Judge Judy Clendenning ruled Thursday in favor of four homosexual couples, who argued that the Atlantic province’s definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman violated their rights.
The ruling gives the province 10 days to change the definition of civil marriage to “a lawful union between two persons." The judge denied church-based groups intervener status in the case because she said her ruling would not infringe on their religion freedom.
New Brunswick is the ninth of 13 Canadian jurisdictions to change the definition of marriage by court order. The other eight include seven provinces — British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland — and Yukon Territory.
At this point, only Prince Edward Island, Alberta, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories do not recognize same-sex marriage.
Previously, New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord had said he personally holds to the traditional definition of marriage but the provincial government would not contest if the courts or Parliament changed the definition.
.- A court decision made New Brunswick the eighth province in Canada to allow same-sex couples to get a marriage license.