LifeSite News

Justice Louise Lemelin of the Quebec Superior Court struck down the federal marriage law Sept. 6, ruling the exclusion of homosexual partners from marriage is “unconstitutional.” Earlier this year, Quebec agreed to recognize same-sex “civil unions.”

Justice Lemelin opined that it would be simple for the government to change the law by replacing the words “between a man and a woman” with “between two people.”

“Requiring couples to be heterosexual to enter into marriage cannot be imposed by a legislature because it is a fundamental right,” she wrote. The distinction “undermines human dignity and denies the applicants’ equality rights under section 15 of the Charter … The secularization of marriage … requires government to recognize that the institution is a civil one and cannot be defined exclusively by religion.

“We are no longer living in the homogeneous society of a century ago. Multiculturalism, diverse religious beliefs and the secularization of many societal institutions all testify to the openness of Canadian society … The state must ensure respect for each citizen, but no group has the right to impose its values on others or define a civil institution.”

The federal government, in whose jurisdiction marriage falls, has appealed a similar Ontario decision. John Fisher, executive director of the gay rights organization EGALE Canada, said, “I think if they force this to the Supreme Court, the result is a foregone conclusion. When you tell a group of Canadians that they don’t have the same rights to marry that other Canadians do, that’s discrimination.”