Syndicated sex columnist and It Gets Better Project co-founder Dan Savage said he woke up shocked and distressed when he learned the Canadian government might now consider his husband, only his boyfriend.

Savage married his husband, Terry Miller, in Vancouver in 2005. He said he was surprised by a report Thursday that Canada's legal position was that thousands of non-resident gay and lesbian couples who married in Canada were not legally wed.

"Although we were married in Canada, what the Harper government was saying yesterday is that our marriage isn't valid in Canada because its not recognized in Washington state, which is not true because Washington state does recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other states, other countries," he told CTV's National Affairs Thursday.

"If the Harper government is going to retroactively declare our marriage invalid then we are no longer recognized in Washington state . . . and that has real consequences for us."

There has been a great deal of confusion on the matter since it was learned Thursday morning that a federal government lawyer was arguing that a non-Canadian lesbian couple who wed in Canada could not apply for divorce because their marriage was invalid.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said they were looking into the matter and he was looking into "options to clarify the law."

Savage said he "welcomed them walking this back. I want to see the Harper government eat this."

Miller said he and Savage married in Canada because they wanted to add stability to their home life.

"This has thrown all of that in the air and I don't know what to think, it's all so new," he said in a joint interview with Savage on National Affairs.

Miller said they had no idea their marriage could be considered invalid and Canada welcomed them with open arms.

"There was practically a tourist bureau welcoming gay visitors to get married in Canada at the time," he said.

Savage and Miller have a 13-year-old son, who often snowboards in Canada.

"We spend a lot of time in the Canadian Rockies doing a particularly dangerous activity and it was always a comfort to know that when we were snowboarding we were legally married so that if, God forbid, a medical emergency (occurs), we would be able to make medical decisions for each other," he said. "To have all that put into question in the last 24 hours, was personally very distressing.

"That sense of security, that sense of affirmation every time we came to Canada, that has been tarnished today."

Savage, a constant thorn in the side of conservative Republicans, particularly presidential candidate Rick Santorum, joked that he and Miller have considered becoming Canadian citizens.

Savage and Miller co-founded the It Gets Better Project, which aims to inspire bullied gay teenagers that their lives will improve with adulthood.