The Newfoundland Supreme Court has cleared the way for two lesbian couples – and for all same-sex couples that follow – to marry legally.
Judge Derek Green ruled Tuesday afternoon on the issue, making Newfoundland and Labrador the eighth jurisdiction to sanction same-sex marriage.
CBC News Indepth: Same-sex rights
- Preparing to wed:On the eve of the Supreme Court of Canada decision earlier this month, the CBC's Lynda Calvert filed this profile of Jacqueline Pottle and Noelle French.
Licences will be issued immediately: MarshallJustice Minister Tom Marshall says he has instructed government staff to issue licences to gay couples who ask for them. "I am duty bound to uphold and apply the law. The law has been changed," Marshall says. Cabinet will now debate whether marriage commissioners will be required to marry same-sex couples, if they object on religious grounds. Marshall says cabinet will make that decision early in the New Year. Gander Mayor Claude Elliott says he and some other mayors will not participate in same-sex ceremonies.
Elliott has said he would stop officiating at marriages altogether.
From Dec. 13: Won't officiate at gay marriages, mayor says
'Apex of moral depravity'Pastor Gordon Young, who runs a St. John's evangelical church, was disappointed by the decision. "In Canada, we're approaching the apex of moral depravity," says Young, who was granted standing during the case. "We're changing the essence of an institution that we've always had for centuries, and changing it into something that will never be the same again," Young says. The decision came only hours after federal cabinet representative John Efford met with church leaders opposed to same-sex marriage. Efford says he will not reveal whether or not he will support a pending government bill on same-sex marriage until January, after he meets with Prime Minister Paul Martin.
The decision comes in the wake of a Supreme Court of Canada ruling this month that cleared the way for the Liberal government to introduce a bill early in the New Year giving gays and lesbians the legal right to marry. Same-sex couples can also marry in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and the Yukon.
Related coverage: Efford mum on same-sex decision