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Same-sex marriages (SSM) in Saskatchewan, Canada

More reactions to the court ruling.


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Court ruling:

Saskatchewan became the seventh Canadian jurisdiction to allow same-sex marriages on 2004-NOV-5, when Madam Justice Donna Wilson of the Court of Queen's Bench ruled  that the traditional definition of marriage, as it then existed, discriminated against gay and lesbian couples.

The Government of Saskatchewan and the federal government were each ordered to pay $1,000 in legal costs to each of the five couples who brought the application.


Reactions to the court ruling:

  • Some comments by various non-profit groups:

    • Larry Hubich, President of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour said:
      "This decision shows that the [Canadian] Charter [of Rights and Freedoms] means something here in Saskatchewan. We cannot allow discrimination to continue against one group of people without putting everyone's rights at risk. Providing equal access to civil marriage not only respects equality rights, it also protects religious freedom, by allowing religious officials to choose for themselves whether or not to perform marriages for same-sex couples."
    • Donna Smith of the Saskatchewan chapter of Canadians for Equal Marriage, said:
      "Civil marriage is a public institution and should be open to all people, regardless of their sexual orientation. Equal marriage furthers Canadian values like inclusion, mutual respect and freedom from political or social prejudice. Equal marriage strengthens families. Our families need support just as much as opposite-sex families."
    • Laurie Arron, Director of Advocacy of Egale Canada, said:
      "85% of Canada's population now enjoys full marriage equality. Equal marriage diminishes no one. Canada is being strengthened by the inclusion of these loving, committed couples."
    • Cicely McWilliam of Canadians for Equal Marriage said:
      "We look forward to the day when all Canadians have the equal right to marry, when Parliament finally passes legislation to make that a reality. Until then, we call on all the remaining provinces and territories to accept equal marriage and begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples." 1
  • The plaintiffs' lawyer, Greg Walen of Saskatoon law firm Scharfstein Gibbings Walen & Fisher, said:

    "The judge found that it is unconstitutional to exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage and changed the law to include them. The judge agreed with the Ontario Court of Appeal that 'the dignity of persons in same-sex relationships is violated by the exclusion of same-sex couples from the institution of marriage.'" 2
  • Saskatchewan Justice Minister Frank Quennell has said the provincial government will not appeal the ruling. This was probably a good decision, because SSM had been legalized in every province or territory where the constitutionality of banning SSM was challenged in the courts.

We were unable to find any news releases at the time from groups opposed to same-sex marriage in Saskatchewan.

Federal bill C-38 was officially proclaimed as law on 2005-JUL-20. It legalized SSM across all of Canada. It took the government of Prince Edward Island (PEI) a month to adapt to the new law. Faced with a lawsuit launched by a lesbian couple who wanted to marry in PEI, that government capitulated and suddenly found a way to issue same-sex marriage licenses.


References used:

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

  1. "Court extends equal marriage to Saskatchewan. Increased Costs Awarded Against Both Province and Feds," Canadians for Equal Marriage, 2004-NOV-05. at: http://www.equal-marriage.ca/
  2. Darren Yourk, " Saskatchewan to allow same-sex marriages," Globe and Mail, 2004-NOV-05, at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Site navigation:

 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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