News, Wit & Commentary for Lesbians
JIC Post:By JANE TABER Globe and MailOttawa — Foreign Affairs is warning same-sex married couples to be aware that when travelling abroad they may be refused entry by countries that do not accept or acknowledge gay marriage."Attempting to enter a country as a same-sex married couple may result in refusal by local officials," the statement issued by Foreign Affairs says.The department also cautions that, in certain countries, homosexual activity is illegal, and if convicted a person could face a fine, imprisonment and/or whipping, as well as being subject to deportation or even death.Coming just days after same-sex marriage became the legal in Canada, the warning advises lesbian and homosexual couples to be aware of their rights and also the laws of the country they are planning to visit."We cannot take for granted that rights that are recognized in Canada will be recognized or accepted abroad," Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew says in the statement.He notes that, "many countries still do not permit such marriages."Indeed, Canada became one of only four countries to legalize same-sex marriage when the legislation received royal assent on Wednesday. The Netherlands, Belgium and Spain are the other three. Mr. Pettigrew's communications director, Sébastien Théberge, said the warning was prompted, in part, by "concerns and questions from Canadians," and the recent passage of the legislation. "Sometimes we take it for granted of what we have, and the kind of rights we have in Canada. But it's not everywhere," he said yesterday.He said that while Canadians are well looked after by Canadian consular officials abroad, it's also the responsibility of Foreign Affairs to "tell Canadians what we can't do for them."The department is urging same-sex married couples to consult its consular affairs website (http://www.voyage.gc.ca) to ensure they know their rights and the laws of the country they want to visit.For example, the Foreign Affairs website entry for Qatar, a country in the Middle East, notes that "homosexuality is illegal. Convicted offenders may face lengthy jail sentences, lashing and/or deportation."Alex Munter, head of Canadians for Equal Marriage, said yesterday that, "lesbian and gay travellers have always known that there are parts of the world where they are unwelcome."However, he said that Foreign Affairs is providing a "useful informative service to Canadian citizens" with this website.
I cannot fathom anybody wanting to go to an horribly oppressive, homophobic country just for grins and giggles. Then again, I live in the US, so go figure.
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