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Alberta gives in to same-sex marriage

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein said at a press conference in Calgary Jul 12 that “much to our chagrin” Alberta would recognize same-sex marriage in accordance with the federal gay marriage legislation now before the Senate.

He said his government would develop “legislative options” to ensure Albertans who object to same-sex marriage will “not be required to advocate, promote or teach about marriage that conflicts with their beliefs.” He said if an Alberta marriage commissioner refused to perform same-sex marriages, he or she wouldn’t be required to.

Klein threatened repeatedly over the past two years to invoke the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ notwithstanding clause to keep Alberta marriages straight but has acknowledged that he won’t be doing that.

Klein says Alberta will continue to use every legal option to fight gay marriage, but “that our chances of winning are virtually none.”

In related news, Prince Edward Island Attorney General Mildred Dover said Jul 6 that PEI has little choice but to allow gay marriages.

“We have said all along that we would comply if the federal government passed same-sex legislation. They have the power to define marriage,” she told Canadian Press.

Dover said changing the law in PEI could be a long and complicated process because there are about 50 references in provincial legislation to spouse, marriage, husband and wife. Changing them one at a time could take a lot of work.

She said PEI is looking at the possibility of passing an omnibus bill that would change all the definitions to “same-sex and heterosexual marriages” at once.

Only Alberta, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Prince Edward Island failed to recognize gay marriages before Bill C-38 was passed by the House of Commons, Jun 28.