Canadian Court rules government officials can’t refuse to marry same-sex couples

Some day, some day maybe we’ll see more Judges in the United States write decisions like this one by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeals about marriage. Some government officials wanted to be able to refuse to conduct weddings for same-sex couples. But, our neighbors to the North are much more advanced when it comes to full equality. The Court said no:

The court was asked to consider two options: allowing all marriage commissioners the right to refuse same-sex couples or including a “grandfathering option” that would allow commissioners appointed before November, 2004, to say no.

The court said both would be out of line with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because they would violate the equality rights of gay and lesbians.

“The historical marginalization and mistreatment of gay and lesbian individuals is well known,” Mr. Justice Robert Richards wrote on behalf of three of the five judges. “They have been able to recently claim the right to marry only after travelling a very difficult and contentious road.”

The federal government passed legislation in the summer of 2005 allowing same-sex marriages.

“Accordingly, putting gays and lesbians in a situation where a marriage commissioner can refuse to provide his or her services solely because of their sexual orientation would clearly be a retrograde step – a step that would perpetuate disadvantage and involve stereotypes about the worthiness of same-sex unions,” the justice wrote.

Canada really does treat its citizens equally. Some day that will be true for same-sex couples in the United States. Hopefully sooner, rather than later.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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