A gay couple who underwent a civil partnership ceremony in the UK have been officially recognised as married by a Canadian court. The ruling by the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto marks the first time a British civil partnership has been legally treated as marriage in another country.
Wayne Hincks and Gerardo Gallardo became civil partners in London in 2009 and subsequently moved to Toronto, after which the relationship broke down. The legal battle began after Mr Hincks tried to initiate divorce proceedings. Mr Gallardo refused as he believed that they were not legally married in Canada. This would have meant that Mr Hincks had no right to a share in what would have been considered matrimonial assets which reportedly included their home and business. However in a recent ruling, The Honourable Madam Justice Ruth E. Mesbur said that, regardless of a civil partnership’s status in the UK, in Canada their legal status amounted to a marriage.
“It seems to me that to do anything other than recognise this particular civil partnership as a marriage would run contrary to the express values of Canadian society,” she stated, “and would constitute impermissible discrimination.”
The ruling has generated a great deal of interest in the legal world, as it is believed to be the only time thus far that an overseas court has ruled on the issue.
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