosexual c o m m o n law c o u p l e s . It follows that the appellants must demonstrate that h o m o s e x u a l c o u p l e s in g e n e r a l are d e n i e d e q u a l benefit of the law, not that they t h e m s e l v e s are suffering a particular or unique denial of a benefit. T h e p r e c i s e mathematical calculation of benefits w h i c h could be paid to c o u p l e s either a s individuals or a s a c o u p l e is of little a s s i s t a n c e a s it will inevitably vary from c a s e to c a s e d e p e n d i n g upon the particular e c o n o m i c c i r c u m s t a n c e s of e a c h c o u p l e a n d e a c h m e m b e r of that c o u p l e . Rather, a reading of the legislation reveals that it d e n i e s the s p o u s a l a l l o w a n c e to all h o m o s e x u a l c o m m o n law c o u p l e s a n d thus, it is established that the A c t h a s denied e q u a l benefit of the l a w . 1 0 3  C o r y J . could h a v e simply a c k n o w l e d g e d that from the perspective of E g a n a n d Nesbit, a n d t h o s e in similar situations, the e c o n o m i c a d v a n t a g e of the closet is outweighed by the c o s t s of enforced invisibility. H o w e v e r , b e c a u s e of the p e r c e i v e d n e e d to c o n n e c t all burdens a n d privileges to o n e distinction—in this c a s e , ' s e x u a l orientation'—he explicitly a n d incorrectly h o m o g e n i z e s the e x p e r i e n c e s of all s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s . T h e potentially negative implications of this a p p r o a c h for p e o p l e w h o e x p e r i e n c e intersectional o p p r e s s i o n , with c l a s s a s p e c t s , m a y not be a s apparent in the context of Egan b e c a u s e that c a s e w a s , a n d largely remains f r a m e d a s o n e involving simply the extension of a benefit. H o w e v e r it is s p e c i o u s to c o n s i d e r the implications of the extension of s p o u s a l status to s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s in relation to only o n e benefit given the vast array of legal institutions a n d s y s t e m s o r g a n i z e d a r o u n d that status. M o s t importantly, contrary to the a s s u m p t i o n underlying the following statement of C o r y J . in Egan, the status of ' s p o u s a l unit' is not a l w a y s voluntarily c h o s e n : T o force h o m o s e x u a l c o m m o n law c o u p l e s to c l a i m federal a n d provincial support a s individuals b e c a u s e they would get m o r e m o n e y would be to imprison t h e m in their privileges. H e t e r o s e x u a l c o u p l e s might a l s o be better off financially if they c l a i m e d government s u b s i d i e s a s individuals rather than a s a c o u p l e . Y e t , cohabiting h e t e r o s e x u a l p e r s o n s have the right to m a k e a c h o i c e a s to w h e t h e r they w i s h to be publicly r e c o g n i z e d a s a c o m m o n law c o u p l e . H o m o s e x u a l c o u p l e s , on the other h a n d , are 137  d e n i e d the opportunity b e c a u s e of the definition of " s p o u s e " set out in the c h a l l e n g e d Act. T h e public recognition a n d acceptance of h o m o s e x u a l s a s a c o u p l e may be of t r e m e n d o u s importance to t h e m a n d to the society in w h i c h they live. T o d e n y h o m o s e x u a l c o u p l e s the right to m a k e that c h o i c e d e p r i v e s t h e m of the equal benefit of the l a w . ( E m p h a s i s added.) 1 0 4  A g a i n , a s a r g u e d a b o v e , the nature of the 'public recognition', a n d most certainly its ' a c c e p t a n c e ' will vary d e p e n d i n g upon 'other' factors w h i c h determine a p e r s o n ' s position within society. T h e combination of t h e s e factors, not to mention the type of s a m e - s e x relationship at i s s u e , m a y ultimately result in the c o m p o u n d i n g of certain a x e s of o p p r e s s i o n . T h e 'benefit' a s s u m e d by C o r y J . , a n d others, is therefore more accurately portrayed a s a c o m p l e x c a l c u l u s , w h i c h m a y h a v e multivalent results. A s I d i s c u s s e d in the last chapter, amidst this complexity there n e v e r t h e l e s s a p p e a r s to be discernible patterns reflecting w h o is more likely to benefit from the acquisition of the status of ' s p o u s a l unit' a n d w h o is not. C o n s i d e r the incorporation of s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s — b y d e s i g n a t i o n , not voluntary adoption—into the i n c o m e tax s y s t e m a s ' s p o u s a l ' units. J u s t a s the r e g r e s s i v e nature of the Income Tax Act would h a v e resulted in relatively privileged w o m e n having the c o s t s of their full-time n a n n i e s being s u p p l e m e n t e d by t h o s e relatively l e s s privileged (had S y m e s b e e n s u c c e s s f u l ) s o too the incorporation of s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s will result in t h o s e least a b l e to a b s o r b it, facing a higher tax b u r d e n . relatively p o o r will f a c e a n overall increase  1 0 5  W h i l e t h o s e c o u p l e s w h o are  in tax b u r d e n , s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s in which  o n e relatively wealthy s p o u s e , supports another w h o h a s a very low or no i n c o m e , will benefit from a d e c r e a s e d tax burden. C o n s e q u e n t l y , b e c a u s e of their relative wealth, 'gay m e n will, on a v e r a g e , benefit more than l e s b i a n s by being included a s s p o u s e s under the Act.' 1 :06  would a d d that people of colour a n d d i s a b l e d p e o p l e w o u l d a l s o  disproportionately b e a r a n additional tax burden for a n a l o g o u s r e a s o n s . 138  Indeed, C l a i r e Y o u n g h a s argued that in g e n e r a l , the incorporation of s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s into the i n c o m e tax s y s t e m a s s p o u s a l units will result in a net revenue i n c r e a s e for the g o v e r n m e n t of C a n a d a : Indeed there is o n e particularly compelling r e a s o n for the g o v e r n m e n t to c o n s i d e r redefining " s p o u s e " in the Act to include the partners of l e s b i a n s a n d g a y m e n . S u c h a c h a n g e w o u l d likely result in a significant revenue gain for R e v e n u e C a n a d a . W h e n the definition of s p o u s e w a s a m e n d e d in 1993 to include " c o m m o n law" s p o u s e s the Department of F i n a n c e estimated that the c h a n g e w o u l d result in i n c r e a s e d tax r e v e n u e s o v e r a 5 y e a r period of 9.85 billion. T h e bulk of the i n c r e a s e d revenue w a s attributable to the rules that require the c o m b i n i n g of s p o u s e s i n c o m e for the p u r p o s e of the refundable G S T tax credit a n d the refundable child tax benefit. T h i s resulted in the overall reduction in the v a l u e of the tax credits owing to t a x p a y e r s . 107  Ironically, in Rosenberg  v. Canada  (Attorney General) , 108  which was a successful  c h a l l e n g e to a particular o p p o s i t e - s e x definition of s p o u s e in the Income Tax Act, the g o v e r n m e n t of C a n a d a found t h e m s e l v e s using the Statistics C a n a d a 1990 S u r v e y of C o n s u m e r F i n a n c e s 'to demonstrate that l e s b i a n s a n d g a y s h a d m o r e to l o s e than to gain by winning the C h a r t e r c h a l l e n g e . . . . '  109  O n e of the important points w h i c h this  e x a m p l e highlights, is that ' a Charter victory for o n e litigant w h o c h a l l e n g e s the tax s y s t e m m a y reinforce the o p p r e s s i o n of others subject to the s a m e s y s t e m b e c a u s e of the inherent b i a s e s of the s y s t e m itself.'  110  A s I shall d i s c u s s shortly, in my opinion, the  Court h a s yet to d e v e l o p a s y s t e m i c a p p r o a c h to t h e s e kinds of conflicts of interests. G i v e n the multivalent implications of being r e c o g n i z e d a s a ' s p o u s e ' , it is very important to interrogate how much c h o i c e is involved in relation to 'acquisition' of s p o u s a l status. F o r e x a m p l e , in relation to the Income Tax Act C l a i r e Y o u n g h a s pointed out that: Unlike the granting of e m p l o y m e n t benefits, the Act is not about the e x e r c i s e of options. T h e i n c o m e tax return under the Act requires a n individual to state the n a m e of her s p o u s e a n d to certify that the information on the return is correct. T h e Act m a k e s it a n offence to m a k e a 139  false or d e c e p t i v e statement in a return. Therefore l e s b i a n s a n d g a y m e n will, if they a r e c o n s i d e r e d to b e s p o u s e s u n d e r the Act, h a v e to d e c l a r e the n a m e of their p a r t n e r . ' 111  In the context of public a s s i s t a n c e , mentioned a b o v e , the level of p e r s o n a l c h o i c e involved is arguably e v e n l e s s . F o r e x a m p l e in Ontario, a s of M a r c h 1, 2 0 0 0 applicants o r recipients of s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e w h o reside with a n y o n e other than certain r e l a t i v e s  112  'must provide the Director with information s o that the Director c a n determine if the c o resident m e e t s the definition of a spouse  or same-sex  partner'^  3  a n d c o n s e q u e n t l y part  of the s a m e 'benefit unit.' It is the total i n c o m e of the benefit unit that is u s e d to determine both eligibility for and the level of social a s s i s t a n c e to be paid to applicants. T h e extension of s p o u s a l status to s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s is, therefore, consistent with (as o p p o s e d to ' c a u s e d by') the trend to force a growing range of p e o p l e to rely upon another individual for support w h e n they c a n n o t fully provide for their o w n b a s i c n e e d s . T h e ability to choose to rely upon another individual for support, or to form a relationship of e c o n o m i c i n t e r d e p e n d e n c e is, in this current socio-political climate on the decline. T h i s is related to the continual c l a w back of 'public' s o c i a l benefits in favour of a more privatized model of support of those w h o cannot provide for their o w n and their d e p e n d a n t s b a s i c n e e d s without a s s i s t a n c e . Margot Y o u n g g a v e the following general overview of the socio-political climate: T h e first [noteworthy trend] is the c o u r s e of evolution of the C a n a d i a n welfare state, in particular, the current a s c e n d a n c e of neo-liberalism a s the orthodoxy of state restructuring. A d v o c a c y of restricted state involvement in social a n d e c o n o m i c s p h e r e s is paired with a n e n h a n c e d e m p h a s i s on individualism a n d the role of private structures - the market, c o m m u n i t y a n d family - in providing support s e r v i c e s a n d distribution of r e s o u r c e s previously delivered by the state. T h e result h a s b e e n g o v e r n m e n t retrenchment a n d the reduction of s o c i a l p r o g r a m funding at both the federal a n d the provincial l e v e l . 1 1 4  140  T h i s a s c e n d i n g ideology of the privatization of s o c i a l c o s t s is a l s o apparent in the d e c i s i o n of the S u p r e m e Court of C a n a d a in M M . H .  1 1 5  [hereinafter M. v. H.], w h i c h is  the last d e c i s i o n related to ' s e x u a l orientation' discrimination that I will d i s c u s s in detail in this p a p e r .  1 1 6  M. v. H. w a s a c h a l l e n g e to the exclusively o p p o s i t e - s e x definition of ' s p o u s e ' in the p o s t - b r e a k d o w n s p o u s a l support provisions of Ontario's family law. E s s e n t i a l l y , a lesbian c l a i m e d that t h e s e provisions discriminated against her on the b a s i s of ' s e x u a l orientation' insofar a s they d e n i e d her the right to apply for a n order for support against her former partner, simply b e c a u s e s h e w a s of the s a m e - s e x a s that partner. All but o n e m e m b e r of the S u p r e m e Court of C a n a d a — n a m e l y , G o n t h i e r J . — a g r e e d with the claimant. A l t h o u g h it w o u l d be incorrect to s u g g e s t that the majority's d e c i s i o n w a s b a s e d o n the fact that a n extension of the definition of ' s p o u s e ' in this context would s a v e the m o n e y for the g o v e r n m e n t , it w a s clearly a factor they c o n s i d e r e d . A s A n d r e e Lajoie, writing with two others, wryly o b s e r v e d : [...] this recognition of equality a n d the c o n s e q u e n t prohibition of discrimination against g a y s a n d l e s b i a n s have r e m a i n e d at the level of the abstract affirmation of principle or have implied little or no expenditure of public m o n e y : including s e x u a l orientation a s a prohibited ground of discrimination in Haig a n d Egan a n d reading it in in Vriend, or including s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s in the definition of s p o u s e s , but only for a l i m o n y p u r p o s e s in M. v. H. It has n e v e r entailed the application of that principle w h e n conflicting dominant v a l u e s would suffer in c o n s e q u e n c e : a formal c o n c e p t i o n of equality, c o u p l e d with respect for traditional family v a l u e s a n d d e f e r e n c e toward the legislator have kept the core-majority (Lamer, M a forest, S o p i n k a and Major) from recognizing g a y a n d lesbian families a n d c o u p l e s a n d granting t h e m s o c i a l benefits in Mossop a n d Egan, a position that only a new majority on the Court c o u l d o v e r p a s s in M. v. H. a n d then only after reiterating 21 times in as many paragraphs that it favored reducing public money expenditure a n d four times that it h a d no impact on the interests of heterosexual c o u p l e s a n d f a m i l i e s . . . ( E m p h a s i s added.) 117  141  In terms of c l a s s a n a l y s i s , the most obviously problematic a s p e c t of the privatization of the s o c i a l c o s t s of individuals in n e e d , is that not e v e r y o n e h a s a s p o u s e , former s p o u s e , or a n y p e r s o n for that matter, w h o is capable,  far l e s s willing, to provide for their  b a s i c n e e d s . M o r e o v e r , it is trite that given the history of a b u s e within ' s p o u s a l ' relationships, s o m e w o m e n in particular may, for very g o o d r e a s o n , not want to turn to another individual for support. A n d sadly, this risk of a b u s e , a n d more importantly, the ability to e s c a p e a b u s e is itself related to the financial m e a n s of the victim. In M. v. H. therefore, the court o n c e again adopts a p e r s p e c t i v e w h i c h , in s e v e r a l w a y s , tacitly prioritizes the perspective of those w h o are relatively class-privileged while c o n v e r s e l y ignoring the p e r s p e c t i v e s of those w h o are c l a s s - o p p r e s s e d . A n d unfortunately, given the s y s t e m i c a s p e c t s of C a n a d i a n poverty, t h o s e p e o p l e w h o are poor are a l s o likely to e x p e r i e n c e g e n d e r , race a n d o p p r e s s i o n related to disability, a m o n g others. H o w e v e r , in terms of the C o u r t ' s a p p r o a c h to the potential for 'intragroup' conflicts of interest, the most striking a s p e c t of the M. v. H. d e c i s i o n is, in my opinion, the following statement of from the j u d g e m e n t of C o r y a n d l a c o b u c c i J J . , writing for six others: I a c k n o w l e d g e that s o m e individuals in s a m e - s e x relationships, including H. herself, h a v e e x p r e s s e d reservations about being treated a s " s p o u s e s " within the family law s y s t e m ( s e e , e.g., O L R C Report on the Rights and Responsibilities of Cohabitants Under the Family Law Act, supra; B. C o s s m a n a n d B. R y d e r , Gay, Lesbian and Unmarried Heterosexual Couples and the Family Law Act: Accommodating a Diversity of Family Forms (1993), a R e s e a r c h P a p e r prepared for the O L R C , at pp. 135-39). H o w e v e r , t h e s e differences of opinion within the s a m e constitutionally relevant group d o not constitute a r e a s o n to defer to the c h o i c e s of the legislature. Indeed, a s noted by E G A L E , given that the m e m b e r s of equality-seeking groups are bound to differ to s o m e extent in their politics, beliefs a n d opinions, it is unlikely that a n y s. 15 c l a i m s w o u l d survive s. 1 scrutiny if unanimity with respect to the d e s i r e d r e m e d y w e r e required before discrimination could be r e d r e s s e d . 1 1 8  142  With all d u e respect, this statement succinctly captures the crudity of the S u p r e m e Court of C a n a d a ' s a p p r o a c h to the complexity of p e o p l e ' s identities a n d the p r o c e s s of constitutional litigation. T h i s a n a l y s i s ignores the reality that people w h o h a v e an a s p e c t of their identities in c o m m o n , d o not thereby s h a r e o n e c o m m o n identity. In M. v. H. the Court held firm in its reliance upon blunt categories of p e o p l e 'within the s a m e constitutionally relevant g r o u p . '  119  T h e Court did not e v e n attempt to deal with the reality  that the attribution of the rights a n d responsibilities  of ' s p o u s a l ' status to s a m e - s e x  c o u p l e s carries with it the potential to entrench 'other' o p p r e s s i v e c h a r g e s inherent to that status a n d the institutions which incorporate it. Instead, it d i s m i s s e d the s h a r e d interests of m a n y q u e e r w o m e n , people of colour, poor p e o p l e a n d p e o p l e w h o s e relationships are not patterned upon the ' s p o u s a l ' ideal, a s m e r e differences in 'politics, beliefs a n d o p i n i o n s . '  120  In my opinion, there is no e s c a p i n g the c o n c l u s i o n that this statement reinforces a n essentialist understanding o f ' s e x u a l orientation' discrimination, o n e w h i c h clearly prioritizes the perspective of those w h o would not e x p e r i e n c e o p p r e s s i o n but for being n o n - h e t e r o s e x u a l . N e v e r t h e l e s s , it is a l s o fair to c o n c l u d e that the majority in M. v. H. did not set out to privilege the perspective of t h o s e s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s w h o did not e x p e r i e n c e intersectional o p p r e s s i o n . T h i s holds true for m a n y of the other d e c i s i o n s that I h a v e critiqued in this paper. F u n d a m e n t a l l y , M. v. H. w a s f r a m e d a s the simple elimination of a distinction which prevented a group of p e o p l e — n a m e l y t h o s e in s a m e - s e x relationships—from being included in the category of ' s p o u s e ' . A s s u c h , it could not c o m p r e h e n d a c h a l l e n g e to the category itself. It w a s not really about the benefits of the category, the o p p r e s s i o n s that it m a y or m a y not reinforce, or e v e n , about the nature of t h o s e w h o would then be 143  included within that category. It w a s simply about whether the s a m e - s e x / o p p o s i t e s e x distinction  w a s discriminatory, no more, no l e s s . That the c a s e w a s framed in this  w a y is not surprising. A s C a r l Stychin has o b s e r v e d : F o r the white, able-bodied g a y m a n , essentialist a r g u m e n t s p o s s e s s t r e m e n d o u s power if they b e c o m e widely a c c e p t e d . If his s e x u a l orientation is c o n s i d e r e d "irrelevant" a n d a n "accident of birth", then the g a y m a n c a n take on the trappings of male g e n d e r p r i v i l e g e . 121  M o r e o v e r , it is not surprising that the Court d i s m i s s e d out of h a n d the v o i c e s of those w h o insisted that the Court look at a m u c h broader, much more c o m p l e x set of questions. A s K a t h l e e n J o n e s put it: [...] having an official voice is...a function of what kind of v o i c e the s y s t e m is willing to hear. T h o s e w h o s p e a k in 'different' v o i c e s — that is, different from what has b e e n normalized a s the v o i c e of authority — cannot b e c o m e the official s p o k e s p e o p l e . . . b e c a u s e their g r a m m a r a n d logic are discredited a s particularistic, vernacular, or idiomatic. Official v o i c e s s p e a k in the l a n g u a g e of universalized d i s c o u r s e a n d e n g a g e with the rational s p e e c h of rational political actors. Other v o i c e s ramble. O n e of the primary r e a s o n s , in my opinion, that the s y s t e m or p r o c e s s of  Charter  litigation s e e m s unable to hear the v o i c e s of t h o s e w h o e x p e r i e n c e intersectional o p p r e s s i o n is that invariably,  that kind of o p p r e s s i o n is fundamentally inter-connected  with c l a s s o p p r e s s i o n . A n d the complexity of c l a s s o p p r e s s i o n is in all likelihood, simply b e y o n d the reach of the Charter.  B a k a n s u m m a r i s e d the situation in this w a y :  T h i s e x c l u s i v e focus on the actions of two actors in relation to o n e another (whether individual/state, individual/private organization, or individual/individual) l e a v e s out the c o m p l i c a t e d a n d o n g o i n g p r o c e s s e s through w h i c h relations a m o n g multiple actors a n d actions c o m b i n e to construct p e o p l e ' s actual life conditions a n d s h a p e their c h o i c e s , c a p a c i t i e s , identities, a n d d e s i r e s . Equality rights c l a i m s are thus unable to get at the c a u s e s of inequality a n d other s o c i a l ills; they d e a l only with discrete s y m p t o m s , leaving underlying structures u n t o u c h e d . That is w h y , a s R u s s e l l (1994) o b s e r v e s , 'the C h a r t e r h a s d o n e little to alter power relations, redistribute wealth, or promote s o c i a l welfare within the C a n a d i a n version of welfare capitalism.'...  144  T o take o n e e x a m p l e , the e c o n o m i c d i m e n s i o n s of s o c i a l inequality, a n d poverty in particular, are b e y o n d the reach of the Charter, a n d this would be true e v e n w e r e its rights interpreted to i m p o s e positive obligations on both g o v e r n m e n t a l a n d private actors. Poverty a n d e c o n o m i c inequality are rooted in intersecting relations of c l a s s , g e n d e r a n d race, not in particular acts of g o v e r n m e n t or private actors... ( R e f e r e n c e s omitted.) 3  T o this point I h a v e identified m a n y of the o b s t a c l e s within S u p r e m e Court of C a n a d a jurisprudence about section 15 preventing the recognition a n d r e d r e s s of intersectional o p p r e s s i o n . In the c o n c l u s i o n to this chapter I will explore (as o p p o s e d to a n s w e r in any c o m p r e h e n s i v e s e n s e ) whether the s y s t e m of section 15 Charter litigation is able to hear those w h o e x p e r i e n c e intersectional o p p r e s s i o n ? Ultimately, I will a r g u e that although section 15 d o e s have s o m e potential to s e r v e the n e e d s of t h o s e w h o e x p e r i e n c e intersectional o p p r e s s i o n , this potential is s e v e r e l y limited by s e v e r a l core a s p e c t s of equality d i s c o u r s e itself. In s u m m a r y , in this section of this chapter I h a v e attempted to identify the w a y s in which the S u p r e m e Court of C a n a d a h a s reinforced essentialist m o d e l s in d e c i s i o n s about the validity of a n exclusively o p p o s i t e - s e x definition of ' s p o u s e ' . T h o s e m e m b e r s of the Court w h o did not find this distinction discriminatory clearly reinforced a model of 'family' that n o r m a l i z e s a heterosexist a n d illusory v e r s i o n of C a n a d i a n families. O n the other h a n d , those m e m b e r s of the Court w h o found the definition discriminatory, t e n d e d to reinforce a m o d e l of s a m e - s e x s p o u s e w h i c h w a s almost completely devoid of any consideration of the diversity of s a m e - s e x relationships a n d the p e o p l e in them. In s o doing, they tacitly a p p r o v e d a n a p p r o a c h to t h e s e types of c a s e s w h i c h prioritized the perspective of t h o s e w h o do not e x p e r i e n c e discrimination 'but for' their s e x u a l orientation.  145  CONCLUSION: THE POTENTIAL USES OF 'EQUALITY' VS. 'JUSTICE' TO REDRESS INTERSECTIONAL OPPRESSION  A s I h a v e tried to d e m o n s t r a t e throughout this chapter, there are significant o b s t a c l e s preventing p e o p l e w h o f a c e intersectional discrimination from being a b l e to effectively utilize section 15 of the Charter  to r e d r e s s the o p p r e s s i o n they f a c e . A l t h o u g h ,  equality d i s c o u r s e h a s b e e n applied to r e c o g n i z e that multiple grounds  Charter  of discrimination  m a y overlap in a given situation to m a k e a distinction discriminatory, the p e r s p e c t i v e s of t h o s e people  w h o e x p e r i e n c e intersectional  o p p r e s s i o n h a v e b e e n consistently  m a r g i n a l i z e d . T o illustrate the former type of application, c o n s i d e r the d e c i s i o n of the N o v a S c o t i a C o u r t of A p p e a l in the c a s e of Dartmouth/Halifax Housing  Authority  v. Sparks  124  [hereinafter 'Sparks'].  In Sparks  (County)  Regional  the C o u r t c o n s i d e r e d the  validity of statutory provisions w h i c h d e n i e d tenants of public h o u s i n g w h o had b e e n in p o s s e s s i o n for five y e a r s or more of 'security of tenor' in contrast to tenants of private residential rental units. A s a c o n s e q u e n c e , tenants in public h o u s i n g c o u l d b e evicted on shorter notice than tenants in private h o u s i n g . Early in its d e c i s i o n the C o u r t noted that the ' r e s p o n d e n t s admitted that w o m e n , b l a c k s a n d s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e recipients form a disproportionately large p e r c e n t a g e of tenants in public h o u s i n g a n d o n the waiting list for public h o u s i n g . '  1 2 5  B a s e d upon this,  the C o u r t found that: [...] the i m p u g n e d provisions amount to discrimination o n the b a s i s of r a c e , s e x a n d i n c o m e ; it is not n e c e s s a r y in this c a s e to s h o w a d v e r s e effect discrimination a s a r g u e d by the appellant. A n a d v e r s e impact a n a l y s i s h a s b e e n applied in c a s e s involving legislation w h i c h is neutral o n its f a c e . S e c t i o n s 10(8)(d) a n d 25(2) are not neutral; they explicitly d e n y benefits to a certain group of the population (public h o u s i n g tenants) while extending t h e m to others. T h e fact that the legislation d e s c r i b e s the group (public h o u s i n g tenants) by reference to a factor w h i c h is not a listed g r o u n d in s. 15(1) d o e s not avail the r e s p o n d e n t . . . a r g u e s that the legislation is not " b a s e d o n " s u c h characteristics... 146  T h e p h r a s e " b a s e d on g r o u n d s relating to p e r s o n a l characteristics" a s u s e d in the Andrews c a s e cannot be taken to m e a n that the personal characteristics must be explicit on the f a c e of the legislation, nor that the legislation must be manifestly directed at s u c h characteristics. S u c h an interpretation would fly in the f a c e of the e f f e c t s - b a s e d a p p r o a c h to the Charter, e s p o u s e d by the S u p r e m e Court of C a n a d a . 1 2 6  T h e Court then went on to find that the effects f o c u s s e d scrutiny required by section 15 d e m a n d e d that courts: [...] take a c c o u n t not merely of the m a n n e r in w h i c h the group is d e s c r i b e d in the legislation, in this c a s e a s "public housing tenants." In addition regard must be had to the characteristics s h a r e d by the p e r s o n s c o m p r i s i n g the g r o u p . 1 2 7  In s o r e a s o n i n g , the Court effectively m o v e d the f o c u s a w a y from the proper definition of "the" group of p e o p l e , to a n exploration of the c o m m u n i t y of interests s h a r e d by t h e s e g r o u p s . T h e r e f o r e , in this c a s e , the Court c o n c l u d e d that: A s a g e n e r a l proposition p e r s o n s w h o qualify for public h o u s i n g are the e c o n o m i c a l l y d i s a d v a n t a g e d a n d are s o d i s a d v a n t a g e d b e c a u s e of their a g e a n d correspondingly low i n c o m e s (seniors) or families with low i n c o m e s , a majority of w h o m are d i s a d v a n t a g e d b e c a u s e of they are single f e m a l e parents on s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e , m a n y of w h o m are black. T h e public housing tenants group a s a w h o l e is historically d i s a d v a n t a g e d a s a result of the c o m b i n e d effect of s e v e r a l personal characteristics listed in s. 15(1). A s a result, they are a group a n a l o g o u s to t h o s e p e r s o n s or g r o u p s specifically referred to by the characteristics set out in s. 15(1 )... 128  T h e recognition of communities of interests (or " s h a r e d characteristics") in Sparks, is a vitally important first step towards an effective treatment of intersectional o p p r e s s i o n . W h e t h e r the distinction d i s c u s s e d is a s s o c i a t e d with a n ' a d v e r s e impact' (the 'sex' related inequality identified in the Symes' dissent) or is patent in a legislative distinction (the ' o p p o s i t e - s e x / s a m e - s e x ' distinction in M. v. H.), the C o u r t tends to d i s m i s s what it h a s d e s c r i b e d a s conflicts within the ' s a m e constitutionally relevant group.' H o w e v e r , in my opinion the Sparks d e c i s i o n provides a g o o d foundation u p o n w h i c h the Court c a n  147  d e v e l o p an equality d i s c o u r s e which c a n c o p e with (rather than simply d i s m i s s ) the complexities of o p p r e s s i o n . T h e C o u r t h a s erected a n u m b e r of o b s t a c l e s that purport to e x c u s e it from having to deal with what it usually c h a r a c t e r i z e s a s a conflict within a group of p e o p l e : • • •  •  it e m p h a s i z e s the centrality of a single 'ground' of discrimination; this e m p h a s i s in turn results in the c o m p a r i s o n of two artificially h o m o g e n i z e d groups; the a d v e r s a r i a l litigation p r o c e s s e n c o u r a g e s relatively privileged claimants to d e m a n d that the Court c o n s i d e r their (pure) legal perspective to the e x c l u s i o n of the multi-faceted identities of real people; a n d finally, the complexity of the s y s t e m s under consideration, a n d the multivalent implications of C o u r t ordered r e m e d i e s , are both d i s m i s s e d a s outside of the C o u r t ' s limited role, and comprehension.  In c l a i m s for s i m p l e inclusion within legal s y s t e m s w h i c h contain a n d reinforce s y s t e m i c o p p r e s s i o n related to race, gender, ability a n d c l a s s , all of t h e s e factors c o m b i n e to result in r e m e d i e s which offer limited benefit, if any, for t h o s e w h o e x p e r i e n c e intersectional o p p r e s s i o n . It m a y be that the Court simply cannot d o a n y differently b e c a u s e of the inherent limitations of legal equality d i s c o u r s e . A s Nitya Iyer e x p l a i n s , the simplicity of the legal d i s c o u r s e of equality c o m e s at a price: T h e virtue of its categorical a p p r o a c h is that it allows s o m e p e o p l e to feel a s if C a n a d i a n society is b e c o m i n g more egalitarian by presenting oversimplified depictions of s o c i a l relations a s conflicts for j u d g e s to resolve. In this w a y , law a c h i e v e s legal equality while preserving s o c i a l inequality. R e a l c h a n g e requires us to e n g a g e directly, creatively, a n d politically in c o n c e p t i o n s of, a n d struggles for, s o c i a l j u s t i c e . 129  A n d a s R a d h a J h a p p a n e x p l a i n s , this p r o c e s s of oversimplification a n d c o m p a r i s o n in legal equality n e c e s s a r i l y results in e s s e n t i a l i z e d subjects a n d therefore, a n i n c o m p r e h e n s i o n of intersectional a n a l y s i s a n d c o m p l e x s o c i a l positions: S u c h e s s e n t i a l i s m m a y be u n a v o i d a b l e in constitutional terms: section 15 of the Charter, for e x a m p l e , is structured in s u c h a w a y a s to require claimants to identify t h e m s e l v e s by a characteristic that is implicitly 148  contrasted to that of the dominant " a d v a n t a g e d " group (such a s race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, s e x , a g e , or mental or p h y s i c a l disability). Equality m e a n s a l w a y s having to s a y w h o you are e q u a l to, a l w a y s c o m p a r i n g o n e group against another, almost invariably o n o n e axis, a n d , for this r e a s o n , it will not let claimants out of the similarly situated, likes alike, s a m e n e s s / d i f f e r e n c e traps, regardless of the n e w l a n g u a g e u s e d . S a m e n e s s / d i f f e r e n c e is a function of e s s e n t i a l i s m a n d v i c e v e r s a . 3 0  [...] the equality frame is simply too narrow to contain the c o m p l e x intersectional a n a l y s i s b e c a u s e it is by nature c o m p a r a t i v e (one group c o m p a r e d against another), essentialist, a n d , a s I shall argue presently, impossible. W h e n f a c e d with a conflict between t h o s e w h o e x p e r i e n c e discrimination related to o n e ground a n d w h o claim simple inclusion  (which is easily c a t e g o r i z e d a n d p r o c e s s e d by  section 15 equality d i s c o u r s e ) v e r s u s those w h o e x p e r i e n c e intersectional discrimination related to s y s t e m i c o p p r e s s i o n , the Court errs on the side of that w h i c h is easily translated into a legal a l g e b r a . N e v e r t h e l e s s , the S u p r e m e Court of C a n a d a s e e m s to h a v e b e g u n a dialogue about the appropriate p r o c e s s for dealing with conflicts of interests b e t w e e n a n d a m o n g historically d i s a d v a n t a g e d groups. In the d e c i s i o n of Corbiere Indian and Northern  Affairs)™  2  [hereinafter 'Corbiere'],  v. Canada  (Minister  of  the C o u r t c o n s i d e r e d whether a  law that d e n i e d m e m b e r s of Indian b a n d s w h o lived off-reserve  the right to vote in their  B a n d s ' elections constituted discrimination contrary to section 15 of the Charter. clear that s o m e m e m b e r s of Indian B a n d s , particularly t h o s e that lived  It w a s  on-reserve,  objected to the extension of voting rights to t h o s e w h o did not. A l t h o u g h two d e c i s i o n s w e r e written, the Court u n a n i m o u s l y held that the law w a s discriminatory a n d could not be justified by section 1 of the  Charter.  True to form, in the majority d e c i s i o n written by M c L a c h l i n a n d B a s t a r a c h e J J . and c o n c u r r e d with by three others the Court w a s only able to c o m p r e h e n d the conflict after  s q u e e z i n g the facts of the c a s e through a convoluted a n a l y s i s of ' " e m b e d d e d " a n a l o g o u s grounds': [...] w e note that the a n a l o g o u s ground of off-reserve status or Aboriginality-residence is limited to a s u b s e t of the C a n a d i a n population, while s. 15 is directed to e v e r y o n e . In our view, this is no impediment to its inclusion a s a n a n a l o g o u s ground under s. 15. Its d e m o g r a p h i c limitation is no different, for e x a m p l e , from p r e g n a n c y , w h i c h is a distinct, but fundamentally interrelated form of discrimination from gender. " E m b e d d e d " a n a l o g o u s g r o u n d s m a y be n e c e s s a r y to permit meaningful consideration of intra-group d i s c r i m i n a t i o n . 133  Like M c L a c h l i n a n d B a s t a r a c h e J J . , L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . writing for three others ultimately c o n c l u d e d that the a n a l o g o u s ground in this c a s e w a s 'off-reserve band member status.'  134  H o w e v e r , unlike M c L a c h l i n a n d B a s t a r a c h e J J . , s h e adopted a  slightly more flexible, a n d therefore, in my opinion, more sophisticated a p p r o a c h to the nature of section 15 'grounds': I s h o u l d note that if indicia of an a n a l o g o u s ground are not present in g e n e r a l , or a m o n g a certain group in C a n a d i a n society, they m a y n e v e r t h e l e s s be present in another s o c i a l or legislative context, within a different group in C a n a d i a n society, or in a given g e o g r a p h i c a r e a . . . T h e s e c o n d stage [of determining whether the treatment is related to a n a n a l o g o u s g r o u n d , a n d how it should be defined] must therefore be flexible e n o u g h to adapt to stereotyping, prejudice, or d e n i a l s of h u m a n dignity a n d worth that might o c c u r in specific w a y s for specific groups of p e o p l e , to r e c o g n i z e that personal characteristics m a y o v e r l a p or intersect (such a s r a c e , band m e m b e r s h i p , a n d place of r e s i d e n c e in this c a s e ) , a n d to reflect c h a n g i n g s o c i a l p h e n o m e n a or n e w or different forms of stereotyping or p r e j u d i c e . 135  T h e most problematic a s p e c t of the majority d e c i s i o n s t e m s from its reliance upon the c o m p a r i s o n of two relatively d i s a d v a n t a g e d g r o u p s . I would argue that the Court could h a v e p r o d u c e d a m o r e socially sensitive a n a l y s i s if it had f o c u s s e d more on a n a n a l y s i s of the w a y s that the interests of o n - a n d off-reserve natives not only diverge, but a l s o the w a y s in w h i c h they c o n v e r g e . S u c h an a n a l y s i s might look something like this: 150  T h e right of natives w h o live o n - r e s e r v e to vote in b a n d elections reflects their right to govern t h e m s e l v e s , at least to a d e g r e e . B y contrast, o n e of the primary w a y s the a u t o n o m y of native p e o p l e h a s b e e n thwarted in the p a s t w a s through policing of their r e s i d e n c e , whether o n - or off-reserve. T h e l a w in question in this c a s e , frustrates the dignity a n d a u t o n o m y of off-reserve natives in a m a n n e r that reflects the historically discriminatory treatment meted out to non-natives a s c o m p a r e d to non-native C a n a d i a n s . O n e of a d v a n t a g e s of this type of a n a l y s i s is that the differences a m o n g native people c a n be e m p l o y e d in a n effort to better appreciate, a n d hopefully c h a l l e n g e , the s y s t e m i c o p p r e s s i o n f a c e d generally by native people. Instead, the Court adopted a n a p p r o a c h in which the g e n e r a l o p p r e s s i o n b e c a m e s e c o n d a r y to a n a n a l y s i s of w h e t h e r those w h o lived off-reserve f a c e d discrimination  in relation to t h o s e w h o did not.  T h e majority of the Court essentially traced the s o u r c e of the discrimination to a s u b - g r o u p of aboriginal people, n a m e l y those w h o live o n - r e s e r v e : T h e c o n c l u s i o n that discrimination exists at the third s t a g e of the Law test does not depend on the composition of the off-reserve b a n d m e m b e r s group, its relative homogeneity or the particular historical discrimination it may have suffered. It is the present situation of the group relative to that of the comparator group, on-reserve band members, that is relevant...It is a c c e p t e d that off-reserve band m e m b e r s a r e the object of discrimination a n d constitute a n underprivileged group...[however e]ven if all band m e m b e r s living off-reserve h a d voluntarily c h o s e n this w a y of life a n d w e r e not subject to discrimination in the broader C a n a d i a n society, they would still h a v e the s a m e c a u s e of action. T h e y w o u l d still suffer a detriment by being d e n i e d full participation in the affairs of the b a n d s to w h i c h they w o u l d continue to belong while the band c o u n c i l s a r e a b l e to affect their i n t e r e s t s . . . ( E m p h a s i s added.) 136  A l t h o u g h there is clearly s o m e conflict of interest between the two g r o u p s , surely it is ludicrous to ultimately trace the s o u r c e of the o p p r e s s i o n to the relative a d v a n t a g e of a s u b - g r o u p of a larger group, both of w h i c h h a v e b e e n historically d i s a d v a n t a g e d . T h e r e f o r e , w h e n legislation impacts o n various g r o u p s , particularly is t h o s e g r o u p s a r e d i s a d v a n t a g e d , the subjective-objective perspective will take into a c c o u n t the particular e x p e r i e n c e s a n d n e e d s of all of t h o s e groups. 1 3 7  151  W h e n a n a l y s i n g a claim that involves possibly conflicting interests of minority g r o u p s , o n e must be e s p e c i a l l y sensitive to their realities a n d e x p e r i e n c e s , a n d to their v a l u e s , history, a n d identity. T h i s is inherent in the nature of a subjective-objective a n a l y s i s , s i n c e a court is required to c o n s i d e r the perspective of s o m e o n e p o s s e s s e d of similar characteristics to the claimant...  B e c a u s e of the groups involved, the Court must a l s o be attentive to the fact that there may be unique d i s a d v a n t a g e s or c i r c u m s t a n c e s facing o n reserve band m e m b e r s . H o w e v e r , no e v i d e n c e h a s b e e n p r e s e n t e d that would s u g g e s t that the legislation, in p u r p o s e or effect, ameliorates the position of band m e m b e r s living o n - r e s e r v e , a n d therefore I find it u n n e c e s s a r y to c o n s i d e r the third contextual factor outlined in L a w . 1 3 8  Unlike M c L a c h l i n a n d B a s t a r a c h e J J . , L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . arrives at the c o n c l u s i o n that the treatment is discriminatory through a vigorous incorporation of the historical a n d current context of aboriginal people within C a n a d i a n society, a n d the types of o p p r e s s i o n w h i c h they h a v e f a c e d : T h i s history s h o w s that Aboriginal policy, in the past, often led to the denial of status a n d the s e v e r i n g of c o n n e c t i o n s b e t w e e n b a n d m e m b e r s a n d the b a n d . It helps s h o w w h y the interest in feeling a n d maintaining a s e n s e of belonging to the band free from barriers i m p o s e d by Parliament is a n important o n e for all band m e m b e r s , a n d e s p e c i a l l y for t h o s e w h o constitute a significant portion of the group affected, w h o h a v e b e e n directly affected by t h e s e policies a n d are now living a w a y from r e s e r v e s , in part, b e c a u s e of t h e m . All t h e s e facts e m p h a s i z e the importance, for b a n d m e m b e r s living offreserve, of having their v o i c e s included w h e n b a n d l e a d e r s h i p is c h o s e n through a p r o c e s s of c o m m o n suffrage a s set out in the legislation. T h e y s h o w w h y the interest in s. 77(1) is a fundamental o n e , a n d w h y the denial of voting rights in this context h a s s e r i o u s c o n s e q u e n c e s from the perspective of t h o s e affected. T h e y s h o w w h y there is not only e c o n o m i c , but a l s o important societal significance to the interests affected by the differential treatment contained in s. 77(1): Law, supra, at p a r a . 7 4 . 1 3 9  Ultimately, h o w e v e r , L ' H e u r e u x - D u b e J . m i s s e s the point that 'competing interests' b e t w e e n groups c a n be indicative of a larger s y s t e m of o p p r e s s i o n : E v e n w h e n the interests of various d i s a d v a n t a g e d g r o u p s are affected, s. 15(1) m a n d a t e s that government d e c i s i o n s must be m a d e in a m a n n e r 152  that r e s p e c t s the dignity of all of t h e m , recognizing all a s equally c a p a b l e , d e s e r v i n g , a n d worthy of recognition. T h e fact that various minorities or vulnerable groups m a y h a v e c o m p e t i n g interests cannot a l o n e constitute a justification for treating a n y o n e of t h e m in a substantively unequal m a n n e r , not c a n it relieve the g o v e r n m e n t of its burden to justify a violation of a Charter right on a b a l a n c e of p r o b a b i l i t i e s . . . . 140  Therefore, I would argue that by f o c u s s i n g on d i s c u s s i o n s of s h a r e d a n d divergent c o m m u n i t i e s of interests, rather than the proper definition of s u b - g r o u p s , the Court will o p e n up a n important p r o c e s s for c o m i n g to terms with the c o m p l e x c a u s e s of oppression. W a s the C o u r t ' s d e c i s i o n in Symes w r o n g ? W o u l d the dissenting d e c i s i o n of the s o l e two w o m e n J u s t i c e s of the Court have b e e n more appropriate? W o u l d the interests of 'equality' b e e n s e r v e d if S o p i n k a J . had s w u n g the other w a y in Egan? S h o u l d ' M . ' h a v e b e e n d e n i e d the right to look to her former partner for support a n d recuperation of the e c o n o m i c contribution s h e m a d e through her time, effort a n d sacrifice of other opportunities? T h e s e questions, I think, are i m p o s s i b l e to a n s w e r . T h e y are impossible to a n s w e r u n l e s s a n d until m a n y other questions are a s k e d a n d a n s w e r e d . F o r e x a m p l e , would a positive d e c i s i o n in Symes h a v e resulted in the g o v e r n m e n t merely shifting a r o u n d a 'fixed' amount set for childcare from public facilities available b a s e d on financial n e e d to r e g r e s s i v e tax deductions only available to the s e l f - e m p l o y e d ? H o w m a n y s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s would be p u s h e d below the poverty line a s a result of being d e e m e d s p o u s e s ? H o w will s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e officers determine if s a m e - s e x c o residents should be d e e m e d to be cohabitants w h o h a v e a duty to support e a c h other? H o w m u c h will the f r e e d o m of those w h o prefer s a m e - s e x conjugal relationships to c h o o s e the form of their relationships be limited? W h a t is certain is that m a n y of those w h o e x p e r i e n c e intersectional o p p r e s s i o n , particularly w h e r e that o p p r e s s i o n is inter-connected with c l a s s , will not be able to 153  a c c e s s the benefits of section 15 until courts begin to c o n s i d e r n o n - e s s e n t i a l i z e d subjects. A s S u s a n B o y d h a s s a i d : [...]it s e e m s to m e that u n l e s s lesbian a n d g a y efforts to a c h i e v e s y m b o l i c recognition of their families are a c c o m p a n i e d by trenchant critiques of the limits of s u c h recognition in delivering a redistribution of e c o n o m i c wellbeing, they will remain incomplete a s political strategies, while they m a y s i m u l t a n e o u s l y be the only legal strategies available. 1  It is just s u c h a critique that I h a v e attempted to articulate in this paper. It m a y be that for those p e o p l e w h o e x p e r i e n c e intersectional o p p r e s s i o n j u s t i c e ' is a better d i s c o u r s e upon w h i c h to rely in their efforts to promote progressive  social  change. A s Jhappan  explains: Naturally, just a s the m e a n i n g of equality h a s b e e n disputed within, a n d outside, feminist m o v e m e n t s , s o too constructions of a "just society" will be c o n t e s t e d . N e v e r t h e l e s s , justice, in my view, is a c o n c e p t both citizens and courts w o u l d be better a b l e to c o p e with s i n c e it allows difference, r e l e a s e s us from essentialist a n d assimilationist imperatives, lends itself m u c h more to situational, rather than to abstract, a n a l y s i s , a n d a p p e a l s to a s e n s e of fairness a n d of treating people w e l l , a s worthy, a n d a s d e s e r v i n g of r e s p e c t . 142  In contrast to the essentialist a n d assimilationist logic of equality c l a i m s and provisions, the justice a p p r o a c h switches the f o c u s from the g e n d e r (or r a c e , c l a s s a n d s o on) identity of the claimant to the relationship in w h i c h they are o p p r e s s e d . J u s t i c e is more flexible, therefore, in forwarding intersecting c l a i m s a s it is u n e n c u m b e r e d by narrow c o m p a r i s o n s of a s c r i b e d identities. J u s t i c e c a n take a c c o u n t of the m a n y a n d intricate relations of domination in various a r e a s of e c o n o m y a n d s o c i e t y . . . . 143  Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Constitution Act, 1982, Part 1, enacted as Schedule B to the Canada Act, 1982, (U.K.) 1982, c. 11. Michael Mandel, The Charter of Rights and the Legalization of Politics in Canada (Toronto: 1  2  Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc., 1989) at 61. For example see: Judy Fudge, "The Public/Private Distinction: The Possibilities and Limits to the Use of Charter Litigation to Further Feminist Struggle" (1987) 25 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 485 & Judy Fudge and Harry Glasbeek, "The Politics of Rights: A Politics with Little Class" (1992) 1 Social and Legal Studies 45. 3  Just Words: Constitutional Rights and Social Wrongs (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997) [hereinafter cited as 'Just Words'] Just Words, supra note 4 at 9 - 11. 4  5  154  Audrey Macklin, "Symes v. M.N.R.: Where Sex Meets Class" (1992) 5 Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 498 - 517 [hereinafter cited as "Where Sex Meets Class"]. "Where Sex Meets Class," supra note 6 at 508 - 509. "Where Sex Meets Class," supra note 6 at 509. "Where Sex Meets Class," supra note 6 at 515. "Where Sex Meets Class," supra note 6 at 510. "Where Sex Meets Class," supra note 6 at 515. "Where Sex Meets Class," supra note 6 at 512. This point was not lost on lacobucci J . who, as will be discussed shortly, also found that section 63 was the pivotal point of analysis. "Where Sex Meets Class," supra note 6 at 516. "Where Sex Meets Class," supra note 6 at 510. As I will discuss shortly, in the case of Canada (Attorney General) v. Mossop [1993] 1 S.C.R. 554 [hereinafter cited as 'Mossop'] the majority of the Court unilaterally decided to consider the claim as one related to 'sexual orientation' to the exclusion of all other grounds despite the claimants invocation of the ground of 'family status.' Martha Minow, Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion and American Law (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990) [hereinafter cited as Making All the Difference] at 95. 17 Nitya Duclos, "Disappearing Women: Racial Minority Women in Human Rights Cases" (1993) 6 Canadian Journal of Women and Law 25 [hereinafter cited as "Disappearing Women"] at 50. Mossop, supra note 15 R.S.C., 1985, c. H-6 6  7  8 9  1 0  11  1 2  1 3 1 4  1 5  1 6  18  1 9  Mossop, supra note 15 per Lamer C.J. at page 580. Mossop, supra note 15 per Lamer C.J. at page 582. "Disappearing Women," supra note 17 at 33. Mary Eaton, "Patently Confused: Complex Inequality and Canada v. Mossop" (1994) 1:2 Rew'ew of Constitutional Studies 203 [hereinafter cited as "Patently Confused"] at 240 - 241. Ibid, at 244. Mossop, supra note 15 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 645. Mossop, supra note 15 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at pages 645 and 646. Mossop, supra note 15 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 646. 20 21  2 2  2 3  24  25  26  27  2 8  S e e in particular Egan v. Canada [1995] 2 S.C.R. discussed in S e c t i o n  II.  29 Mossop, supra note 15 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 646. 413 F. Supp. 142 (E.D. Mo. 1976) [hereinafter cited as DeGraffenried] Ibid, at 143. "Patently Confused," supra note 23 at 228. Ibid. Mossop, supra note 15 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 646. DeGraffenried, supra note 30 at 143. "Patently Confused," supra note 23 at 233. [1995] 2 S.C.R. 627 [hereinafter cited as 'Thibaudeau']. S e e for example the discussion of Dianne Pothier, "M'Aider, Mayday: Section 15 of the Charter in Distress" 6 National Journal of Constitutional Law 295 - 345 [hereinafter cited as "M'Aider, Mayday"] at 319. 3 0 31  3 2 33  34 35  3 6  3 7  3 8  39 40  4 1 42  43  4 6 47  4 8  49  Thibaudeau, supra Thibaudeau, supra "M'Aider, Mayday," Thibaudeau, Thibaudeau, supra supra Thibaudeau, Thibaudeau, supra supra [1993] 4 Ibid, per [1995] 2 Ibid, per  155  note 37 per Gonthier J . at page 691. note 37 per McLachlin J . at page 711. supra note 38 at 302. note L'Heureux-Dube J . at 648 701. and 649.. note 37 37 per per Cory and lacobucci J J page . at page note 37 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 654. note 37 per Cory and lacobucci J J . at page 703.  S.C.R. 695 [hereinafter cited as 'Symes']. Cory J . at pages 770 and 771. S.C.R. 513 [hereinafter cited as 'Egan']. L'Heureux-Dube J . at pages 551 - 552.  "M'Aider, Mayday," supra note 38 at 329 and 330. "M'Aider, Mayday," supra note 38 at 302. Nitya Iyer, "Categorical Denials: Equality Rights and the Shaping of Social Identity" (1993) 19 Queens Law Journal 179 [hereinafter cited as "Categorical Denials"] at 182. "Disappearing Women," supra note 17 at 42. Quoted in Mossop, supra note 15 per Lamer C . J . at pages 573 and 574. Mossop, supra note 15 per Lamer C . J . at page 580. [1997] 1 S . C . R . 241 [hereinafter cited as 'Eaton']. Ibid, per Sopinka J . at page 272. Margot Young, "Sameness/Difference: A Tale of Two Girls" 4:1 Review of Constitutional Studies 150 [hereinafter cited as "A Tale of Two Girls"] at 159. Ibid, at 150. Eaton, supra note 56 per Sopinka J . at page 273. "A Tale of Two Girls," supra note 58 at 161. (1986), 54 O.R. (2d) 513 (C.A.); leave to appeal denied, [1986] 2 S . C . R . 573 [hereinafter cited as 'Blaine/]. 5 0  5 1  5 2  5 3  5 4  5 5  5 6  5 7  5 8  5 9  6 0  6 1  6 2  6 3  A s Margot Young explains: Justine [the claimant] was an ideal section 15(1) claimant: she could play with the boys. The only difference between her and the other (male) members of the team, as far as playing hockey was concerned, was her sex: in this context, simple an "accident of birth." Indeed, Justice was much more the "same" than she was "different." ("A Tale of Two Girls," supra note 58 at 152.)  Rhadha Jhappan, "The Equality Pit or the Rehabilitation of Justice" (1998) 10 Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 60 - 107 [hereinafter cited as "The Equality Pit"] at 79. 65 Symes, supra note 46 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 825. Symes, supra note 46 per lacobucci J . at page 765 - 766. Symes, supra note 46 per lacobucci J . at page 766. "A Tale of Two Girls," supra note 58 at 162. Symes, supra note 46 per lacobucci J . at page 770 and 771. Symes, supra note 46 per lacobucci J . at page 769. Lise Gotell, "Litigating Feminist Truth': An Anti-Foundational Critique" (1995) 4 Social and Legal Studies 9 9 - 1 3 1 [hereinafter cited as "Litigating Feminist Truth'"] at 111. Symes, supra note 46 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 821. Symes, supra note 46 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 823. Symes, supra note 46 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at pages 823 and 824. Symes, supra note 46 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at pages 824 - 826. Thibaudeau, supra note 37 per McLachlin J . at page 716. "Litigating Feminist Truth," supra note 71 at 113. Symes, supra note 46 per lacobucci J . at page 765. Symes, supra note 46 per lacobucci J . at page 774. Symes, supra note 46 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 825. Just Words, supra note 4 at 9. "Disappearing Women," supra note 17 at 37 and 38. Just Words, supra note 4 at 51. Egan, supra note 48 per La Forest J . at page 526. Egan, supra note 48 per La Forest J . at page 536. "M'Aider, Mayday," supra note 38 at 309. Egan, supra note 48 per La Forest J . at page 26. Egan, supra note 48 per Cory and lacobucci J J . at page 169. Mossop, supra note 15 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at pages 623 - 633. Mossop, supra note 15 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 633. Egan, supra note 48 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 543. Egan, supra note 48 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 545. 6 4  6 7  6 8  6 9  7 0  7 1  7 2  7 3  7 4  7 5  7 6  7 7  7 8  7 9  8 0  8 1  8 2  8 3  8 4  8 5  8 6  8 7  8 8  8 9  9 0  9 1  9 2  156  Egan, supra note 48 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at pages 548 and 549. Egan, supra note 48 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at pages 551 and 552. Egan, supra note 48 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at pages 552 and 553. Egan, supra note 48 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at pages 562 and 563. Ibid. Symes, supra note 46 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 825. Egan, supra note 48 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 544. Egan, supra note 48 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 557. Egan, supra note 48 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 561. Egan, supra note 48 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at pages 565 and 566. Egan, supra note 48 per Cory and lacobucci J J . at page 591 and 592. Egan, supra note 48 per Cory and lacobucci J J . at pages 593 and 594. For a general discussion of the tax implications of the extension of "spousal" status to same-sex couples see generally Claire F.L. Young, "Taxing Times for lesbians and G a y Men: Equality at What Cost?" (1995) 17 Dalhousie Law Journal 534 - 559 [hereinafter cited as "Taxing Times"]. Ibid, at 555. "Taxing Times," supra note 105 at 546. (1998) 38 O.R. (3d) 577 ( C A . ) Kathleen A. Lahey, >4re We Persons Yet: Law and Sexuality in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999) [hereinafter cited as 'Law and Sexuality] at 186. Claire F.L. Young, "Child Care and the Charter. Privileging the Privileged" (1994) 2:1 Review of Constitutional Studies 20 - 38 [hereinafter cited as "Child Care"] at 24. "Taxing Times," supra note 105 at 555. These being a 'parent, stepparent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, son, stepson, daughter, stepdaughter, grandchild, sister, brother, niece, or nephew.' Ontario, Ontario Disability Support Program Policy Bulletin 003-2000 (Toronto: Ontario Disability Support Program Branch, 8 March 2000) at 5. Equivalent provisions are contained in the policy pertaining to general welfare: Ontario, Ontario Works Transition Directive 2001-01 (Toronto: Ontario Works Branch, 8 March 2000). Margot Young, "The Social Union Framework Agreement: Hollowing out the State" (1999) 10:4 Constitutional Forum 1 2 0 - 128 [hereinafter cited as "The Social Union Framework"] at 120. [1999] 2 S . C . R . 3 [hereinafter cited as M. v. H.] 9 3  9 4  9 5  9 6  9 7  9 8  9 9  1 0 0  1 0 1  1 0 2  1 0 3  1 0 4  1 0 5  1 0 6  1 0 7  1 0 8  1 0 9  1 1 0  1 1 1  1 1 2  1 1 3  1 1 4  1 1 5  1 1 6  It was as a result of this decision that in October 1999 the Government of Ontario passed the  Amendments  Because  of the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in M. v. H. Act, 1999, S . O . 1999, c. 6  This Act modified 67 Ontario statutes, by adding the concept of 'same-sex partner' wherever legislation previously referred to 'spouses'. Included among the 67 statutes are the two which deal with social assistance in the province: Ontario Works Act, 1997 and Ontario Disability Support Program Act,  1997.  Andree Lajoie, Eric Gelineau & Richard Janda, "When Silence Is no Longer Acquiescence: G a y s and Lesbians under Canadian Law" (1999) 14:1 Canadian Journal of Law and Society 101 - 126 at 112. M. v. H., supra note 115 per Cory and lacobucci J J . at page 80. M. v. H., supra note 115 per Cory and lacobucci J J . at page 80. M. v. H., supra note 115 per Cory and lacobucci J J . at page 80. Carl F. Stychin, "Essential ights and Contested Identities: Sexual Orientation and Equality Rights Jurisprudence in Canada" (1995) 8:1 Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 49 - 66 at 59. Quoted in "Litigating Feminist 'Truth'," supra note 71 at 99. Just Words, supra note 4 at 51. 30 R.P.R. (2d) (N.S. C A . ) 146 - 160 [hereinafter cited as 'Sparks'] Ibid, at pages 150 and 151. Sparks, supra note 124 at pages 155. Sparks, supra note 124 at page 156. 1 1 7  1 1 8  1 1 9  1 2 0  1 2 1  1 2  1 2 3  1 2 4  1 2 5  1 2 6  1 2 7  157  Sparks, supra note 124 at 156. "Categorical Denials," supra note 52 at 207. "The Equality Pit," supra note 64 at 74. "The Equality Pit," supra note 64 at 79. [1999] 2 R . C . S . 203 - 289 [hereinafter cited as 'Corbiere']. Ibid, per McLachlin and Bastarache J J . at page 15. Corbiere, supra note 132 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 62. Corbiere, supra note 132 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 61. Corbiere, supra note 132 per McLachlin and Bastarache J J . at page 19. Corbiere, supra note 132 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 65. Corbiere, supra note 132 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at pages 67 and 68. Corbiere, supra note 132 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at pages 89 and 90. Corbiere, supra note 132 per L'Heureux-Dube J . at page 98. Susan B. Boyd, "Family, Law and Sexuality: Feminist Engagements," (1999) 8:3 Social & Legal Studies 369 - 390 at 381. "The Equality Pit," supra note 64 at 91. "The Equality Pit," supra note 64 at 96. 1 2 8  1 2 9  1 3 0  1 3 1  1 3 2  1 3 3  1 3 4