Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 22, 2005
Commissioner faces complaint
Regina same-sex wedding refusal resultes in human rights complaint
By CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
A Regina marriage commissioner is facing a human rights complaint after refusing to perform a same-sex marriage.
Orville Nichols faces a complaint from a homosexual couple, also of Regina, for refusing to marry them.
Nichols is one of three Saskatchewan marriage commissioners who filed a human rights complaint against the province in January for discriminating against him on the basis of freedom of conscience and religion under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the province's human rights code.
LastNovember, Saskatchewan Justice Minister Frank Quennell sent a letter notifying all marriage commissioners they must perform same-sex marriages.
Nichols and at least two others filed complaints earlier this year.
"I knew this was coming," Nichols told the Regina Leader-Post about the complaint filed against him. "As far as I'm concerned, it was a set-up job."
Nichols said he believes the complainants sought him out to make a complaint after seeing his public statement. He told the Leader-Post he was willing to appeal to a higher court if necessary to keep his marriage commissioner's licence.
Nichols told the paper that he had received a call in late April to do a May 6 wedding. When he found out the couple were both of the same sex, he refused.
"I asked if it was same sex, he said yes and I said wouldn't do it," Nichols told the Regina Leader-Post. "He said it's my legal right and I said I won't do it."
Egale, a national gay activist lobby group, has urged tolerance of marriage commissioners who oppose performing same-sex marriages as long as there are other commissioners available to provide the service.