The fifth Canadian jurisdiction legalized same-sex marriage last week. Manitoba follows Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and the Yukon Territory in redefining marriage as the union of two persons rather than as the union of a man and a woman.
The lack of legal opposition helped push the case, which was filed by three lesbian couples, through the court in a little more than three weeks, reported the Winnipeg Free Press. The Manitoba case was also the first time the federal government did not present legal opposition.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Douglas Yard said he reviewed the case in light of the precedents set by the four cases in the other provinces and territories. He said the cumulative effect of the four decisions meant restricting marriage to a man and a woman in Canada is unconstitutional, reported the Free Press.
The Atlantic province of Nova Scotia is set to make a decision on the issue within the next three weeks.
The federal government asked the Supreme Court of Canada to review draft legislation that would alter the definition of marriage to include same sex couples. The review is scheduled to take place next month.
The Archdiocese of Winnipeg said the court’s decision was regrettable and that marriage should be recognized only as the union of one man and one woman with the aim of procreation and the raising of children.