Newfoundland and Labrador next Gay Marriage battle

Newfoundland and Labrador next Gay Marriage battle

Newfoundland could be the next province in Canada to allow same-sex marriages.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court will hear a case brought to them by two lesbian couples were forced to take their case to marry to court in the absence of a federal law providing them the right to marry. Their action follows on that of other gays and lesbians across Canada in six provinces and the Yukon. In each case that has gone to Court the decision has been to declare the current federal law unconstitutional.

"We love each other, we built a home together," Lisa Ziegler and Theresa Walsh , one of four women involved in the lawsuit, we are a family and this is the last step of getting official recognition as a family."

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador have stated they will not oppose the application and it is expected the federal government will not. The federal government has not appealed any decision made by the courts to the Supreme Court.

The Lawyer for the couple, Sean Foreman told CBC,
"What is unacceptable for gays and lesbians in the remaining provinces in Canada is that government agreed that it was unconstitutional to deny marriage rights, yet everyone else is supposed to wait while Parliament gets it acts together."

Commenting on the proposed federal law allowing gays and lesbians to marry, provincial Justice Minister Tom Marshall says, "The previous law has been that marriage is a union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, we've enforced that law, if the Parliament of Canada or the Supreme Court of Newfoundland should change the law, we'll enforce that law."

"Marriage is between a man and a woman, but can't it also be between a woman and a woman?" says Noelle French, who wants to marry Jacqueline Pottle.

"Isn't it about love, isn't it about spending the rest of your life together?"

Rick Barnes

Rick Barnes is 46, lives in Victoria and has been an advocate for queer and social justice issues in BC, Canada and internationally. He currently is the editor of GLBTQ news for Peace, earth and Justice, a nonprofit society supporting education and advocacy for equal rights, social justice, the environment and anti-war.

With files from CP and CBC


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