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Canadian court
rules same-sex affairs count as adultery

Canadian court
rules same-sex affairs count as adultery

A Canadian woman won a divorce on Tuesday after a Vancouver court conceded that her husband's affair with another man did in fact amount to adultery. In the first case of its kind in the country, the British Columbia supreme court granted a woman, identified only as Ms. P., an immediate divorce from her husband of 17 years after he admitted to having had an affair with a younger man.

In February, Justice Nicole Garson had declined to grant the divorce, arguing that the common-law definition of adultery did not include same-sex affairs. But Garson told the woman that she would hear the case again if a lawyer would argue why the legal definition of adultery should include extramarital same-sex relations. Because of a court order, the woman cannot be named. "We argued that the historic definition of adultery, which is limited to sex between a spouse and someone of the opposite gender, was anachronistic in light of changes to the Marriage Act and changes to the understanding of same-sex marriage and divorce," said Ms. P.'s lawyer, Barbara Findlay. Canada is one of a handful of countries that has legalized same-sex marriage, acting in response to court rulings that said a ban on same-sex unions amounted to discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Ms. P., a 44-year-old Vancouver resident, filed for divorce in December 2004 after discovering the affair. Her ex-husband acknowledged the extramarital relationship in January. Canadian law allows for an immediate divorce if one side admits adultery. A no-fault divorce is possible after a one-year separation because the marriage has broken down. (Reuters)

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