On the Canadian Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling

2 minute read

I’d just like to applaud the Canadian Supreme Court for making what I consider a swift, wise and judicious ruling on constitutionality of same-sex marriage and defending the cause of human rights and equality in Canada.

I haven’t read the full ruling or opinions yet (this is all that is posted at time of writing), but in summary :

  1. Same-sex union is constitutional under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  2. The high court also recognizes the religious freedoms of those who may be opposed to the idea of same-sex marriages religiously, clergy and groups can not be compelled to perform those marriages
  3. Perhaps most importantly, the definition of marriage is a Federal responsibility and provinces are only concerned with the civil ceremonies surrounding the solemnizing of the union, thus preventing province’s from invoking the notwithstanding clause (and knocking down Alberta’s against same-sex union legislation)
  4. The Supreme Court did avoid ruling on the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and woman and punted that down to Parliament

The ruling now paves the way for Parliament to introduce same-sex marriage legislation (which the PM has announced will happen rapidly). If the legislation passes Parliament, this means that Canada would join the Netherlands and Belgium as the third progressive country where same-sex marriage is legally recognized by the state.

Some days it makes me very proud to be Canadian when I see this sort of seminal commitment to equality, justice and rights in this country. It is especially a marked contrast to the recent events by the religious right in the US trying to force through Constitutional amendments against gay marriage.

rights politics