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Same-sex marriages (SSM) in Saskatchewan, Canada

Events lead up to legalization of SSM

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Events leading up to SSM in Saskatchewan: 

  • 2001-JUL-06: Omnibus legislation becomes law: A bill passed by the Saskatchewan legislature was given Royal Assent and became law on JUL-06. It is called "The Miscellaneous Statutes (Domestic Relations) Amendment Act." It changed the definition of "spouse" in 24 provincial statutes to treat same-sex couples on a par with married couples, in areas such as adoption, spousal support, inheritance rights, pensions, survivor benefits and matrimonial property. However, SSM was still prohibited. Almost any opposite-sex couple who met age restrictions could marry in the province; no same-sex couple -- no matter what the nature of their relationship -- were allowed to marry. 1
  • 2003-APR-03: Green Alliance party supports SSM: The Saskatchewan New Green Alliance sent a brief to Parliament's Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. They wrote, in part:
    "Giving same sex couples the same range of choices as opposite sex couples is a simple question of fairness and human dignity. Either this government supports equality or it does not. For this committee to recommend that same sex couples be barred from civil marriage or be forced to accept some alternative registration scheme is to recommend the continuation of discrimination, unfairness, and inequality -- hardly the values of a free and just society." 2
  • 2003-APR: CUPE supports same-sex marriage: The Canadian Union of Public Employees, Saskatchewan Division, submitted a brief to Parliament's Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. It said, in part:
    "It is the intention of CUPE Saskatchewan to firmly convey to this standing committee that, of the four options put forward by the Department of Justice as detailed in its discussion paper on marriage in the context of Canadian law, released November 2002, the only valid option is 'legislating equal marriage rights for Lesbian and Gay Canadians.' We strongly urge this committee to put forward this option as its recommendation to the Government of Canada. To choose any of the remaining three options (retain the opposite-sex definition of marriage; create an 'equivalent' to marriage for same-sex couples; or, create a registration system for all conjugal relationships in which marriage would be a strictly religious ceremony) would serve only to maintain the discrimination which resonates in the current legal definition of marriage. CUPE Saskatchewan supports legislating equal or same-sex marriage and contends that there have been no substantiated reports claiming that the people of Canada would be done harm in any way by such legislation." 3
  • 2004-MAY-25: Opinion poll: Leger Marketing conducted a public opinion poll which revealed that
    •  43% of all Canadians were in favor of SSM;
    • 47% were opposed.
    • Only 38% of adults in the Prairie provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba favored SSM; 50% were opposed; 12% were undecided or refused to answer. These data probably reflect the larger number of religious conservatives in the Prairie provinces compared to the rest of Canada. 4

  • 2004-SEP-24: Status of SSM: On this date, a court in Nova Scotia ruled that the province's marriage legislation was unconstitutional because it prohibited same-sex couples from marrying. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation interviewed a lesbian couple in Saskatchewan: Danielle Lanouette and Francois Hetu. They live in Saskatoon and have been a committed couple for more than two years. They feel that gay and lesbian couples who want to get married should have the legal right to do so. Lanouette said:
    "It's a recognition of our relationships and this is probably the most important thing to me. We are often seen as marginalized people...and to be able to access the institution of marriage, for a lot of gay and lesbian people, it's ending the state of marginalization. [If the law is changed to allow SSM, then same-sex couples] ... will feel 'I'm part of this Canadian family and I'm accepted' and one way to show this acceptance is to say you can get married just like anyone else in Canada." 5

As of 2004-SEP, no province or territory in Canada had pro-actively granted marriage rights to same-sex couples. All have waited until a court took the initiative and ordered them to start issuing marriage licenses. However, Frank Quennell, the Justice Minister of Saskatchewan, has indicated that he would not resist if a same-sex couple steps forward with a case in that province. He said:

"It is clearly federal jurisdiction. In the absence of a court decision, we are reluctant to enter into it unilaterally...we want to respect the certainty of marriages. We don't want a situation we see in the States where we see one thing and the federal government says something else and people who were married are no longer married." 5

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Saskatchewan," Equal Marriage, at:
  2. "A question of fairness and dignity: Saskatchewan New Green Alliance Party," Same Sex Marriage, 2003-APR-03, at:
  3. Sinda Cathcart, "Same-sex marriage: Positive change toward equality," CUPE, Saskatchewan, 2003-APR, at:
  4. "Canadians and their Tolerance towards Homosexuality," Leger Marketing, 2004-MAY-25, at:
  5. "Same-sex marriage could soon be legal in Sask.," CBC, 2004-SEP-24, at:

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 Home page > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Canada > Saskatchewan > here

Copyright © 2004 to 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-OCT-11
Latest update: 2008-DEC-03
Author: B.A. Robinson

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