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Rosie O’Donnell to Marry

According to this CNN report, Rosie O’Donnell is going to San Francisco to marry her long time girlfriend.  Her reason for doing so is quite interesting.

O’Donnell said she decided to marry Carpenter, a former dancer and marketing director at Nickelodeon, during her recent trial in New York over the now-defunct Rosie magazine.

"We applied for spousal privilege and were denied it by the state. As a result, everything that I said to Kelli, every letter that I wrote her, every e-mail, every correspondence and conversation was entered into the record," O’Donnell said. "After the trial, I am now and will forever be a total proponent of gay marriage."

In other words, had she been married, her spousal privilege would have protected their privacy.  Since, by law, she was unable to marry, that privacy was not protected. 

Common Law, in Canada, provides that spouses cannot be forced to testify against each other as well.  The common rules were codified in the Canada Evidence Act as follows:

"No husband is compellable to disclose any communication made to him by his wife during their marriage, and no wife is compellable to disclose any communication made to her by her husband during their marriage.": Canada Evidence Act R.S.C. 1985, c. C-5, s. 4(3).

If proponents of the "separate-but-equal" position in Parliament win the day, and gay couples are granted a civil union as opposed to a marriage, will they be spouses legally, or something else?  Will spousal privilege apply? How equal will "equal" be?


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