The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador will hear the gay marriage case today in St. John's. The court case was brought by two lesbian couples. The federal government and provincial government are not opposing the challenge of the law by the two lesbian couples.
The federal government is supporting the two lesbian couples in the attempt to gain the right to marry. This is the first time the government has done this. This is consistent with the federal Liberal government's plan to introduce an amendment to Canada's marriage law to allow same-sex couples to marry.
A Pastor from Newfoundland and Labrador has been granted an opportunity to present the case for maintaining the current definition of marriage in that province, which describes marriage as being between a man and a woman.
"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 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."
"Isn't it about love, isn't it about spending the rest of your life together?"
I hope to have news of the decision here later today.
Rick Barnes is 46, recently moved to Kelowna BC 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.