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Nova Scotia deletes outdated 'spinster' reference from marriage law

Last Updated Apr 25, 2018 at 9:40 am PDT

Premier Stephen McNeil, right, chats with Geoff MacLellan, government house leader, before he delivers the state-of-the-province speech at a business luncheon in Halifax on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. Nova Scotia is moderning outdated parts of its marriage laws by, among other things, removing references to spinsters and illegitimate children.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX – Nova Scotia is modernizing its outdated marriage law by, among other things, removing references to spinsters and illegitimate children.

As well, the new Marriage Act will be aligned with federal legislation by removing the authority for people under the age of 16 to marry.

The province’s Liberal government says all religious references will be removed to make the law more inclusive.

Marriage licences, which must be purchased before two people can marry, will now be valid for three months instead of one year — a change that will make the law consistent with other jurisdictions.

Service Nova Scotia Minister Geoff MacLellan says identity security will be improved by requiring both people who wish to marry to complete a marriage licence affidavit.

The legislation, which used to be called the Solemnization of Marriage Act, was introduced last fall and will come into effect on May 1.

“We are making the act more inclusive and providing enhanced security to couples getting married in Nova Scotia,” MacLellan said in a statement released Wednesday.