Quebec Court Declares Gay Marriage Legal

Quebec homosexuals have the right to marry, the province's top court said Friday.

The Quebec Court of Appeal (search) upheld a lower-court ruling that the traditional definition of marriage is discriminatory and unjustified. Same-sex marriages also have been declared legal in Ontario and British Columbia.

Canada's Supreme Court has been asked to clarify the constitutionality of gay marriage in a nonbinding ruling due next year, and Prime Minister Paul Martin (search) has promised to introduce a bill to legalize it.

The Quebec court case pitted some religious groups against Michael Hendricks and Rene Leboeuf, who want to marry after being together for 30 years.

The religious groups were appealing a September 2002 ruling by Justice Louise Lemelin of Quebec's Superior Court, who said restricting marriage to a union between a man and a woman was unjustified under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (search).