Supreme Court of Canada ruling on same sex marriages was made today, in the morning, and to no surprise, the highest court in the land has upheld most of the lower courts decisions based on this issue. As it stands in Canada, about half of the provenances and territories have allowed same sex marriages, while the rest have said otherwise. Todays ruling has answered what the roll the federal government plays, according to constitutional law and how much power the provinces have accordingly.
The supporters of the ruling were, as to be expected, very happy, while leaders of some churches and right wing political and fundamental groups were staunchly unhappy. The precedence that this sets in Canada, will no doubt play a roll on our families, culture and social acceptance of all people. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms 1983, guarantees freedom of all people to freedom of expression, while at the same time, freedom of religion. Though some churches will continue not to support same sex marriages in some provinces that choose not to accommodate the ruling, some will be put into awkward positions as each province does have the power on how to implement its jurisprudence.
My thumbnail sketch of todays ruling:
___The first question___: Who has jurisdiction on marriage. The Supreme Court answered this by saying, the federal government does under the Constitution. However, the provinces have the right to implement the way in which the constitution sets out according to BNA(British North America).Act of 1867.
___The second question___: All civil marriages must include same-sex marriages by definition. If the government enacts a law that states otherwise, then the charter would make that law ultra vires.
___The third question___: Churches will not be put into a position to be forced into doing same sex marriages, under the charter. The court really did nothing here, as this would be the norm.
___The fourth question___: Because the federal government has not made its mind up, the court was not going to make its decisions by creating laws on the matter. So the court said that it would not answer this question. The federal government should make the laws according to the constitution.
The court was unanimous.