Same-sex marriage in Yukon

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Legal status of same-sex unions

* Not yet in effect, but automatic deadline set by judicial body for same-sex marriage to become legal

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Same-sex marriage in Yukon has been legal since July 14, 2004. The territory became the fourth jurisdiction in Canada (and the seventh worldwide) to legalize same-sex marriage, after the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec.[1]

Court ruling[edit]

Rob Edge and Stephen Dunbar had brought suit against the Yukon Government after being refused a marriage licence in Whitehorse.[1] 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, British Columbia and Quebec signalled a change in Canadian common law regarding marriage.

Supreme Court of Yukon 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.

Territorial legislation[edit]

In May 2002, the Yukon Legislative Assembly approved a bill, which among other things, 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 (French: Loi sur le mariage) was amended by replacing the words "husband and wife" with "spouses".[6] The amendments took effect on 1 June 2015.[7]

Marriage statistics[edit]

In ten years of same-sex marriage, from July 2004 to July 2014, 44 same-sex couples married in Yukon.[8]

According to the 2016 Census, about 1.9% of all Whitehorse women in couples were in same-sex relationships; the second highest in Canada after Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. Men in same-sex couples accounted for 0.7% of all men in couples.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Same-sex marriage in the Yukon Territory, Canada". Kingston: Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. 20 November 2005. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  2. ^ "Same-sex marriage ruled legal in Yukon". CTV. 15 July 2004. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  3. ^ 30th Legislature, May 8, 2002
  4. ^ Child Care Act
  5. ^ Table of Public Statutes Part 1
  6. ^ "ACT TO AMEND THE MARRIAGE ACT" (PDF). Government of Yukon. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
  7. ^ Table of Public Statutes Part 1
  8. ^ A decade of marriage equality in the Yukon. Yukon News, 25 July 2014
  9. ^ Yellowknife, Whitehorse have more same-sex female couples per capita than any other city in Canada. CBC, 4 August 2017

External links[edit]