PRINCE ALBERT, July 14, 2005 ( – Saskatchewan’s Justice Minister is investigating a complaint about a marriage commissioner there who has refused to perform same-sex “marriages.”

Saskatchewan Justice Minister Frank Quennell has made it clear that he believes marriage commissioners should resign if they will not perform same-sex “marriages.” He is investigating Prince Albert marriage commissioner Bruce Goertzen, who said he would refuse to perform same-sex “marriages;” several other marriage commissioners have already filed human rights complaints against the province for telling them to either perform same-sex marriages or resign.

Saskatchewan Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott expressed consternation upon learning that Quennell is investigating Goertzen. “This approach violates the spirit and letter of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” Vellacott said in a release.

Goertzen filed a human rights complaint in January, contending that forcing commissioners to toe the line or resign is a violation of his human rights. “I don’t deny other people have rights too, but when you give one person a right, you shouldn’t take a right away from another,” he said then.

“I contend that this order by the Justice Department discriminates against my freedom of religion and therefore is a violation of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, not to mention a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” Goertzen’s complaint stated.

See related coverage:
  Second Saskatchewan Marriage Commissioner Files Human Rights Complaint