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Canada to Hold Same-Sex Marriage Hearings

Court Orders a Canadian City to Stage Pride

120,00 Turn Out for Vancouver's Pride March

By Rex Wockner
International News Report

Canada to Hold Same-Sex Marriage Hearings

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien: Hearing will be held on same-sex marriages In the wake of a court ruling ordering Canada to let same-sex couples marry by July 2004, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien announced August 7 that a parliamentary committee will hold national hearings on the issue.

"It's a social problem which needs attention at this time and we want to have a committee to consult Canadians and experts," Chrétien said. "I could decide tomorrow, but there is a process in place. It's an extremely complex issue."

The justice ministry is appealing the July 12 ruling by the Ontario Superior Court, which said not letting same-sex couples marry violates the nation's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The decision came in the case of two couples who wed at the gay Metropolitan Community Church via the process of reading banns -- asking in church on three Sundays if anyone objects to the marriage, which is a legal way to marry in Ontario. They were given regular marriage certificates by pastor Brent Hawkes but provincial officials later refused to register the documents.

As matters stand now, the court's ruling will become law on July 12, 2004, if the federal Parliament has not legalized same-sex marriage by that date.
Court Orders a Canadian City to Stage Pride

The human-rights tribunal in the Canadian province of British Columbia July 30 ordered the small city of Terrace to proclaim and advertise Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Day.

The town's council had refused to do so. Terrace, population 13,000, is 930 miles (1,500 km) north of Vancouver.

The tribunal said the city council violated the provincial human-rights code when it rejected proclamation requests from the Rainbow B.C. Coalition and the Rainbow Committee of Terrace.
120,00 Turn Out for Vancouver's Pride March

Around 120,000 people turned out for Vancouver, Canada's gay-pride parade August 4. There were 150 parade entries.

The posthumous grand marshal was Aaron Webster who was murdered in November in a cruisy section of Stanley Park, which abuts the city's gayest neighborhood. His killer or killers have not been caught.

Federal Industry Minister Allan Rock marched and said he favors opening regular marriage to same-sex couples. An Ontario court last month ordered the government to let gays marry by July 2004 but the justice ministry is appealing the ruling.
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