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Alberta 'Notwithstands' Marriage
 
ONLINE:  FRIDAY MARCH 17, 5:42 PM EST (GMT-5).
SECURING its place as the other obstinate child of Canadian confederation, Alberta has referenced the constitution's 'notwithstanding' clause in passing legislation to amend the province's Marriage Act to define that union as being exclusively between a man and a woman.

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Alberta Bill to Ban Marriage Passes Second Reading
The one-page, 5-section Act includes a section to override the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The western province once again presented as ground-zero for Canadian homophobia, following-up its fight to the Supreme Court 2-years ago to have the right to dismiss people from the workplace for no reason other than their being gay.

The Act preambles:  marriage is an institution the maintenance of which in its purity...
 
 
The fact that marriage is under federal jurisdiction didn't faze the province's conservative government any more than did the purpose of the 'notwithstanding' clause in the Charter being to override constitutional law decisions, should the province come to disagree sufficiently with them.

Preambling the Act with "marriage is an institution the maintenance of which in its purity ...." and "marriage between a man and woman has from time immemorial been firmly grounded in our legal tradition ...." the private member's bill received little opposition in the legislature as it proceeded to enactment.

Alberta Minister of Justice Dave Hancock continued to not support the bill, however, saying it would have no legal force.  John Fisher, Executive Director of the national rights / lobby group Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE) stated "there is a strong argument that the Act is not worth the paper it's written on" in an unofficial status report to that organization's members.  Julie Lloyd, spokeswoman for the rights group Equal Alberta, condemned the Act as "ill-founded" and "mean-spirited" in addition to her previous remarks of it being a waste of tax-payers' money.

The conservative member who introduced the bill, Victor Doerksen, told the press he disagrees. "We grant the marriage licence in Alberta, we determine who can perform marriages, we determine restrictions around age, so the province definitely has a role to play," he was quoted in the National Post as saying.