The Newfoundland Supreme Court has cleared the way for two lesbian couples to marry legally, making Newfoundland and Labrador the seventh province to sanction same-sex marriage.

Two couples – Jacqueline Pottle and Noelle French, and Lisa Zigler and Theresa Walsh – were asking for the right to marry legally.

They had applied earlier for marriage licences, but were rejected.

Justice Minister Tom Marshall said earlier this month the provincial government would not oppose the court ruling.

Newfoundland now joins Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and the Yukon in legalizing same-sex marriages.

The decision comes in the wake of the Supreme Court of Canada ruling 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.

The decision ruled that Ottawa has exclusive jurisdiction to decide who has the right to get married in this country.