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government removes hurdle for foreign same-sex couples

government removes hurdle for foreign same-sex couples

The Canadian government ruled last week that same-sex couples married outside Canada will now be fully recognized as spouses for immigration purposes, removing one of the last remnants of official discrimination against gay couples in the country, The [Montreal] Gazette reports.

A policy against allowing this type of legal recognition was put in place in June 2004 after Quebec became the third province to legalize same-sex marriage. After same-sex marriage became legal nationwide in 2005, the restrictions on recognition of foreign same-sex marriages remained in place.

The policy recognized same-sex marriages for immigration purposes only if the ceremony was performed in Canada and if at least one of the partners was Canadian or a permanent resident, according to the Gazette. "If you were married outside Canada, you cannot apply to sponsor your same-sex partner as a spouse," it stated.

The decision is "an important victory," said Bill Siksay, a member of parliament and critic of the previous policy. "It really does affirm that Canada recognizes the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples in exactly the same way as heterosexual couples." (The Advocate)

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