Equal Marriage Case Timeline

Highlight of Case Milestones

Aug 15, 2000 MCC Toronto Board of Directors approves the use of the Publication of Banns for conducting marriages at the church.
Dec 10, 2000 1st Reading of the Banns of Elaine & Anne Vautour and Kevin Bourassa & Joe Varnell.
Dec 17, 2000 2nd Reading of the Banns, There are three verbal objections raised during the reading but the objections are ruled invalid by Rev. Dr. Hawkes.
Dec 24, 2000 3rd and final Reading of the Banns. The double wedding is scheduled for Sunday January 14, 2001.
Jan 14, 2001 The 11:00 AM worship service is disrupted by a protester who, in the course of the disruption, assaults Rev. Dr. Hawkes. The trial of the assault suspect was held in December 2001.
Jan 14, 2001 Over 1000 people crowd into the church for the historic double wedding. The media is exceptionally interested in this event and over 70 media outlets attend the service. In the subsequent days the coverage is broadcast and printed in newspapers around the world.
Jan 17, 2001 Bob Runciman, Solicitor General and Registrar of Ontario announces at a media gathering that he will refuse to register the marriage documents.
Jan 19, 2001 MCC Toronto received official notice of the refusal and immediately files legal action in Divisional Court.
Feb 25, 2001 The Divisional Court of Ontario joins the MCC Toronto case with the civil case representing same-sex couples who applied for and were denied marriage licenses by the City of Toronto. MCC Toronto had previously been granted intervener statusin this case by Madame Justice Lang.
April 2001 A public opinion poll conducted by the Environics Research Group between April 5 and 24, found that 55% of Canadians strongly (29%) or somewhat (26%) support marriage between same-sex couples. This represents a 12% shift in public opinion in favour of same-sex marriage.
Nov 5, 2001 Our cases were heard in Divisional Court at Osgood Hall from November 5 to November 9, 2001.
July 12, 2002 The Ontario Superior Court of Justice hands down its landmark decision in favour of our right to conduct and register same-sex marriages.
July 29, 2002 Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced that the Government of Canada will seek leave to appeal the July 12, 2002 Ontario Divisional Court ruling on the constitutionality of the common law, opposite sex meaning of marriage.
Sept 2002 Quebec Superior Court rules opposite-sex requirement of marriage was a breach of constitutional equality guarantees.
Nov 12, 2002 The Federal Minister of Justice released his discussion paper
(34 pages .pdf format) this week on the issue of same-sex marriages outlining four possibilities for the government.
February 19, 2003 MCCT makes a presentation at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights Hearings. You can review our Written Submission.
April 2003 BC Court of Appeal rules that the ban on same-sex marriages is not consistent with the Charter of Rights and gives the Federal Government until July 4, 2004 to change the law.
June 10, 2003 The Ontario Court of Appeal upholds the Superior Court Decision in favour of same-sex marriages and declares the common law definition changed immediately.
June 17, 2003 Prime Minister Jean Chretien announces that Ottawa will move toward legalizing same-sex marriages. “We will not be appealing the recent decision on the definition of marriage. Rather we will be proposing legislation that will protect the right of churches and religious organizations to sanctify marriage as they define it.”
July 8, 2003 The high court of British Columbia lifted its moratorium on same-sex marriage, making a two-month-old ruling in favour of legal marriage effective immediately.