A recent ruling by the Canadian Supreme Court has led to some confusion in the marriage sector, with some lawyers and couples seeking clarification on the definition of marriage.
Article Continued BelowArticle Continued On Sunday, Justice Paul MacGregor ruled that a Canadian couple can’t legally marry if they have an invalid marriage certificate or a document issued by the province that doesn’t properly reflect the union.
“It is the province’s responsibility to verify the validity of a marriage certificate,” he said.
But he noted the couple could also request that the province issue a marriage licence to prove that they’re legally married in that province.
The decision comes amid a growing debate about how to define marriage and what rights couples should have.
Some legal experts say it should be defined as a contract between two people.
Others say that if one person is legally married, the other must be.
MacGregor said he was concerned about the confusion caused by the ruling.
“If a person’s marriage is valid in one province and invalid in another province, that is their marriage, and that’s a matter for that province,” he told reporters.
MacMacGregors ruling is a victory for those who argue that couples are entitled to equal treatment in the eyes of the law, regardless of where they live or what province they live in.
“It’s a good day for all Canadians to have a fair hearing,” said Mark Molloy, president of the Canadian Bar Association.
The ruling, which is being closely watched by some legal experts, came after two women filed suit in Ontario in 2012.
They argued that their marriage was valid in the province where they were married, but that it was invalid in the other province.
They also said that their divorce wasn’t valid in Ontario and that they were denied equal treatment under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The judge, however, said the women were wrong and said it was Ontario that should have a legal obligation to make a decision for them.
MacGregors decision is not binding on all courts, but the Ontario Court of Appeal is hearing the case.
The ruling has been welcomed by advocates who say it shows the courts are beginning to recognize that marriage is a legal union and that people can choose their partners based on their circumstances.