Pitting human rights against each other

Saskatchewan marriage commissioners ordered to perform gay marriages
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/14/2011

Legislation that would allow Saskatchewan marriage commissioners to refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies would violate the equality rights of gay and lesbian individuals and is, therefore, unconstitutional, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has ruled.

Allowing government-appointed marriage commissioners to withhold their services because of personal religious convictions would undercut the fundamental principle that government services must be provided to all members of the public on an impartial and non-discriminatory basis, ruled the court.

However, the ruling — which appears to pit two human rights against each other — will have little affect on employers, said Stuart Rudner, an employment lawyer at Miller Thomson in Toronto.