Saskatchewan sends message of hope with arrival of same-sex marriage.

Read the decision of the Judicial Centre of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Nov. 5, 2004)




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Legal Canada - Saskatchewan sends message of hope

November 5, 2004

Saskatchewan sends message of hope
7th region in Canada ends marriage discrimination

Saskatchewan became Canada's 7th region to legalize same-sex marriage, this morning, when a court ordered the province to end discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. At a time when much of the international community is dismayed over the reelection of George Bush, Canada's progress in rolling-out gay marriage across the nation sends a message of hope to others seeking to flee state-supported bigotry and intolerance.

Justice Donna Wilson issued her decision after a hearing that took place last Wednesday. The federal government's lawyer told the court they did not contest the application for marriage, but neither did the government consent. Saskatchewan's Justice Minister Frank Quennel also did not challenge the move.

Both sides were reluctant to pay the costs that five couples have incurred in fighting for rights that their government should have given them, without a legal battle. Lawyers for the couples asked the judge to order payment of $10,000 in costs. Justice Wilson agreed.

Although the federal government has said it supports same-sex marriage, its actions have been less supportive than its election posturing. Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal government only stopped trying to prevent the progress of equality when a Yukon court severely criticized the federal government for its hypocrisy and for creating an unequal patchwork of rights across Canada. The judge awarded costs to the couples in that case.

There are still two territories and four provinces that maintain discrimination against gay and lesbian families. Government inaction and delay for political expediency has compelled gays and lesbians to fight for their Charter rights, region-by-region. Same-sex couples can marry in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, the Yukon and Nova Scotia.

Another court case was launched this week in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland by two gay couples. One of the couples involved, Jacqueline Pottle and Noelle French were denied a marriage licence during the 2003 February 14 day of action, and again during this year's Valentine's day of action.

New Brunswick
Justice Minister

Mr. Green,
Justice Minister, New Brunswick

This morning, a court in Saskatchewan ordered the province to end discrimination against gay and lesbian families and legallized same-sex marriage. Lawyers for the couples asked the judge to order payment of $10,000 in costs. Justice Willson agreed.

There is also a pending case in Newfoundland which will make them number 8.

Will we be the last to stop discriminating? Please stop hiding behind the excuse that the Federal government has juristiction over this matter. In 7 provinces the courts forced the governments to make the change. There may soon be a case pending here. Apparently that is the only way you and this government will give us our rights and stop breaking the law.

I ask again... why will you not move on this? When can we expect equal treatment? Please don't take 3 months to reply this time. Thanks.


Larry Dickinson and Jason Curl
New Brunswick

Couples in New Brunswick are also in the preliminary stages of launching a court case in that province, after lawyers responded to an appeal for help.

Meanwhile, the federal government's ineffectual handling of rights for gays and lesbians has increasingly made Parliament irrelevant in the process, largely because they have abdicated their responsibilities and refused to respond to the issue on a timely basis. Instead, the federal politicians have preferred to hide behind committees and the courts, leaving it to judges to protect and honour Canadian Charter rights. (except during elections when our Prime Minister suddenly becomes a freedom fighter).

Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments for and against marriage equality in a botched process intended to review proposed legislation that would roll-out marriage equality across the country. We expect the Supreme Court of Canada to be critical of the discredited Justice Minister Irwin Cotler for allowing politics to pollute the legal process, thereby abusing the Supreme Court of Canada. Cotler, a former professor and now a political lapdog, acts like justice is an academic exercise, not something that impacts real people and their families. His unnecessary delays mean that Parliament may not pass legislation to roll-out the new definition of marriage throughout the country until 2005.

Same-sex couples may well have completed the job by then.

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