TORONTO, June 11 (UPI) -- A provincial court ruling giving gays the right to marry has sparked a political firestorm in Canada.
A landmark Ontario Court of Appeals 61-page decision Tuesday said banning gay marriages is unconstitutional.
Within minutes, federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon requested the Common Justice Committee convene a special meeting Wednesday to consider a Supreme Court challenge.
The ruling said that "Allowing same-sex couples to marry does not result in a corresponding deprivation to opposite-sex couples."
The Toronto Sun reported that several gay couples rushed to city hall to obtain marriage licenses within hours of the ruling.
The Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize marriage for gays and lesbians on April 1, 2001. This year, Belgium became the second country to open marriage to same-sex couples.