Shelly Pickering thinks it is unfair that her husband's extramarital affair with a man doesn't legally count as adultery. So today, she's heading to court in Vancouver to challenge the law.
The 44-year-old Vancouver resident had been married nearly 17 years when, in October of 2004, she discovered her husband was having an affair with a younger man.
She and her husband separated immediately and she filed for divorce two months later, seeking an immediate end to their union.
Canada's Divorce Act allows for a no-fault divorce after a one-year separation, on grounds of marital breakdown.
It also allows for an immediate divorce if there is admitted or proven adultery or cruelty.
The traditional definition of adultery, which dates back to church-based courts in England, is "penetrative sexual contact between a man and a woman not married to each other and one of whom is married to someone else," notes Ms. Pickering's lawyer, barbara findlay (who spells her name in lower-case letters).
Ms. findlay argues that the definition of adultery is as outdated as the original common-law definition of marriage, which was based on procreation. Times have changed, along with the definition of marriage, and so too should the definition of adultery, she said.
Once the central element of marriage has been redefined in law, redefinition of its corollary elements and offences against marriage become logically inevitable.
Homosexuals wanted the rights of civil marriage. Do they also want the responsibility of monogamy?
Given that sexual encounters with multiple partners form the general pattern of male homosexual conduct, a conduct that is central to homosexual identity, might it not be argued that redefining adultery to include homosexual conduct would itself be discriminatory?
Not a few homosexual commentators seem to think so.
If the concept of adultery is alien to homosexual conduct, it's probably more likely than not that it would be removed as a ground for divorce under a Charter challenge. And under s.15, the same removal of adultery as a ground for divorce would have to apply to heterosexuals as well, for to do otherwise would unfairly privilege homosexuals in law.
Unfaithful husbands of the world, rejoice!
Source: Globe and Mail