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Saskatchewan court signals resounding support for same-sex marriage, Sask Party backs off attack

A January 10 decision by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeals firmly rebuked the Sask Party government’s proposed laws that would have given marriage commissioners the right to refuse to marry same-sex couples on religious grounds.

A panel of five judges unanimously agreed that the proposed amendments to the Marriage Act offended the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Among the stronger statements in the decision, Justice Robert Richards said that had the court agreed to the amendments, the effect would have been akin to allowing government officers to tell people ’I won’t help you because you are black (or Asian or First Nations) but someone else will’.

Now the government is announcing they’re backing down from further attacks on the right for same-sex couples to wed.

Saskatchewan Justice Minister Don Morgan admitted the government would accept the court’s decision.

“We looked at the decision carefully when it came down and the decision was very clear and unequivocal,” Morgan told the Star Phoenix.

CUPE Saskatchewan president Tom Graham applauded the decision, calling it a victory for equality.

We’re really pleased to see the court came out firmly in support of same sex marriage,” said Graham.

Graham says he’s also pleased the government decided not to appeal the unanimous ruling of the five justices.

CUPE has been a long-time supporter of LGBTTI rights, including the right to marry. The union’s National Pink Triangle Committee was formed in 1991, with the goal to create an inclusive society where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual and intersex persons can access the same rights others enjoy. Delegates at the 2003 CUPE National Convention passed a resolution that directs the union to combat marriage discrimination.