A Vancouver woman was granted a divorce Tuesday after her husband had engaged in an adulterous affair with another man.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge decided that that amounted to adultery even though adultery has not included affairs by people of the same sex.
Traditionally, adultery involved voluntary sex between a spouse and someone of the opposite gender, to whom the person is not married.
But Justice Nicole Garson said she had been persuaded that she had the authority to make a change in the definition.
According to the woman's lawyer, the judge's decision could have far-reaching consequences across the country. The increasing number of same-sex marriages will inevitably lead to same-sex affairs, said barbara findlay. (The woman's lawyer spells her name using all lower-case letters.)
"It's likely to happen a lot because same-sex partners are predictably more likely to have affairs with other people of the same gender than with people of the opposite gender," findlay said.
Adultery is not defined in federal legislation. So judges hearing similar cases in other provinces will be persuaded by this decision, findlay added.
Findlay noted that her 44-year-old client, who cannot be named, had been married for almost 17 years. The woman filed for divorce after she discovered last October that her husband was having an affair with a man.
When Justice Garson was approached earlier this year, she did not know if she had the authority to grant a divorce based on an affair by a husband with a man. In February, asked the woman to hire a lawyer to argue that adultery should include same-sex affairs.
The judge was convinced and issued Tuesday's ruling.