Canadian official must appeal pro-gay ruling, lawmakers say

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com June 04 2003 11:00 PM ET

Cross-country hearings and months of work will be wasted unless Canada's justice minister, Martin Cauchon, appeals a court ruling allowing same-sex marriage, say many of his own party's MPs. Cauchon must ask the country's supreme court to review a May 1 judgment by the British Columbia court of appeal by June 30. Otherwise, the British Columbia ruling legalizing marriage rights for gay people will stand.

"We just wasted our time for the last six months doing our job if you just abandon the thing and allow the courts to decide," Liberal MP John McKay said Tuesday in an interview. McKay sits on the Commons justice committee that gathered passionate input from those for and against same-sex weddings. The all-party committee is drafting a much-anticipated report on how the parliament should handle the thorny social issue. But court judgments ordering legalization of same-sex marriage put elected lawmakers in a straitjacket, McKay said. Cauchon should appeal, "otherwise you have no maneuvering room at all," McKay said.

Courts in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia have ruled that the common-law definition of marriage as "the voluntary union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others" unjustifiably violates equality rights.