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Homosexuals have asserted their rights more vocally in many areas of the law in the past decade. It was inevitable that the area of family law and child custody would be affected by this trend. In this paper, the author tries to compare and assess the moral standards which govern family relationships and how those standards are reflected in the laws relating to marriage, divorce and appreciation by the courts of parental fitness.
This paper deals with the legal approach to homosexuality throughout history, focussing on Roman law, French law up to the Revolution, English law till the mid-60's and finally, Canadian law from the French period up to the amendments to the Criminal Code in 1969. What lessons can be drawn from this analysis? A first conclusion is the increasing intolerance towards homosexuals as evidenced by laws that become more and more preoccupied with private morality and control of individual behaviour. Here, we notice the inverse trend in the Roman law tradition and the common law one, where cultural and religious differences explain much of this curious evolution. A second conclusion is the link established between deviant behaviour and all forms of « deviance » from official policies-thus, accusations of homosexuality are to be found in troubled periods of religious (heresies) and political turmoil. Finally, one notes that although the Medieval period is often considered as being particularly cruel in its treatment of homosexuals, this view would need important qualifications in light of the 20th century treatment of such persons, witness of course, the Nazi extermination.
To what extent may a person be discriminated against within the purview of a federal or Quebec law because of his or her homosexuality ? The author attempts to answer this question in the light of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. Those two documents make up two distinct sources against discrimination. The question as to whether section 15 of the Canadian Charter prohibits distinctions based upon homosexuality is examined in the first part of the article. The second part focuses on the nature and scope of the right of the homosexual person to complete equality under the Quebec Charter.
This paper examines the idea of personal privacy and how the law has responded to expectations that it be adequately protected. The legal protection of personal privacy is evaluated in light of the concerns of homosexual persons that information about their sexual orientation remain confidential. Although individual privacy is a notion that can be used to argue for a sphere of individual freedom, in the sense that adult individuals should be free of government restriction on how they express themselves sexually in private, this paper focuses on privacy insofar as it relates to the undesired disclosure of information about a person's private life. This is privacy as secrecy, a concept which is concerned with the degree to which we are prepared to allow people to live their lives free from the intrusive prying of others.
Whether the idea of breach of privacy as giving rise to civil responsibility has evolved under tort law is reviewed in the common law of both Canada and the United States. The inadequacy of the common law in protecting a general right to privacy has led to the adoption of a number of provincial statutes which create an invasion of privacy tort, and the importance of these in potentially protecting the privacy of homosexual persons is examined. The recognition of a general right to privacy under the Quebec Civil Code and its reinforcement by provisions in the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms completes the analysis of civil remedies for breach of privacy in Canada. For comparative purposes, the development of the « private facts tort » in the American legal system is explored and commented.
Informational privacy as it relates to the collection, storage and use of personal information by governments constitutes the focus of part 3 of this paper. It assesses the dangers inherent in the use and storage of personal information by governments in both Canada and the U.S.A. The recognition of the potential for abuse has resulted in the adoption of Privacy Acts in both countries at the federal level and, with respect to Canada, in the province of Quebec. Such legislation seeks to answer the twin preoccupations of when government institutions are justified in collecting and using personal information and when they are justified in disclosing it. These questions are of considerable importance to homosexual persons and this is emphasized in the analysis.
Views on the relationship between privacy and social tolerance are offered in the conclusion to the paper.
The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms came into force on September 1953. In 1959, the European Court of Human Rights began its work which is to apply the Convention to particular cases. Since then, it has delivered 94 judgments. For Canadian Lawyers, since the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has come into force, the European Court and its decisions are of particular signifiance.
The following article concerns the Court itself, especially the status of its judges. It also concerns the functions, powers and procedures of the Court and lastly relates the spirit with which the Convention has been applied to the National Laws of the Members of the Council of Europe for the past 25 years.
L’interprétation des lois et des conventions plurilingues
A comparative study of the interpretative methodology applicable in multilingual jurisdictions such as Canada, Belgium and Switzerland and before the Court of Justice of the European Communities reveals some remarkable similarities as well as some important differences. The four papers that follow were presented during a seminar on the theme « Interpretation of Multilingual Statutes and Treaties » that was held in Strasbourg on July 10, 1984 under the auspices of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies. The Canadian author of one of the papers also served as rapporteur for the seminar. His report serves as an introduction to the four papers.