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Same-sex marriage in Newfoundland and Labrador

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Template:GR-C Same-sex marriage in Newfoundland and Labrador: Newfoundland and Labrador has issued marriage licences to same-sex couples since December 21, 2004.

On November 4, 2004, two lesbian couples who had been denied marriage licences (Jacqueline Pottle and Noelle French, and Lisa Zigler and Theresa Walsh) filed suit against the federal and provincial governments, requesting that the provincial government be ordered to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples.

Newfoundland and Labrador thus became the eighth of Canada's thirteen provinces and territories to have such a lawsuit filed. The federal government recently ceased to oppose such lawsuits, and in fact supported the plaintiff's side. [1] The provincial attorney general announced that his office will not oppose the suit. [2] The case began on December 13, 2004, [3] and was heard starting December 20, 2004. [4]

Justice Derek Green took only one day to decide to follow the precedents from the other provinces and Yukon and order that same-sex couples in Newfoundland and Labrador be issued marriage licences and as of December 21, 2004 same-sex marriage is legal in Newfoundland and Labrador. Newfoundland and Labrador Justice Minister Tom Marshall indicated that the government would comply immediately. Ms. Pottle and Ms. French were married on December 23 by Andy Wells, mayor of St. John's. [5]

However, some officiants, including Gander mayor Claude Elliott, said that they would refuse to officiate at such ceremonies. [6] The provincial government warned its civil marriage commissioners, such as mayors or justices of the peace, that they must perform these marriages or resign, as the marriages are now legal. [7] This mirrors an earlier move by the Manitoba provincial government.

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