British Columbia court lifts moratorium on same-sex 'marriage'

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (BP)--A second Canadian province has cleared the way for homosexuals to "marry." The British Columbia Court of Appeal lifted a one-year moratorium on same-sex "marriages" July 8, following an Ontario court ruling that gives homosexuals within the province the right to "marry."

The Canadian government said June 17 it would not appeal the Ontario ruling and moved to draft a law legalizing same-sex "marriage."

The British Columbia Appeal Court had earlier ruled in favor of same-sex "marriages" but imposed a ban until July 2004 to permit the federal government to draft a new law redefining marriage, according to The Toronto Star July 8.

But after the Ontario ruling, homosexual activists asked the British Columbia court to revisit the moratorium. The three-member Appeal Court panel said that neither the British Columbia nor federal attorneys general were opposed to lifting the ban, the Star reported. In their ruling, they cited an unequal application of the law between Ontario and British Columbia.

"That's two provinces down, and may they all fall quickly like dominoes now," Jane Hamilton, who, with her partner Joy Masuhara, was part of the original British Columbia lawsuit to make same-sex "marriage" legal, said in The Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto July 9.

Nine of 10 provinces have said they will accept the Canadian government's plan to recognize same-sex marriages. Alberta says it won't comply with any changes to the traditional definition of marriage, according to The Globe and Mail.

Immediately after the court lifted the moratorium, two homosexual men took advantage of the ruling by obtaining a marriage license at a British Columbia Vital Statistics Branch just steps from the courthouse. Dressed in black suits with red carnations they were "married" by a United Church minister outside the Law Courts building, The Star reported.

"Whether the nightmare in Canada becomes the nightmare in the United States depends entirely on whether or not evangelical Christians are willing to stand up for what they say they believe in and what the Bible espouses, which is that marriage is between a man and a woman," Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told Baptist Press after the Canadian government's June 17 ruling. "So it's up to us."

Land supports passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution saying that marriage is solely between a man and a woman.

Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands already recognize homosexual "marriage."

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