New Brunswick was the 8th province that legalized same-sex marriage, only after Parliament made same-sex legal in Canada. July 4th, 2005 was the day that the gay community in NB could successfully obtain marriage licenses and celebrate equality. New Brunswick gay marriage was hard to get until Parliament made same-sex marriage legal. Manplay.com has the details on how New Brunswick got on board. The Premier at the time, Bernard Lord, opposed gay marriage and was intent on denying the movement of the law until the federal government made the first move. He did state that he would follow suit should a decision be made, but he was against allowing same-sex couples to wed. Fortunately for the gay community in New Brunswick, the wait wasn't much longer and 10 months later, his decision was overruled.
The Unitarian Fellowship of Fredericton was performing same-sex marriages since the 1960's, but these marriages were not recognized until many years later. Same-sex partners were frustrated that they were not being recognized as married in their own province, especially after the law passed in Ontario in 2001, and in 2004 filed a court challenge against the governments policy. They didn't end up winning at the time, but Judge Judge Judy Clendening of the Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick in Moncton issued a ruling that the province's failure to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples was a violation of their Charter rights, in accordance with the court rulings in other provinces. She gave a 10-day warning, but that's when the federal law had passed and New Brunswick government loosened their stance and granted same-sex marriages.
Couples in and out of the country can now marry in the province and it will be recognized as legal. It's unfortunate that so much energy had to go into the government allowing same-sex couples to wed, but thankfully the federal government made the right choices for the people and overruled personal, opposing opinions of government officials. When it becomes personal, it's no longer what the people want, and a government should first and foremost be about the people. New Brunswick is a small province with less than a million people, but still has a significant amount of gay couples that wanted to wed, and are now married. In 2007 the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick changed the Family Services Act to allow common-law partners to adopt. This included same-sex couples, and as of February 1st, 2008, all couples from all backgrounds were granted the same rules when it came to adoption. Finally both straight and gay were given the same treatment, and it only took hundreds of years to get there. Many gay couples had waited a long time to be recognized by the courts, but thankfully now going forward, all couples will be treated equally.
Today it has been said that a lot has changed with New Brunswick gay marriage. Politicians felt like 15-20 years ago they couldn't speak on the issue without feeling like it was a taboo conversation, now it's almost frowned upon if you don't talk about it. There are still a few kinks to work out when it comes to gay couples feeling discriminated against, but the upside is that people are talking, the conversation is being had, and more and more gay couples feel that they can live as they please. Social conservatism was the norm when it came to gay marriage in NB, and to some degree, it still exists. What the people are looking forward to is a shift into the new age, and a new inclusive government. Things are changing, but in such a small and rural community, the change comes slower than it does in other parts of the country. It's understandably frustrating for the gay community that lives there, but there have been major moves and progress being made. History for New Brunswick gay marriage has already been made, and although some residents and government officials may have to catch up, the major key is that gay couples can now marry, and that's the important thing. With the approval of same-sex marriage, comes the need for same-sex couples to adopt and that was put into place in 2007. Some same-sex couples feel like they still don't have the rights that straight couples do, but that doesn't hold them back from following the application process to extend their families. It might not always be easy to be a same-sex couple in NB, but gay couples aren't willing to back down, and continue to fight for their rights and other's.
When NB legalized same-sex marriage after bill C-38 was passed, the number of same-sex couples that were able to marry their spouses without leaving their province, rose to 89% from 87%. The reason that number is not higher is because of the 4 provinces that do not allow SSM, but who do recognize couples who wed out of province. Before same-sex marriage was legalized, same-sex couples were more likely to live together without the notion of making it official. The reason was obviously legal, but these couples would rather fight against the legislation than move to another province to make it official. The point was to fight for the law to change, and gay couples fought hard to see that happen. More gay marriage stats can be found here.
Learning about gay marriage in New Brunswick is great for any same-sex couple thinking of moving there, or who lives there and would like to know more. Get interesting facts and information about NB gay marriage below.
New Brunswick’s history on gay marriage is an interesting read.
See the gay marriage numbers for yourself.
There’s an interesting history on how NB’s gay marriage laws changed the future of the province.
As long as there is a progressive government in place that's moving the province of New Brunswick forward, there will be no on-going issues to face for gay residents. The law has changed to reflect what the people want, and the people have won their long-awaited battle to marry whomever they choose. Even if there are people who don't agree with the country's stance on gay marriage, there are more people living in Canada that do. Moving forward, the government needs to provide security for the people of the province and ensure that everyone feels comfortable and never discriminated against when it comes to legalizing their unions or browning a same-sex marriage through adoption. Gay couples want to feel like their rights are as protected as their straight neighbours and that starts at the government level. As long as there are some officials that try to thwart the progress of same-sex couples who wish to adopt, there will be push backs from the community. If gay marriage is legal, as it should be, then gay couples should never have to question their rights. Going forward, the New Brunswick government's focus should be on eliminating the old state of mind and welcome and embrace officials who uphold the new state of the province. Old societal norms are no longer welcomed in the NB community, and residents would like to know that their fight is over. The only way that will happen is if the majority is on the same page.
What can you do as a community in support of gay marriage in New Brunswick? Show your support by welcoming couples that come in any shape or form. Love should be celebrated, and never more so because of gender. It might take some people awhile to adjust to a new way of thinking, and for that, patience is strongly needed. It's challenging when government officials aren't 100% on the side of the majority of the people, and still need convincing to move forward with gay marriage. It's hard for citizens when they feel like they aren't being 100% supported. What can you do to change that? Be prepared to be patient, to answer questions, and to help others understand that love has no boundaries, and that couples of any gender should be able to share their lives together. There is nothing better than starting a life with someone that you love and everyone should be able to share that with their partner, and not only when it's between a man and a woman. A law that should've been amended years ago has finally been changed and should be celebrated. There will be times that the law is questioned by people with an old and dated way of thinking. The best thing to do is to look to the future and see that progress is only made when all people feel included. When people feel like they can live their lives the way they want, with no discrimination, that's when true progress is made. Progress will truly be made when old order ways fade out from today's progressive movements. More and more citizens need to stand up when there is any push back from the government to show that there is no going back and that every resident of the province and country, will be accepted for their choice in who they marry.