Civil Marriage Act

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The Civil Marriage Act is a federal law in Canada that mandated same-sex marriage nationwide, effective July 20, 2005, such that marriage was no longer defined as the union of a husband and a wife, but as the "union of two persons."

Canada thereby became the first nation in the Western Hemisphere and the fourth nation in the world to impose same-sex marriage.[1]


  1. The Netherlands, Belgium and Spain had previously imposed same-sex marriage.