Same-sex marriage in Prince Edward Island has been legal since July 20, 2005. The province began the process of updating its laws to recognize same-sex marriage after the passage of the Civil Marriage Act in the House of Commons of Canada. Prince Edward Island had been one of only four provinces and territories, with Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, where same-sex marriage had not already been legalized by court challenges prior to the passage of the law.[1][2]


On December 10, 2004, Premier Pat Binns said that his government would wait for federal legislation to resolve the issue. It is unclear how Binns would have reacted if a provincial court had found the heterosexual definition of marriage in violation of the Charter rights of gays and lesbians.[2]

Provincial legislation

After the House of Commons of Canada passed the Civil Marriage Act in June 2005, provincial Attorney General Mildred Dover announced that the province would bring provincial legislation in line with the law, which passed through the Senate in July and received royal assent the next day on July 20, 2005.[3]

However, Ms. Dover announced that same-sex marriage licences would not be issued until the province's laws were updated.[4] This was different from how the process had worked in other provinces; in those where courts called for same-sex marriage, and in Alberta after the Civil Marriage Act was passed.

Complaints immediately arose charging that the delay imposed by the province was illegal and violated the legal rights of same-sex couples. In response to these complaints, the province reversed its position. The first same-sex couple to wed on Prince Edward Island were Dr. Chris Zarow and Constance Majeau on August 20, 2005 in Vernon Bridge, as reported by the Charlottetown Guardian.[2]

In May 2008, provincial law was finally brought in line with the federal legislation. A bill amending the Marriage Act, the Adoption Act and many other acts regarding family law was passed by the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island and given royal assent by Lieutenant Governor Barbara Oliver Hagerman. The law replaced references to "husband and wife" with the gender-neutral term "spouses", and the Adoption Act was amended to allow married same-sex couples to adopt children jointly.[5] The law took effect on 19 December 2009.[6]

Marriage statistics

The 2016 Canadian census showed that there were 230 same-sex couples living in Prince Edward Island.[7]

Religious performance

In July 2019, the synod of the Anglican Church of Canada passed a resolution known as "A Word to the Church", allowing its dioceses to choose whether to perform same-sex marriages.[8] In September of the same year, Bishop Ron Cutler of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island issued a pastoral letter allowing local parishes to perform same-sex marriages.[9]

Public opinion

A 2017 CROP poll showed that 78% of respondents in Atlantic Canada supported same-sex marriage, but did not give a figure for each Atlantic province individually. Nationwide, 74% of Canadians found it "great that in Canada, two people of the same sex can get married", while 26% disagreed.[10]

See also


  1. ^ "P.E.I. proclaims same-sex marriage amendments". Charlottetown: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 21 December 2009. Archived from the original on 2011-03-10. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
  2. ^ a b c "Same-sex marriage in the province of Prince Edward Island, Canada". Kingston: Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. 9 July 2005. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
  3. ^ (Globe and Mail) Archived July 9, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "P.E.I. at a loss for words over same-sex marriage". Charlottetown: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 22 July 2005. Archived from the original on 2011-03-10. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
  5. ^ "Domestic Relations Act" (PDF). Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  7. ^ "Families, households and marital status: Prince Edward Island".
  8. ^ Zeidler, Maryse (13 July 2019). "Anglican Church rejects same-sex marriage approvals in vote". CBC News.
  9. ^ "A Pastoral Letter with Respect to Same Sex Marriage". Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
  10. ^ I find it great that in our society, two people of the same sex can get married, CROP Panorama