January – April, 2005
York University
Political Science 3605
Public Law II
Winter Term 2005

Assignment:  Read the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Reference re. Same-Sex Marriage, (2004).  This decision can be found in the WebCT course under the “Course Content” Section under the Folder Heading of “Recent Supreme Court Decisions,” or in the links on the "regular" web page..  After reading the decision, write a letter to the editor explaining your views on the decision.  
    You may comment on any aspect of the case.  For example, you may want to critique the decision in terms of whether it was “right” or “wrong” and explain why.  Or, you may want to write on whether the courts should answer reference questions since some view the process as undermining democracy since the courts are answering “political” questions while allowing those who are elected to answer these questions to “skirt” the issue.  Or, you may want to write on the aftermath of the decision and whether the Supreme Court’s decision allows for the possibility of avoiding same-sex marriage (there is going to be a free vote on the issue in the Spring Session of Parliament).  
Please note, the above three examples are only meant to be just that, examples.  You do not have to write on one of the above examples and can choose to write your letter to the editor on another aspect of the Supreme Court’s decision.  However, please ensure that your letter to the editor actually relates to the Supreme Court’s decision in some manner since it is the topic of your letter.

Length:  Since this is a letter to the editor, it is expected to be short.  Letters to the editor are usually between 150 – 300 words.  However, for this assignment, an absolute maximum will be 500 words, or two typed, double spaced pages.  Any letters longer than the required length will be subject to a penalty.  Please remember, this is an exercise in writing clearly and concisely.  Therefore, part of the evaluation will be based on how well the student is able to present his/her arguments in a clear, concise and cogent manner.

Value:  The value of this assignment is worth 5% of your overall final mark.

Due:  The assignment is due January 21, 2005.

No extensions are allowed except under exceptional circumstances.  Late papers will be docked 2% per day of lateness (including weekends).  Emailed assignments will not, barring exceptional circumstances, be accepted.

Assignment Is Mandatory:  Please note that this assignment (as well as all other assignments) is mandatory.  Students who do not complete all of the required assignments will not be able to obtain the credit.