The Saskatchewan government has decided to tell its marriage commissioners that they must perform same-sex marriages if requested.
Justice Minister Don Morgan said letters will be going out Tuesday to the civil servants who perform non-religious marriages.
The move comes following a Saskatchewan Court of Appeal opinion last week on possible changes to the Marriage Act that would let some or all commissioners opt out of marrying gay or lesbian couples.
The provincial government said it wanted to balance the equality rights of homosexuals with the religious rights of its marriage commissioners.
However, the court said the government's proposed compromises were not constitutional, forcing the government to make a decision.
"We understand that among our civil marriage commissioners are people of strong beliefs who live their faith daily," Morgan said in a news release. "We had hoped there might be some way to reconcile their right to religious freedom with the right of same-sex couples to marry. That's why we made this court reference.
"However, the Court of Appeal has clearly ruled that civil marriage commissioners must perform ceremonies for couples who meet the legal requirements. That includes same-sex couples."
One option the government had been mulling over would be a system modelled after Ontario's, where there's a separate list of marriage commissioners for same-sex marriages. The Appeal Court asked a government-appointed lawyer about that system, but also noted there's no guarantee it could survive a constitutional challenge either.
After the law changed in 2005 and marriage commissioners were asked to perform same-sex marriages, some refused or quit.
A human rights complaint was also launched against a marriage commissioner who refused to conduct a same-sex marriage.
The government said the requirement to perform same-sex marriages applies only to civil marriage commissioners and does not affect religious ceremonies.
At least one marriage commissioner said last week the government would have to fire him if it expected him to perform same-sex marriages.