ILGA » ILGA North America » Gay marriage thriving in Canada


Filter by Show me news ›

Gay marriage thriving in Canada

Recent developments in Canada underscore just how deeply embedded gay marriage has become in the country's moral landscape.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

24th January 2011 11:28

Alessia Valenza | ILGA North America

On Jan. 10, the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan ruled it’s unconstitutional for a marriage commissioner to refuse issuing a marriage license to a homosexual couple if doing so would violate the religious beliefs of the marriage commissioner.
From the archive

* Judge Vaughn Walker’s personal life debated after gay ruling – Aug. 6, 2010
* Appeal filed over gay marriage ruling in Calif. – Aug. 6, 2010
* Timeline to the Prop. 8 ruling – Aug. 4, 2010
* White House silent on Massachusetts gay marriage ruling – July 9, 2010
* Court: same-sex marriage is not universal right – June 25, 2010

"The provincial government requested the Court of Appeal’s opinion on the constitutional validity of two possible amendments … Both would allow a commissioner to decline to solemnize a marriage if performing the ceremony would be contrary to his or her religious beliefs. In its reasons for decision, the Court said either option, if enacted, would be unconstitutional because it would violate the equality rights of gay and lesbian individuals and would not be a reasonable and justifiable breach of those rights.

Then on Jan. 14, the first two gay couples ever legally married in Canada celebrated their 10th anniversary.

Two same-sex Canadian couples (that) made international headlines and North American history by being the first to be legally married, will renew their vows, along with 50 others, in a 10th-anniversary celebration Friday. … But getting to this point has not come easy. There were court battles right up to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Interestingly, the institution of gay marriage in Canada is starting to really take root at a time when many Canadians oppose homosexual unions.

If anything, the (Jan. 10 court decision) shines a light on the sometimes-unhappy marriage between legal precedents and social attitudes. Although same-sex couples have been granted the same legal rights and the legal definition of civil marriage has been transformed, marriage is a deeply embedded religious institution and many Canadians view same-sex unions as an affront to their beliefs.