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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
December 24, 2004

Same-sex marriage spreads
to another Canadian province

St. John�s, Newfoundland--The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador ruled in favor of same-sex marriage on December 21, bringing to eight the number of provinces and territories in Canada with full same-sex marriage.

The decision by Chief Justice Derek Green means that 87% of Canadian citizens now live in areas with same-sex marriage.

The suit was brought by two lesbian couples against the province, and the federal government supported the couple�s side before the court.

Many viewed the case to be a mere technicality, as no court has ruled against same-sex marriage rights in Canada since the beginning of the current tide of opinions in the 1990s.

Parliament will be considering a bill this winter to institute same-sex marriage federally. The three most populous provinces, Ontario, Qu�bec and British Columbia, already allow it.

The bill was referred to the Supreme Court of Canada last summer for an opinion on its constitutionality. The court found December 9 that it passed constitutional muster, including a clause exempting religious organizations opposed to same-sex marriage from performing them.

Conservatives are trying to derail the bill with amendments to keep marriage as an opposite-sex institution while creating nationwide civil unions for same-sex couples. However courts have already ruled that the �separate but equal� approach is not satisfactory.

Other leaders of the Conservative party are trying to force a national referendum, although a July 1 survey found that 57% of Canadians favor same-sex marriage.

In addition to British Columbia, Ontario and Qu�bec, the Yukon Territory, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia already allow full same-sex marriage. Alberta, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories still do not allow it.


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