A measure to legalize same-sex marriage was passed by Icelandic lawmakers in June 2010. Opinion polls conducted before the vote showed broad support for the measure, and no member of the country`s legislature voted against it. Iceland has allowed same-sex couples to register as life partners since 1996. A decade later, Parliament passed a law allowing same-sex couples to adopt children. A growing number of governments around the world are considering legally recognizing same-sex marriage. So far, 30 countries and territories have passed national laws allowing gays and lesbians to marry, mostly in Europe and America. In Mexico, some jurisdictions allow same-sex couples to marry, while others do not. Same-sex couples in Canada received most of the legal benefits of marriage in 1999, when the federal and provincial governments extended marriages to gay and lesbian couples under common law. Through a series of court cases that began in 2003, same-sex marriage has gradually become legal in nine of the country`s 13 provinces and territories.
In 2005, the Canadian Parliament passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. In 2006, lawmakers thwarted an attempt by Canada`s ruling Conservative Party to reconsider the issue, leaving the law unchanged. The bill has caused cracks in the House of Commons, particularly among the governing Liberals. Many Liberal MPs have indicated that they will reject the government`s position in favour of same-sex marriage in a free vote. The majority of the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Québécois voted in favour of the bill; the majority of the Conservative Party voted against the bill.   The two same-sex couples were married on January 14, 2001. The next day, Runciman reiterated the government`s position, saying that marriages would not be legally recognized. In 2003, the Liberal government referred a bill on same-sex marriage to the Supreme Court of Canada, essentially asking it to review the constitutionality of the law before it was tabled.
The reference, originally provided by the Chrétien government, asked three questions: In 1977, Quebec included sexual orientation in its human rights code, becoming the first Canadian province to pass a gay civil rights law. The law made it illegal to discriminate against a person`s sexual orientation in housing, social housing, and employment. All provinces and territories, except Alberta, Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories, would pass this legislation by 2001. In October 2003, Premier Paul Okalik announced that Nunavut would recognize same-sex marriages in the remaining provinces and territories. The Court did not examine further whether, if a registered partnership were created for same-sex couples as an alternative to marriage, it would withstand an attack under Article 15 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. If the court were to conclude that the civil partnership alternative implicitly claims that same-sex partnerships are less respectful than opposite-sex partnerships, the history of previous decisions suggests that the court would reject the law as discriminatory under section 15. Another problem with the civil partnership option is that, even if adopted by the provinces, it could only be effective as an institution for same-sex couples if Parliament legislated to restore the definition of opposite-sex marriage to exclude the marriage option for same-sex couples. This law would then be reprehensible for exactly the same reasons, as it would have thwarted the requirement of opposite-sex marriage in EGALE, Halpern and Hendricks. In Canada, therefore, the alternative of civil partnership is not really legally viable. Same-sex marriage became legal in all Canadian provinces on the following dates: Following the Supreme Court decision, Attorney General Irwin Cotler introduced Bill C-38 on February 1, 2005, to legalize same-sex marriage across Canada. Paul Martin`s government supported the bill, but allowed a free vote of its backbenchers in the House of Commons. A defeat of the law in parliament would have maintained the status quo and likely progressive legalization, jurisdiction by jurisdiction, through legal challenges.
This trend could only have been reversed if Parliament had passed a new law explicitly limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples, notwithstanding the equality protections afforded by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or by amending the Canadian Constitution to include the clause “marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman.” as recommended by several religious groups and conservative politicians.  Given the composition of the House of Commons at the time, such a measure would have been highly unlikely. Prime Minister Klein proposed to make the issue accessible to the general public through a national referendum, but his proposal was rejected by all four party leaders.  The Maltese parliament voted almost unanimously to legalize same-sex marriage in July 2017, despite opposition from the Catholic Church on the small Mediterranean island. A November 2002 Ekos/CBC poll asked respondents whether they would vote “yes” or “no” in a referendum on same-sex marriage. 47% answered “no” and 45% “yes”. 8% did not know.  In 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in M v. H that same-sex couples in Canada are entitled to many of the financial and legal benefits commonly associated with marriage. However, this decision did not give them the right to a full marriage. Most laws affecting couples fall under provincial jurisdiction rather than the federal agency. As a result, fees varied somewhat from province to province.
In 2003, Ontario and British Columbia became the first two provinces to legalize same-sex marriage. The federal Civil Marriage Act came into force on July 20, 2005, legalizing same-sex marriage across Canada. Canada was the fourth country to allow same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands (2000), Belgium (2003) and Spain (2005). Since then, every province in Canada has recognized same-sex marriage. Marriage itself falls under federal jurisdiction in Canada. But the provinces regulate the solemnization of marriage (the official ceremony that is civil or religious). They also issue marriage licenses. The Supreme Court ruled that under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a religious representative cannot be legally compelled to enter into a same-sex marriage if it is contrary to his or her religious beliefs. In 1989, Denmark became the first country to allow same-sex couples to register as domestic partners. And in 2010, the country passed a law granting same-sex couples in registered partnerships the right to adopt children. Enthusiasm for the Civil Marriage Act was also dampened because Martin`s government had seemed so reticent about its own law. In 2004, prior to the introduction of the bill, the Liberals sent four “questions of reference” to the Supreme Court of Canada for advice on how to proceed.
A question that asks whether “the requirement of civil marriage for persons of the opposite sex .. [is] consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” seemed to be a sneaky way to appeal existing court decisions without facing the political firestorm that would have occurred if they had appealed. The Supreme Court refused to answer that question and forced the Liberals to make their own decision. Martin then allowed a free vote on Bill C-38 among his backbenchers, resulting in the resignation of about one-third of Liberal MPs against the bill and the resignation of a minister, Joe Comuzzi, in opposition. An Ontario Court judge finds that Ontario`s Child and Family Services Act violates section 15 of the Charter by not allowing same-sex couples to apply for joint adoption. It states that four lesbians have the right to adopt their partner`s children. Ontario is the first province to legalize adoption for same-sex couples. British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia are following suit and also allowing adoption by same-sex couples.
Other provinces are looking at it. After almost six years in court, including two trials, the case was finally settled when, on October 15, 1983, the time limit for the Crown to appeal the acquittal of the second court expired. (In the first trial, The Pink Triangle Press also obtained an acquittal, but on appeal, the Crown won a new case.) Same-sex marriage in Canada was gradually introduced in several provinces by court decisions beginning in 2003 before being legally recognized nationally with the passage of the Civil Marriage Act on July 20, 2005.