VANCOUVER, January 23, 2004 ( – In a letter Tuesday, B.C. Commissioners were given an ultimatum from the B.C. Vital Statistics Agency, which stated that any Commissioner “who feels that they cannot solemnize same-sex marriages” must “resign their appointments” by March 31. The letter gave no details about what would happen if a Commissioner refused to step down. 

Conservative MP Paul Forseth (New Westminster-Coquitlam-Burnaby) said that “It looks like the province has decided to jump the gun and actively promote same-sex marriage as a matter of government operational policy.” Forseth said that a change in conditions of employment mid-way through a term would be unfair, and rather suggested that Commissioners should be divided into two groups – those who will perform the ceremonies and those who will not. 

The definition of marriage was altered in May last year by the B.C. Court of Appeal to “the union of two persons;” in July, the same Court lifted a moratorium which would have suspended the requirement for implementation until July 12, 2004. 

A COMPAS poll commissioned by the National Post late last year found that 63% of Canadians are supportive of maintaining the current definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman. 31% opposed maintaining the current law and supported altering the definition of marriage to encompass homosexual couplings.  


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