Same-sex marriage is legal in B.C., but only opposite sex couples have right to control decisions about deceased love ones?


Bill 3 - 2004
Cremation, Interment and
Funeral Services Act




Liberal House Leader Gary Collins said the government will not proclaim the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act law until it resolves the burial concerns of same-sex couples.

"We won't be proclaiming the act until such time as we can come to a conclusion on that."
CP, March 25, 2021


"We are worried. We're not happy. We don't trust you and we're watching you!"
Gilles Marchildon, Egale Canada,
Mar. 31, 2004



Same-sex marriage arrives in B.C. (flag designed by Greg Gomes)




B.C. marriage commissioners must perform same-sex marriages or resign




Send this page to a friend!


Legal News Canada - B.C. - Vigilance required, even in victory

March 27, 2004 (Updated Mar. 31)

Vigilance required, even in victory
B.C. government almost buried equal rights

"Same-sex couples no longer have any authority to make decisions about the remains of deceased loved ones," said a statement by Joy MacPhail, NDP house leader. "It shows that the B.C. Liberals just don't care about protecting the rights of same-sex couples."
(CP, Mar. 25, 2004)

While we were still celebrating the same-sex marriage victory in Quebec, we received the following note from British Columbia marriage advocate Lloyd Thornhill:

Quebec Courts Giveth,
B.C. Government Taketh Away

Less than a week after a major decision by the Quebec Court of Appeal, giving same-sex couples the unfettered right to marry, the liberal government of British Columbia has repealed a section of the Cremation, Internment and Funeral Services Act. The section that was repealed:

"51(1) (b) …If living with the deceased at the time of death, a person who (i) was married to the deceased, or (ii) was living and cohabitating with the deceased in a marriage-like relationship, including a marriage-like relationship between persons of the same gender."

[The removed section stripped same-sex couples of the right to control what happens to the remains of a deceased partner; an astonishing move, on the heals of same-sex marriage in that province.]

Joy MacPhail, leader of the opposition asked why this section was removed, since it had been there from 1996?

Honourable Rick Coleman responded that the definition of spouse will be added by definition, and we will add that through regulation, as I understand it, is so we would have the ability to adjust it as society needed us to adjust.

After some debate, and the following comment by Ms. MacPhail, I must say, Mr. Chair, that I'll have to watch every other piece of legislation now to see what rights this government is removing from gay and lesbian families. I find it shameful, and on the basis of this change, on this removal of a right that people have had for eight years.

The vote was taken:

Against: Ms. MacPhail, Ms. Kwan, Mr. Mayencourt, Mr. Neberling ( The two openly gay members of the liberal caucus and Ms. Sheila Orr, liberal).

For: 74 members of the liberal caucus.

["This new change in the legislation is nothing short of regressive and discriminatory. It also begs the question, how did this happen in the first place?" Ms. MacPhail asked in an email sent to this web site. "The removal of this right was buried in the Act, and no member of the BC Liberal government made any attempt to highlight the changes. Not even Lorne Mayencourt, MLA for Vancouver Burrard who voted against it. Is it not Mr. Mayencourt's responsibility to raise these issues when they come forth in Caucus? Why did he wait until the NDP discovered and raised this blatant reversal of rights before piping up on the issue?"

Canadian Press (Mar. 23) reported Mayencourt is attempting to reach Premier Gordon Campbell.

"Lorne has asked to talk to me. I haven't had a chance to talk to him," the Premier said.]

I sent an email to Premier Campbell, asking for an explanation regarding this mean-spirited and offensive change to all common-law couples. He has yet to respond. To voice your concern I am including both the Premier's email address, along with Joy McPhail, the opposition leader.

Please join us in a letter writing campaign to demand our rights from politicians - Click here to learn more

Join us as we legalize same-sex marriage.  Subscribe to our free newsletter

MailLink to our media coverage of related issues.