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Ontario Court Permits Same-Sex Marriage

An Ontario appeals court ruled last Tuesday that Canada’s legal definition of marriage was invalid and discriminated against lesbians and gay men. If the federal government refrains from filing an appeal to Canada’s Supreme Court by the end of June, the Ontario ruling will become the official law of the land, according to the Associated Press. The Ontario court redefined marriage as gender-neutral, “the voluntary union for life of two persons to the exclusion of all others,” according to the Guardian. The court ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marry was akin to declaring they are a lesser order of human being, according to the Guardian.

Canada would become only the third country in the world to formally legalize lesbian and gay marriage. The other two countries that have formally legalized same-sex marriages are the Netherlands and Belgium.

The Netherlands passed legislation in 2000 that fully legalized same-sex marriages including rights to divorce and adoption of children. The Netherlands was the first nation in the world to enact such a comprehensive law and led the world in the most progressive lesbian and gay policies.

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Sources:

Reuters 6/13/03; Guardian 6/16/03; Associated Press 6/12/03