Same-sex marriages (SSM) in Saskatchewan, Canada
More reactions to the 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
Reactions to the court ruling:
Some comments by various non-profit groups:
- Larry Hubich, President of the Saskatchewan Federation of
"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
- 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:
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."
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
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.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Court extends equal marriage to Saskatchewan. Increased Costs
Awarded Against Both Province and Feds," Canadians for Equal
Marriage, 2004-NOV-05. at:
- Darren Yourk, " Saskatchewan to allow same-sex marriages," Globe and Mail,
Copyright © 2004 to 2008 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-OCT-11
Latest update: 2008-DEC-03
Author: B.A. Robinson