LETTER FROM MONTREAL
Almost twenty years ago, on July 18, 2002, a fiery kiss between Theo and Roger made the headlines of Quebec newspapers. The couple of men were the first to benefit from the homosexual civil union which had just been adopted in the Belle Province. Three years later, same-sex marriage was legalized across Canada. Still in 2002, Quebec granted legal recognition to homoparental families, a child born of assisted reproduction (ART) could be recognized as two mothers.
With medical assistance in dying, which was adopted in 2016, or even the legalization of cannabis in 2018, Canada often appears, in terms of adapting to changes in society, as a “precursor” country; in the eyes of the supporters of such a change in legislation.
Quebec is preparing to take a further step. The government of François Legault, prime minister of nationalist center law, has just presented a bill aimed at reforming family law. With some major advances, in particular a framework for contracts between intended parents and surrogate mothers, in other words, recognition of the practice of surrogacy (Surrogacy). “People are aware that surrogacy exists in Quebec, Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette justified himself. Since it exists, mechanisms must be put in place to protect both children and surrogate mothers. “
But this principle of reality, claimed by the minister, has its limits. “There are also multi-parent families in Quebec today, those whose family plan includes more than two parents, and yet the government is making sure to make them invisible,” assures Mona Greenbaum, Executive Director of the Coalition of LGBT + Families in Montreal, who regrets that the government refuses to look into this new family model.
Other Canadian provinces have already led the way: in 2013, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, or, in 2016, with a law passed unanimously, the province bordering Ontario. In these three provinces, a child can, at birth, be recognized by three or even four parents.
“A dad, two mothers, a stepfather, two stepmothers”
But Simon Jolin-Barrette was categorical: “For us, it’s very clear, the family unit has only two parents. “ The fear of seeing the notions of multi-parenthood and polygamy confused seems to have played a large part in his refusal to consider any extension of filiation.
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