Legal Canada - Saskatchewan sends message of hope
November 5, 2004
sends message of hope
Saskatchewan became Canada's 7th region to legalize same-sex marriage, this morning, when a court ordered the province to end discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. At a time when much of the international community is dismayed over the reelection of George Bush, Canada's progress in rolling-out gay marriage across the nation sends a message of hope to others seeking to flee state-supported bigotry and intolerance.
Justice Donna Wilson issued her decision after a hearing that took place last Wednesday. The federal government's lawyer told the court they did not contest the application for marriage, but neither did the government consent. Saskatchewan's Justice Minister Frank Quennel also did not challenge the move.
Both sides were reluctant to pay the costs that five couples have incurred in fighting for rights that their government should have given them, without a legal battle. Lawyers for the couples asked the judge to order payment of $10,000 in costs. Justice Wilson agreed.
Couples in New Brunswick are also in the preliminary stages of launching a court case in that province, after lawyers responded to an appeal for help.
Meanwhile, the federal government's ineffectual handling of rights for gays and lesbians has increasingly made Parliament irrelevant in the process, largely because they have abdicated their responsibilities and refused to respond to the issue on a timely basis. Instead, the federal politicians have preferred to hide behind committees and the courts, leaving it to judges to protect and honour Canadian Charter rights. (except during elections when our Prime Minister suddenly becomes a freedom fighter).
Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments for and against marriage equality in a botched process intended to review proposed legislation that would roll-out marriage equality across the country. We expect the Supreme Court of Canada to be critical of the discredited Justice Minister Irwin Cotler for allowing politics to pollute the legal process, thereby abusing the Supreme Court of Canada. Cotler, a former professor and now a political lapdog, acts like justice is an academic exercise, not something that impacts real people and their families. His unnecessary delays mean that Parliament may not pass legislation to roll-out the new definition of marriage throughout the country until 2005.
Same-sex couples may well have completed the job by then.