A Note to all the RCMP detectives who frequent The Gaily on a daily basis; this story is not about me. I am straight, uncool and have only been to Montreal once. For Space Camp when I was 12.
I remember hearing, prior to the passing of Bill C-38 in July 2005 and federal legislation allowing same-sex marriage, arguments from radical conservatives in my midst that the bill would cause a dramatic increase in marriage fraud. Some people seemed to have the idea that if the government endorsed same-sex marriages, friends, roomates and raquet-ball buddies were going to be getting married for the many rewards to be reaped from legal marriage.
They didn’t seem to understand that hetero marriage had that market cornered, and that marriage fraud from two opposite-sex friends was quite alive and well.
In 2004, straight and alternative Stacey was living in Montreal and maintained residence there. Mark, a flamboyant, raving gay boy who lived in Toronto, had been accepted at McGill University and was ecstatic to be moving there, and closer to his dear friend Stacey. In fact, they had decided to share a cute little flat in the Village.
Only there was one problem; one that out-of-province students pursing their higher education in Quebec would be intimately familiar with. The out-of-province tuition rates in Quebec are outrageously high compared to the rates afforded to local students. Mark wasn’t sure that he would be able to afford the tuition on his Dilbert-swathed office salary. Then he came up with a brilliant idea. He called Stacey and proposed. Marriage. She laughed and accepted jokingly. When Mark started providing her the details of applying for a marriage license the following week she realized he was serious. After a few minutes of convincing, and explaining the plan to commit marriage fraud so that Mark could get residency in Quebec and access those sweet, sweet local tuition rates, Stacey agreed.
You see, Stacey was very alternative, and the arrangement actually appealled to her sense of alt-ness. She would be the cool, straight wife of a fabulous gay man (who was already in a long-term relationship with another gay man). Awesome.
They went to get the license three weeks later, after Mark had officially moved to the Village. His boyfriend Luke went with them to be their witness. Stacey filled out the paperwork, taking occasional breaks to chastise Mark for demonstrating the fradulent nature of their union; he was sitting in Luke’s lap flirting and touching him suggestively in front of the beuraucrats (who were clearly aware of the situation, and probably pretty familiar with student marriage fraud). They got the license, ran to the courthouse and had a quickie marriage ceremony. The bride wore a denim skirt she had made herself out of three pairs of jeans. The groom wore Dolce. They wed, they kissed and they went out for their wedding brunch at Denny’s.
Seven years later, and long after Mark graduated from McGill and moved to New York to pursue graduate studies at Columbia and Stacey returned to her home town on the other side of the country to open a flower shop, they are still married. Mark had promised to pay for the divorce, since he was the one to reap the majority of the benefits of the marriage. Though always the wallflower, Stacey has been hesitantly dipping her foot into the real heterosexual dating pool and realized a short time ago that she will likely want to marry a man she can share more than cosmos and sweaters with.
So last week Stacey began composing a very long and melodramatic letter to the courts requesting an annulment, claiming that her husband that she loved (true) and planned to be with forever (false) ran away with another man shortly after their nuptuals (sort of true; Mark slept over at Luke’s the night of his nuptuals, but was back for bagels and lox by noon the next day). She and her unlikely husband plan for a quickie divorce followed by an enormous and cheeky bash celebrating the successful end of their fraudulent marriage.
The bride will wear clunky maple bracelets, the groom will wear Armani, and both will wear shit-eating grins for having defrauded the government as a faux-hetero couple.