News Story, 2004-12-23, 6:16 a.m.
I'm so proud I live in a place with a clue. And that understands that we've all got the same rights under the constitution. A story, from CBC.ca
ST. JOHN'S — The Newfoundland Supreme Court has cleared the way for two lesbian couples – and for all same-sex couples that follow – to marry legally.
Judge Derek Green ruled Tuesday afternoon on the issue, making Newfoundland and Labrador the eighth jurisdiction to sanction same-sex marriage.
Jacqueline Pottle and Noelle French
Jacqueline Pottle and Noelle French are one of the couples wishing to marry legally
Two St. John's couples – Jacqueline Pottle and Noelle French, and Lisa Zigler and Theresa Walsh – were asking for the right to marry legally.
They had applied earlier for marriage licences, but were rejected.
Pottle and French were thrilled as Green delivered his decision.
"We vowed to be married by Christmas," Pottle says.
"And now it's going to come true."
Pottle says the court decision represents a leap for minority rights, and a personal victory.
"I think it's the respect we get from society," she says.
On the eve of the Supreme Court of Canada decision earlier this month, the CBC's Lynda Calvert filed this profile of Jacqueline Pottle and Noelle French.
"For us, it's just about that next level of commitment – that lifetime commitment that we can now make in front of our family and friends."
Licences will be issued immediately: Marshall
Justice Minister Tom Marshall says he has instructed government staff to issue licences to gay couples who ask for them.
"I am duty bound to uphold and apply the law. The law has been changed," Marshall says.
Cabinet will now debate whether marriage commissioners will be required to marry same-sex couples, if they object on religious grounds.
Marshall says cabinet will make that decision early in the New Year.
Gander Mayor Claude Elliott says he and some other mayors will not participate in same-sex ceremonies.
Elliott has said he would stop officiating at marriages altogether.
'Apex of moral depravity'
Pastor Gordon Young, who runs a St. John's evangelical church, was disappointed by the decision.
"In Canada, we're approaching the apex of moral depravity," says Young, who was granted standing during the case.
"We're changing the essence of an institution that we've always had for centuries, and changing it into something that will never be the same again," Young says.
The decision came only hours after federal cabinet representative John Efford met with church leaders opposed to same-sex marriage.
Efford says he will not reveal whether or not he will support a pending government bill on same-sex marriage until January, after he meets with Prime Minister Paul Martin.
The decision comes in the wake of a Supreme Court of Canada ruling this month that cleared the way for the Liberal government to introduce a bill early in the New Year giving gays and lesbians the legal right to marry.
Same-sex couples can also marry in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and the Yukon.
I think that it's bull that a mayor won't do it, but at least he's being an equal opportunities ass and not doing any marriages. And it's not all mayors. The one of my town and the neighbouring bedroom city seem to have a competition to see who will do the first one - and the neighbouring city mayor is doing one on new years eve. And the radio station wants to air a ceremoney if anyone is interested in doing it that way. So I'm pleased. I would have been so ashamed of where I live had we said that no same sex marriages were allowed.