By Terry Vanderheyden

CHARLOTTETOWN, November 18, 2005 ( – Prince Edward Island’s Conservative government is amending the province’s marriage laws to remove all references to husband and wife in favour of the gender-neutral “spouse,” to come in line with the new federal law granting same-sex “marriage.”

“We’re following the lead of the federal government on this,” claimed Health Minister Chester Gillan, according to a CP report. “We didn’t have a lot of pressure from the public, actually, but this was necessary. We had to do this.”

The legislation also proposes to create protections that would exempt clergy from being forced to perform the same-sex “weddings,” instead allowing non-religiously-affiliated marriage commissioners to perform the duty.

Mildred Dover, the province’s attorney general, said in July that the province would delay issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples until they had the opportunity to amend all the provincial laws pertaining to marriage – a process that could take several months. “We were consulting about whether or not we could just scratch out the words husband and wife, bride and groom, and maybe just put spouse and spouse,” Dover told CBC News then. “We’re not even sure what words you’d use.”

PEI decided to make same-sex “marriage” legal there in July, only days ahead of the federal Senate’s approval of Bill C-38. PEI is the only province in Canada that does not permit abortions and the only one with a pro-life premier, Pat Binns, who in 2003 won a third consecutive majority government.

See related coverage:
  P.E.I. Pre-Empts Feds: Government Decides to Legalize Gay “Marriage”
  Prince Edward Island Delays Issuing Same-Sex “Marriage” Certificates Citing Language Problems
“Man and Woman”, “Wife”, “Husband”, “Widow”, “Widower” Banished From all Ontario Law


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