Common-law relationships in Manitoba On September 16, , Justice Douglas Yard of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench declared the then-current definition of marriage unconstitutional. The judge said that his decision had been influenced by the previous decisions in B.
Both the provincial and federal governments had made it known that they would not oppose the court bid. One of the couples, Chris Vogel and Richard North, had legally sought the right to marry, in a high-profile case in , but had been denied. G and Nova Scotia A. G against the provincial government requesting that it issue same-sex marriage licences. Neither the federal nor the provincial governments opposed the ruling.
Same-sex marriage in Saskatchewan Five couples brought suit in Saskatchewan for the recognition of their marriage in a case that was heard by the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench in chambers on November 3, Same-sex marriage in Newfoundland and Labrador Two lesbian couples brought suit on November 4, to have Newfoundland and Labrador recognize same-sex marriage.
As with the previous decisions, the provincial government did not oppose the suit; moreover, the federal government actually supported it. The case went to trial on December 20 and the next day, Mr.
Justice Derek Green ordered the provincial government to begin issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples, an order with which the provincial government announced it would comply. Same-sex marriage in New Brunswick Two same-sex couples brought suit in April to request an order requiring the government of New Brunswick to issue same-sex marriage licences. This was granted in June The Progressive Conservative Premier of New Brunswick , Bernard Lord , who personally opposed same-sex marriage, pledged to follow a directive to provide for same-sex marriages from the courts or from Parliament.
Same-sex marriage in the Northwest Territories On May 20, , a gay male couple with a daughter brought suit in the Northwest Territories for the right to marry. The territorial justice minister, Charles Dent , had previously said that the government would not contest such a lawsuit. The case was to be heard on May 27 but ended when the federal government legalized same-sex marriage.
Discussion in Parliament, —[ edit ] The shift in Canadian attitudes towards acceptance of same-sex marriage and recent court rulings caused the Parliament of Canada to reverse its position on the issue. Lehman suggests that between and , Canadian public opinion on legalizing same-sex marriage underwent a dramatic shift: Like most private members' bills it did not progress past first reading, and was reintroduced in several subsequent Parliaments.
Just after the Ontario court decision, it voted to recommend that the federal government not appeal the ruling. However, the definition of marriage is a federal law. A draft of the bill was issued on July Marriage, for civil purposes, is the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others. Nothing in this Act affects the freedom of officials of religious groups to refuse to perform marriages that are not in accordance with their religious beliefs.
The draft bill was subsequently referred to the Supreme Court; see below. On September 16, , a motion was brought to Parliament by the Canadian Alliance now the Conservative Party to once again reaffirm the heterosexual definition of marriage. The same language that had been passed in was brought to a free vote, with members asked to vote for or against the definition of marriage as "the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.
The September vote was extremely divisive, however. Several Liberals retained their original stance, however, and thus the vote was not defined purely along party lines. Controversially, over 30 members of the House did not attend the vote, the majority of whom were Liberals who had voted against legalizing same-sex marriage in In the end, the motion was narrowly rejected by a vote of Re Same-Sex Marriage In , the Liberal government referred a draft bill on same-sex marriage to the Supreme Court of Canada , essentially asking it to review the bill's constitutionality before it was introduced.
Is the annexed Proposal for an Act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes within the exclusive legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada? If not, in what particular or particulars, and to what extent?
If the answer to question 1 is yes, is section 1 of the proposal, which extends capacity to marry to persons of the same sex, consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Does the freedom of religion guaranteed by paragraph 2 a of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protect religious officials from being compelled to perform a marriage between two persons of the same sex that is contrary to their religious beliefs?
Prime Minister Paul Martin later added a fourth in January Is the opposite-sex requirement for marriage for civil purposes, as established by the common law and set out for Quebec in s.
If not, in what particular or particulars and to what extent? The addition of a fourth question considerably delayed the opening of the court reference until well after the June general election, raising accusations of stalling.
In its hearings that began in October , the Supreme Court of Canada accused the government of using the court for other goals when the government declined to appeal rulings that altered the definition of marriage in several provinces. The court stated that such a ruling is not necessary because the federal government had accepted the rulings of provincial courts to the effect that the change was required. The court also ruled that given freedom of religion in the Charter of Rights, and wording of provincial human rights codes, it was highly unlikely that religious institutions could be compelled to perform same-sex marriages, though because solemnization of marriage is a matter for provincial governments, the proposed bill could not actually guarantee such protections.
On December 9, , Prime Minister Paul Martin indicated that the federal government would introduce legislation expanding marriage to same-sex couples. The government's decision was announced immediately following the court's answer in the Reference re: Same-Sex Marriage reference question.
Many Liberal MPs indicated that they would oppose the government's position in favour of same-sex marriage at a free vote. The law included a notwithstanding clause in an attempt to protect the amendment from being invalidated under the Charter. However, the amendment was invalid since, under the Canadian Constitution , the definition of marriage is a federal right.
See " Same-sex marriage in Alberta " for further discussion of the issue. Complicating matters, Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper indicated that a Conservative government would work to restore the prohibition on same-sex marriage if Parliament voted to do so in a free vote. The bill passed second reading on May 4 and third reading on June 28, with votes of and , respectively. Debate was launched on July 4, and a Liberal closure motion limited debate on the bill to only four hours.
Second reading and committing the bill occurred on July 6, with a vote of The Senate passed Bill C on third reading by a margin of 47 to 21 on July 19, Members of the 39th Canadian Parliament and same-sex marriage The Conservative Party , led by Stephen Harper , won a minority government in the federal election on January 23, Harper had campaigned on the promise of holding a free vote on a motion to re-open the debate on same-sex marriage.
A news report from CTV on May 31, , showed that a growing number of Conservatives were wary about re-opening the debate on same-sex marriage. One cabinet minister stated he just wanted the issue "to go away", while others including Chuck Strahl and Bill Casey were undecided, instead of directly opposed. This motion was defeated the next day in a vote of nays to yeas.