Several hundred same-sex couples have been married since Ontario's Court of Appeal struck down laws prohibiting gay and lesbian marriages. So what happens for the newlyweds if it all falls apart? "Same-sex couples at the moment cannot legally divorce," says Gilles Marchildon, a spokesperson for the queer rights group EGALE. "Technically speaking, that's the case."
That's because in the Divorce Act a spouse is defined as "either of a man or woman who are married to each other."
That means Parliament will either have to rewrite the Divorce Act, or the whole legal battle may have to start all over again, this time for the right to untie the knot.
The latter scenario is highly unlikely, says lawyer Joanna Radbord, who challenged the definition of marriage on behalf of the now wed Michael Leshner and Michael Stark.
She expects that after the federal government officially alters the definition of marriage, it will start making changes to other related laws like the Divorce Act. In the unusual event that a couple might seek a divorce before that point? Radbord doesn't think the government will put up a fight.
Justice department spokesperson Patrick Charette says any same-sex bill "will likely cause other consequent amendments. We'll have to see how the bill will be worded."
Charette expects that the Supreme Court will also recommend altering other laws besides divorce, including the Evidence Act, which prohibits spouses from being forced to testify against one another in criminal cases.