Supreme Court of Canada ruling redefines “spouse” to include same-sex partners

In an eight-to-one majority vote, Canada’s top court this morning ruled that “spouse” includes same-sex partners.

The ground-breaking decision alters the way family is defined in Canada and opens the way for the federal, provincial and territorial governments to rewrite hundreds of laws involving same-sex couples.

The Supreme Court of Canada was asked to review the definition of spouse in a section of Ontario’s family law regarding spousal support payments, and found it unconstitutional.

That province has six months to amend its laws to recognize same-sex couples. So far, only British Columbia has rewritten some of its laws to ensure all couples, regardless of sexual orientation, are treated the same.

This decision increases pressure on Victoria to amend all legislation relating to same-sex partnerships.

At last year’s convention, HEU delegates adopted a resolution calling on the provincial government to expand same-sex spousal rights.

According to a recent Angus-Reid poll, two-thirds of Canadians support equal rights and responsibilities for those in same-sex relationships.