A Newfoundland court ruling on Tuesday made the maritime province Canada's seventh to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed. The Newfoundland ruling comes after the supreme court of Canada ruled earlier this month that the federal government has sole authority to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. Prime Minister Paul Martin said after the supreme court's ruling that since judges in six of Canada's 10 provinces and one of its territories already allow same-sex marriage, it should be approved nationwide. He said his government would introduce a bill in January.
The bill is expected to pass by about 25 votes in Ottawa's 308-seat parliament with the backing of the leftist New Democrat Party and the regional Bloc Quebecois. If the legislation is approved by parliament, Canada would become the third country--along with Belgium and the Netherlands--to embrace same-sex marriage.
Two Newfoundland couples--Jacqueline Pottle and Noelle French, and Lisa Zigler and Theresa Walsh--sought the right to marry legally. They had applied earlier for marriage licenses but were rejected. Newfoundland justice minister Tom Marshall said earlier this month the provincial government would not oppose the court ruling.