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Same-sex marriage in Nova Scotia

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Same-sex marriage in Nova Scotia: In August 2004, three couples in Nova Scotia brought the suit Boutilier et al. v. Canada (A.G) and Nova Scotia (A.G) against the provincial and federal governments requesting that it issue same-sex marriage licences. [1]

The partners who brought suit were:

  • Brian Mombourquette and Ross Bouthilier
  • Kim Vance and Samantha Meehan, (married in Toronto in 2003 and seeking recognition of the marriage at home in Nova Scotia)
  • Ron and Brian Garnett-Doucette.
  • The couples were represented by Halifax lawyer Sean Foreman of Wickwire Holm.

On September 24, 2004, Justice Heather Robertson of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruled that banning such marriages was unconstitutional and ordered the province to recognize same-sex unions.

Neither the federal nor the provincial governments opposed the ruling, continuing the trend set with the Yukon and Manitoba rulings. The Nova Scotia justice minister said, "We certainly did not want to waste taxpayers' money." However, Premier John Hamm did not say whether he supports same-sex marriage.

An odd proviso to the post-ruling status was that, until a formal change of the provincial Solemnization of Marriage Act, the Minister of Justice still required the terms "husband and wife" to be used by Justices of the Peace in any wedding. This stance by the Justice Department was categorized by some as heterosexist. Shortly afterwards, following warnings of further legal action by the couples' lawyer, the policy was changed to remove that requirement. [2]

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