All systems go for same-sex marriage in New Brunswick
Same-sex couples in New Brunswick can now drop by a government office and pick up the forms they need to be legally married.
Officials with Service New Brunswick say the revised marriage licences became available Monday morning.
They were changed to reflect a landmark ruling of the provincial Court of Queens Bench 10 days ago, giving full legal recognition to same-sex unions.
On June 23, Justice Judy Clendenning ruled that same-sex couples may enter into a civil union, with equal property rights and other legal entitlements.
She gave the province 10 days to make the necessary changes.
- FROM JUNE 23, 2005: New Brunswick ruling clears way for gay marriage
The change has been a long time coming for one church in the province.
The Unitarian Fellowship of Fredericton has been performing same-sex marriages since the 1960s. Until now, they had no legal standing.
Joanne Elder-Gomes, a spokesperson for the church, said Monday is a day to celebrate.
"I'm very proud to be a New Brunswicker right now," she said. "When I heard of this decision, I felt a movement of pride."
Brent Staeben of Service New Brunswick said the new forms are in accordance with the judge's order.
"They reflect the change as mandated by the decision," he said. "So in the case of a wedding form, you know, as the judge decreed, the forms will say two persons instead of a man and woman."
Staeben said couples from outside the country can also get married in New Brunswick.
New Brunswick's change in stance leaves Alberta, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut as the only jurisdictions where officially sanctioned same-sex marriages are not available.
Federal legislation allowing same-sex marriage has been passed by the House of Commons but must still be approved by the Senate and receive royal assent before becoming law.