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Posts Tagged ‘Pride’

First Same-Sex Marriage in Toronto on January 14, 2001.

Joe Varnell and Kevin Bourassa were the first to be married in Toronto at Riverdale’s Metropolitan Community Church on January 14, 2001.

Sometimes debates about marriage equality position the debate as though marriage equality opposed religious freedom. In Canada, however, some churches exercised their religious freedom in order to help usher in equal marriage. The Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto (MCC Toronto) was one of the first to marry same-sex couples in Ontario. As Wikipedia reports:

On January 14, 2001, [Reverend Brent] Hawkes gained national attention by performing a wedding ceremony for two same-sex couples at the Metropolitan Community Church. Although city clerks would not issue marriage licenses for same-sex marriages at this time, Hawkes employed the alternative provided in Ontario law for regular church attendees to publish official banns for three consecutive weeks, and thereby conducted a legal marriage without requiring prior government permission. In the spirit of the banns as a public opportunity for interested parties to raise legal objections, the church also issued a press release in late 2000 announcing its intentions. The government of Jean Chrétien did not endorse the marriages, althoughGovernor-General Adrienne Clarkson sent a personal letter of support. The city clerk refused to register the record of marriage, leading to a court battle. On July 12, 2002, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that the marriages performed by Hawkes in January 2001 were legal, but stayed its decision pending a possible appeal, and on June 10, 2003, the Court of Appeal for Ontario affirmed this, and striking down all barriers againstsame-sex marriage in the province, with immediate effect. (From Wikipedia, most links broken by Bakka)

So, religious freedom and marriage equality are not always at odds with one another. Indeed, religious freedom sometimes works in ways that support marriage equality even when the government has not yet moved to support it.

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I know Pride week was earlier in a lot of places, but here it is this week, and the parade is today. This year also marks the five year anniversary of legalizing same-sex marriage in Canada.

On July 20th, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said:

Today marks a historic day in Canadian history and a proud and distinguishing moment for the Liberal Party of Canada. Five years ago today, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize marriage between persons of the same sex.

First announced by Jean Chretien’s Liberal government, former Minister of Justice, Martin Cauchon, issued the first draft of what would become Bill C-38 on July 17, 2003. Following the Supreme Court of Canada’s December 9, 2004, favourable ruling on the constitutionality of marriage between same-sex couples, the final draft of the bill was introduced in the House of Commons by former Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler in Paul Martin’s Liberal government on February 1, 2005. Bill C-38 passed in the House of Commons on June 28, 2005, and in the Senate on July 19, 2005. It received Royal Assent the following day.

Here is one of my favorite videos to mark the occasion (though it is extremely hetero-centric. I think for those who were able to get married, the answers might be quite different):

Happy Pride to all!

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