The Yukon Legislative Assembly has passed the Equality of Spouses Statute Law Amendment Act 2018. The new Act amends multiple pieces of Yukon legislation with language that is inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, Two-Spirit plus (LGBTQ2S+) Yukoners and repeals the Married Women’s Property Act.
Landmark cases in Yukon and in other parts of Canada over a decade ago struck down laws that discriminated on the basis of gender and did not recognize the rights of same sex couples. In response to these cases and the direction of courts, the Government of Yukon is systematically removing discriminatory language from Yukon laws.
This Act marks a significant milestone in our work to make Yukon fair and equal for everyone. Including LGBTQ2S+ people in the language of our laws is not a courtesy; it is a right. Our government will continue to modernize our legislation and policies to make them non-discriminatory and inclusive of all Yukoners.
Minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate Jeanie Dendys
Laws that use non-binary and sexist language have no place in our modern society. As we work towards a more inclusive and gender-diverse society, we will continue to ensure our laws are inclusive of all Yukoners, including the LGBTQ2S+ community.
Minister of Justice Tracy-Anne McPhee
The Acts that were amended by the Equality of Spouses Statute Law Amendment Act 2018 are the Dependents Relief Act, the Estate Administration Act, the Evidence Act, the Family Property and Support Act, the Government Employee Housing Plan Act, the Income Tax Act, the Marriage Act and the Spousal Compensation Act. The Government of Yukon is repealing the Married Women’s Property Act and making consequential amendments to the Judicature Act.
The Married Women’s Property Act provided essential protection to women when it was enacted in the 1950s. Prior to enactment, women lost rights to independently hold and dispose of property, sue or be sued, enter a contract or act as a litigation guardian upon marriage. Those rights are now protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Similar acts have been repealed in most Canadian jurisdictions.
Last spring, the Government of Yukon passed the new Gender Diversity and Related Amendments Act. In 2017, the government amended the Vital Statistics Act and the Human Rights Act to include LGBTQ2S+ inclusive language.