Justice Minister Don Morgan announced on January 18 that the government will accept the decision of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal and will require marriage commissioners to perform civil marriages for all couples, including same-sex partners.
"Our government wanted to take the necessary time to review this important decision and consider all of the possible options, including appeal or the possibility of enacting an alternative system, such as the Ontario model raised by the Court of Appeal in its decision," Morgan said. "We concluded there are no grounds for appeal of this unanimous court decision. We have not found any workable options that would achieve the government's original intent for reasonable accommodation."
"We understand that among our civil marriage commissioners are people of strong beliefs who live their faith daily," Morgan said. "We had hoped there might be some way to reconcile their right to religious freedom with the right of same-sex couples to marry. That's why we made this court reference. However, the Court of Appeal has clearly ruled that civil marriage commissioners must perform ceremonies for couples who meet the legal requirements. That includes same-sex couples."
Marriage commissioners were informed immediately of the government's decision by letter.
This decision affects only commissioners who perform civil marriages on behalf of the provincial government. It has no bearing on marriages performed within a religious institution.