Canada

Sask. court approves same-sex marriage

Saskatchewan will become the seventh jurisdiction in Canada to allow same-sex marriages, a judge ruled Friday.

A judge in Saskatoon has ruled that refusing to grant same-sex couples a marriage licence violates their charter rights under the Constitution.

With Friday's ruling, Saskatchewan becomes the seventh jurisdiction in Canada to allow gays and lesbians to legally marry.

In a five-page ruling, Justice Donna Wilson decided that the traditional definition of marriage discriminates against gay couples.

"The common-law definition of marriage for civil purposes is declared to be 'the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others,'' " Wilson wrote.

She made the decision after hearing from five gay and lesbian couples who were denied marriage licences in the province.

Neither the provincial nor the federal government contested their application to have the definition changed.

"This really is about recognition. It's about legitimacy. And it's about being on an equal footing and an equal playing field in our society," said Erin Scriven, a Saskatoon woman who along with her partner, Lisa Stumborg, will legally tie the knot Saturday.

Similar legal challenges have succeeded in other provinces. Same-sex couples can marry in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, the Yukon and Nova Scotia.

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* Coverage from CBC Saskatchewan

Two gay couples in Newfoundland said on Thursday that they are launching a similar court challenge in their province.

Supreme Court rejected bid to stop gay marriages

In early October, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected a bid by religious and family groups to stop same-sex marriage.

The top court upheld a ruling by an Ontario court that found the traditional definition of marriage to be unconstitutional.

The Association for Marriage and the Family in Ontario and the Interfaith Coalition on Marriage and Family had hoped to appeal the ruling after the federal government refused to do so.

The Liberals have drafted legislation to allow same-sex marriage and referred it to the Supreme Court for an opinion.

If the Supreme Court decides that the draft legislation is constitutional, it will be put to a free vote in the House of Commons – meaning members of Parliament would not have to vote along party lines.

If the bill passes, Canada would become the third country to allow same-sex marriage.

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