Same-sex marriage in Yukon

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Same-sex marriage in Yukon began on July 14, 2004, when Yukon Territory became the fourth jurisdiction in Canada to legalize same-sex marriage, after the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec.[1]

Rob Edge and Stephen Dunbar[1] had brought suit against the Yukon government after being refused a marriage licence in Whitehorse. Their lawyer, Jim Tucker, used a novel approach: rather than arguing on the basis of Section Fifteen of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as in the previous cases, he argued that the federal government's failure to appeal the decisions legalizing same-sex marriage in Ontario, BC, and Quebec signalled a change in Canadian common law regarding marriage.

Supreme Court of the Yukon Territory Justice Peter McIntyre agreed that the federal government was inconsistent in its approach to the definition of marriage, a federal responsibility, since it had not appealed the first three decisions. Therefore, the territory's failure to provide marriage licences to same-sex couples meant that the law was being inconsistently applied in Yukon. Justice McIntyre declared same-sex marriages legal in Yukon, and ordered the government to issue a marriage licence to Mr. Edge and Mr. Dunbar.[2]

The judge obtained verbal promises from the territorial government that the couple would be granted marriage licences. Yukon premier Dennis Fentie praised the ruling.

In May 2002, the Yukon Legislative Assembly approved a bill which among other amendments, allowed same-sex couples to adopt children jointly.[3][4] The law took effect on 1 January 2003.[5]

In December 2014, the Marriage Act was amended by replacing the words "husband and wife" with "spouses".[6] It took effect on 1 June 2015.[7]

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