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Section 15 applies to all laws and law enforcement (including government programs defined by laws) by all governments in Canada, but the Charter does not give rights against the private sector.
For example, a discrimination complaint against a restaurant would need to be filed under federal or provincial anti-discrimination legislation and not the Charter.
The entire Charter is also subject to a general exception in section 1 that allows "such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society." The Oakes Test sets out the Supreme Court of Canada's interpretation of this exception.
This analysis may consider conflicting Charter rights.
On July 20, 2005, Canada became the first country outside Europe and the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide after the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act.
Same-sex adoption has also been legal in all provinces and territories under varying rules.
Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized that sexual orientation was implicitly included in section 15 as an "analogous ground" and is therefore a prohibited ground of discrimination.
The grounds "sex" and "physical disability," have been interpreted to include transsexuality and HIV/AIDS (see discussion below).
The first ruling required the federal government to draft legislation recognizing same-sex marriage, but later rulings brought the new definition into effect immediately in the jurisdictions concerned.The motion called on the Government to introduce legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage without affecting civil unions and while respecting existing same-sex marriages." Section 159 of the Criminal Code criminalizes every act of anal intercourse, but provides exceptions for a husband and wife, and any two persons 18 years of age or older.These exceptions do not apply if a third person is present, or if the anal intercourse takes place anywhere but in private. 159 to be unconstitutional as violations of the equality provision of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Section 15(1) reads: Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability." Section 15 was written so as to protect against discrimination generally, with the "enumerated" grounds of prohibited discrimination (race, sex, etc.) being only examples instead of a comprehensive list.In a landmark ruling in 1995 in the case of Egan v.