At Ed Stelmach’s media availability this afternoon, he was grilled about whether or not he thinks same-sex married couples are spouses. (This, in response to these stories about the government’s choice to define same-sex couples as “benefit partners” rather than spouses.) Here’s a transcript of the exchange:
REPORTER: Premier, in your mind, if a gay couple gets married in Alberta, are they spouses?
STELMACH: Whether it’s opposite-sex or same-sex marriage, the benefits are the same.
REPORTER: The benefits are the same, yes, but if they are married — legally married — are they spouses?
STELMACH: The way the benefits are set up, they are treated the same.
(Couldn’t understand Stelmach’s next sentence because reporter was talking.)
REPORTER: Should they not have the right to call themselves “spouses” as opposed to “benefit partners?”
STELMACH: All I know is that they are treated fairly, and it doesn’t matter if they’re opposite-sex or same-sex marriage, they have the same benefits. Which speaks well in terms of the equality and the fairness of the benefit package.