November 10, 2004
Government responds to same-sex marriage court application
The Department of Justice today announced that government will not take a position for or against the application in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador regarding the common law definition of marriage.
"Government will not oppose, delay or support the application and will defer to the court with respect to the definition of common law," stated Tom Marshall, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. "We will respect the decision of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador."
As the constitutional jurisdiction over the definition of marriage is federal, it is the Attorney General of Canada who has the predominant role in the formulation of the law in this area.
There is currently an application before the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador seeking a declaration requesting that the common law definition of marriage in Newfoundland and Labrador be changed to reflect same-sex unions.
Groups who either support or oppose same-sex marriage have an opportunity to apply to the court for intervener status in order to voice their opinions during the proceedings.
Media contact: Heather Donovan, Justice (709)729-6985 or (709) 690-2498
2004 11 10 10:05 a.m.