Changes giving same-sex couples on P.E.I. all the rights enjoyed by mixed-sex couples were proclaimed over the weekend, ending a wait of more than three years.
'With it taking so long it just didn't seem that was important enough to take priority.' — Alana Leard, Abegweit Rainbow Collective
Marriage commissioners on P.E.I. have been able to perform same-sex marriages since June 2006, but many pieces of provincial legislation still referred to married couples as "man and woman" or "husband and wife."
The Domestic Relations Act replaced those words with more gender-neutral terms. While the bill did get royal assent last year, same-sex couples were still waiting for the proclamation to happen. In all, 29 pieces of legislation had to be changed.
"I think that a lot of people have been feeling like, yes, OK, they finally allowed gay marriage. And now it's just waiting for the paperwork to be finished," said Alana Leard of the Abegweit Rainbow Collective, but that people were starting to get frustrated.
"With it taking so long it just didn't seem that was important enough to take priority. But we are definitely excited that is finally going to happen."
Now that the legislation has been proclaimed, the government can get on with processing a backlog of requests, said Jessie Frost-Wicks, a departmental solicitor with the Office the Attorney General.
"I know there have been requests coming in to various departments," said Frost-Wicks.
"Vital statistics being one, for people looking for birth certificates and to have their status recognized, I guess, on a birth certificate as a parent."
Before the changes, the only option on birth certificates was mother and father.