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In April 2005, four same-sex couples filed a court challenge against the government's policy against issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples. The couples include prominent New Brunswick gay rights advocate Art Vautour-Toole and his husband Wayne Toole (who have been married in Ontario), as well as Catherine Sidney and Bridget McGale and two other couples. (CBC)
On June 23 of that year, Judge Judy Clendenning of the Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick in Moncton issued a ruling that the province's failure to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples was a violation of their Charter rights, in accordance with the court rulings in other provinces. She allowed a ten-day grace period to the government in which to begin issuing same-sex marriage licences. (CBC New Brunswick)
New Brunswick's Justice Minister Brad Green announced in September 2004 that the Government of New Brunswick will not follow in the footsteps of Nova Scotia in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He said that the definition is a federal matter, and the province will recognize only marriages between a man and a woman until the federal government comes up with another definition.
Premier Bernard Lord indicated that if and when the federal government passes such legislation, his government will comply with it. (CBC New Brunswick) He also indicated he would comply with a court ruling.