1 min

Nova Scotia moves to recognize gay parents

Decision comes less than four days after human rights complaint

It took a human rights complaint against the province to get Nova Scotia to change its birth registration process to recognize gay parents — almost three years after same-sex marriage was legalized.

The province announced today that it would immediately change the birth registration process to allow the same-sex partner or spouse of the birth mother to be registered as the other parent on a baby’s birth documents.

The changes came after a married lesbian couple filed a human rights complaint against the province on Sep 17. Emily O’Neill gave birth in early August, but her spouse was told that she could not be listed as the other parent because Nova Scotia’s birth forms use only terms “husband” and “father.”

Kevin Kindred, chair of the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project, helped the couple launch the complaint. He is still reviewing the province’s new regulations, but he says from what he’s read so far, it looks pretty good.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that this will be a good solution that works for all couples who are in the O’Neill’s situation,” he says.

As for the human rights complaint that was filed only four days ago, Kindred says he won’t keep the complaint going for no reason, so long as the new registration process works for all couples.

“We didn’t get into the human rights complain because we wanted a big fight with the government. We got into it because we wanted a solution to the O’Neill’s situation and the situation faced by other couples,” he says.

British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec have all changed their registration process to ensure same-sex parents can both be listed on birth registration, says Kindred.