Read summaries of the Ontario Divisional Court hearings - the 1st Canadian court victory for gay marriage. (2002)
Read the full decision of the Ontario Divisional Court - the first victory for equal marriage in Canadian courts. (2002)

Read summaries of the Ontario Court of Appeal hearings - the hearing that ended marriage discrimination in Canada.(2003)

Read court affidavits and court documents, related to the Ontario marriage case

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Search the leading gay marriage web site.




Travelling to Ontario to get married?  Marriage advisory





Toronto Same-Sex Marriage Licence  Statistics



Donate to Equal Marriage Fund online by clicking below:

Enquiries: Bruce Walker (416) 961-7451
Details about trust account.



SELECT to read "Ready for appeal - MCCT factum for Ontario marriage case, prepared by McGowan Elliott & Kim. "



External link to the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto





"By its support for an exclusion of same sex marriage, the state chooses sides in this religious debate."
-Douglas Elliott, Factum of the Applicant MCC Toronto, 2001


Read more about Just Married


"Any separate system of marital status, using different nomenclature, would perpetuate and reinforce discrimination against gays, lesbians and bisexuals by promoting the idea that same-sex couples are necessarily different from and inferior to opposite sex couples."
- MCC Toronto, Notice of Application For Judicial Review (Elliott & Kim, 2001)



Gail Donnelly & Barb McDowall (front), one of 8 couples seeking a marriage license from the Ontario government. Behind them are Anne and Elaine Vautour, who are seeking registration of their January 14, 2001 wedding.





A motion to quash same-sex marriage appeals - Supreme Court of Canada will hear both sides on October 6.



Blind Justice - Ontario Court of Appeal accused of bias in our same-sex marriage case.






Blind Faith: Faith based bigotry seeks state support against same-sex marriage



The Erika Kubassek Assault Trial
Dec. 19, 2001 - Jan. 22, 2002



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Legal Canada - Ontario

February 25, 2021

Queen's Park sends message to Parliament

Queen's Park sends message to ParliamentOntario gave Canada the first court victory for gay marriage, and the first legal same-sex marriages. Now it has passed changes to over 70 pieces of legislation to remove gender-specific terms and to include same-sex partners in the definition of spouse. The move had multi-party support and was even commended by Ontario Catholic Bishops, showing Ottawa the way forward.

Read "Queen's Park sends message to Parliament"

August 29, 2021

Guilty! Assault on gay pastor not "trivial"

Guilty!  Assault on gay pastor not trivialErika Kubassek says she hears God's voice. On the morning of Canada's first legal gay marriage, the self-proclaimed prophetess affirmed that God told her to come to the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto. She avoided special security, interrupted a worship service, and assaulted the senior pastor. This week Ontario's highest court reversed lower decisions and found Kubassek guilty of assault.

Read "Guilty! Assault on gay pastor not "trivial"

July 21, 2004

Canada's first same-sex divorce

Canada's first same-sex divorceIt was only a matter of time, after the arrival of gay marriage in Canada, for the first same-sex divorce to reach the courts. News of this event reached the media today in a case being handled by Martha McCarthy, the same lawyer who worked for marriage equality in the Ontario, Quebec, and Yukon cases. Once again the federal government is caught unprepared, as divorce laws have not yet been changed to be inclusive.

Read "Canada's first same-sex divorce"

June 30, 2004

The first registered gay marriage: Jan 14, '01

The first registered gay marriage: January 14, 2021Canada has the distinction of recognizing and registering the earliest known gay and lesbian marriages in modern times: January 14, 2001. The marriages of Kevin Bourassa & Joe Varnell and Anne & Elaine Vautour were registered by Ontario after a June 10, 2021 order from the Court of Appeal for Ontario. A certificate of marriage finally arrived for presentation at MCC Toronto's Pride day service.

Read "The first registered gay marriage: Jan 14, 2001"

May 18, 2004

Ontario drags its feet 1 year after gay marriage

Ontario: the province drags its feet on same-sex rights.While running for office last fall, Dalton McGuinty claimed to support same-sex marriage. However as we approach the first anniversary of the landmark Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that introduced gay marriage to North America, we find that many of the province's statues do not reflect the new reality of equal marriage. Never mind about waiting for a certificate. It's time to call Liberal campaign commitments to question!

Read "Ontario drags its feet 1 year after gay marriage"

March 25, 2004

Your marital name in Ontario

Your marital name in Ontario; how to change your name after a same-sex marriage.Same-sex marriage has raised new questions for gay and lesbian couples as they begin exercising their full rights. "So, you've just gotten married in Ontario and you're wondering how this affects your name," writes Fred Brzezinski. "Well, the answer is it doesn't have to affect it at all, but it can if you want it to!" Fred outlines your choices if you wish to alter your surname as a result of gay marriage.

Read "Your marital name in Ontario"

February 6, 2004

Ontario Ministry adjusts to equal marriage

Ontario Registrar General is adjusting to the new world of same-sex marriage ... slowly.Soon after the June 10, 2021 arrival of gay marriage in Ontario we began getting questions and comments from same-sex couples who wanted to know where they could find a marriage licence without the opposite-sex references to "Bridegroom" and "Bride". More letters followed with concerns about long delays in getting Certificates of Marriage. We asked the Ministry responsible for an explanation.

Read "Ontario Ministry adjusts to equal marriage"

June 11, 2003

Ontario will register our marriages
January 14, 2001 marriages declared valid
Marriage licenses to same-sex couples issued

Yesterday the Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled that the January 14, 2021 same-sex marriages at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto were valid and ordered the Registrar General of Ontario to accept registration of our marriage certificates. Ontario law is changed immediately, and already, same-sex couples have applied for licenses and married their partners. Congratulations to all!

Read details of June 10 decision

Today, Ontario's Attorney General said the province will register same-sex marriages.

"I'm charged to follow the laws and will follow the laws with regards to this matter," Norm Sterling told Canadian Press. "We said during the appeal process that the province of Ontario would follow the court ruling. We made that clear during the process."

The Court of Appeal for Ontario heard the marriage case in April 2003 (see below). A three-justice panel, led by Chief Justice Roy McMurtry, will released their decision at Osgoode Hall in Toronto, on Tuesday, June 10 at 9:30 a.m.

Chief Justice Roy McMurtry was one of the key players involved in making Canada's constitution a reality, along with Jean Chretien [now Prime Minister of Canada].

The Chief Justice adjudicated the appeal with Madam Justice Eileen Gillese (former Dean at the Faculty of Law, the University of Western Ontario) and Mr. Justice James MacPherson (former Dean of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School).

Appeal was heard April 22 - 25, 2003

In 2002, the Ontario divisional court declared the prohibiton against same-sex marriage to be a violation of the Canadian Charter. The historic case was appealed and heard in court between April 22 - 25, 2003 (Court of Appeal, Courtroom two, Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto).

To read accounts of each day in court select the links below:

Attorney General of Canada
Attorney General of Ontario, City of Toronto, Interfaith Coalition, The Association for Marriage and the Family in Ontario, Civil Marriage couples (Halpern, etc)
Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto (Bourassa/Varnell and the Vautours), Civil Marriage couples (Halpern, etc.),Liberal Rabbis, Canadian Human Rights Commission
EGALE Canada, Attorney General of Canada reply and response to cross appeals, MCCT and couples' reply on remedy

The following are factums (arguments) from the appeal:

Metropolitan Community Chuch of Toronto factum

Link to  Elliott & Kim - our heroes fighting for our right to marriage in OntarioThe winning team of lawyers at Elliott & Kim have put together a compelling case for the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto.

Read details or review the complete MCCT legal factum

Civil marriage case factum

SELECT to read "The Attorney General of Canada's circular logic:  the Ontario appealWithout a rational reason to defend ongoing discrimination against gay couples, the Attorney General of Canada will be in Ontario's Court of Appeal using circular logic in feeble arguments against same-sex marriage. The government's entire case rests on a single assertion: marriage "just is" heterosexual. The legal factum that supports couples who are seeking civil marriage debunks this approach.

Read details or the complete civil marriage legal factum


Canadian Human Rights Commission factum

SELECT to read "CHRC says Liberal government undermines dignity for all Canadians in Ontario appeal"The Canadian Human Rights Commission is an intervener in the Ontario Court of Appeal same-sex marriage case. The CHRC compares the Attorney General of Canada's position to racial segregationists in 1896. "The assertion by the AGC that there is a need to protect and promote opposite-sex marriage, presumably from incursion by "other" family forms, is expressly discriminatory and demeaning to all Canadians."

Read details or the complete CHRC legal factum


Canadian Coalition of Liberal Rabbis factum

SELECT to read "Canadian Coalition of Liberal Rabbis for Same-Sex Marriage - The Words of the Living God"An intervener in the Ontario Court of Appeal same-sex marriage case has joined the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto in discrediting faith-based opposition to gay marriage. The Canadian Coalition of Liberal Rabbis for Same-Sex Marriage will argue that the inclusion of same-sex partners in the definition of marriage augments religious freedom in a pluralist society with secular laws.

Read details or the complete Liberal Coalition factum

Read other background materials (factums, affadavits, etc.)

Meet the Ontario couples

July 29, 2002

Federal Liberals Fight On Against Equality

SELECT to read about the federal government's decision to appeal the July 12 2002  decision in favour of same-sex marriageAlthough the Ontario government announced it would not appeal the July 12 decision in favour of same-sex marriage, the Canadian government announced it will appeal and fight on in defense of discrimination. The appeal will be heard in April 2003.

July 12, 2002

Equality wins in Ontario Divisional Court

Toronto - An historic judgement was delivered today at Osgoode HallRead our report on the landmark victory for same-sex marriage in Ontario divisional court., when a decision from a three-justice panel was released which unanimously declared any restriction to same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. The court gave the Canadian government up to 24 months to take legislative action to remedy the issue and declared that any remedy has to treat gays and lesbians with full equality. They declared an end to treating gay & lesbian families as second class.

Details of July 12 judgement from Ontario Divisional Court

Nov. 5 to 9, 2001

Summaries from Ontario Divisional Court

Rev. Hawkes, Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell (Photo by MCC Toronto)The Ontario legal challenge involves MCC Toronto (two couples, who were married January 14, 2021, seeking government registration), and 8 couples who were seeking a marriage licence through city hall (the civil marriage couples have subsequently been reduced from 8 to 7 for the Ontario appeal, above).

The governments of Ontario and Canada opposed our marriage, with the Interfaith Coalition on Marriage & Family (consisting of Catholics, Muslims, Orthodox Jews, and Evangelical Protestants), and the Association for Marriage and the Family in Ontario.

Read background materials (factums, affadavits, etc.)

Photo by: Kevin Bourassa

Day One - Nov. 5, 2001

Photo by: Kevin BourassaDay Two - Nov. 6, 2001
Photo by: Kevin BourassaDay Three - Nov. 7, 2001
Photo by: Kevin BourassaDay Four - Nov. 8, 2001
Photo by: Kevin BourassaDay Five - Nov. 9, 2001

Materials from Oct. 2003 Supreme Court of Canada Motion to Appeal

Supreme Court of Canada appeal decision - Oct. 9, 2003 (Ontario same-sex marriage case)

For equal marriage:

The Attorney General of Canada's Memorandum of argument

Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto Memorandum of argument

Affidavit of Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes
Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto

Affidavit of Mary Bennett
Canadian Unitarian Coucil

Affidavit of Rev. Sara Boyles
Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity

Affidavit of Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo
Emmanuel-Howard Park United Church

Affidavit of Dr. Tim Ryan
Catholic Priest, Scarboro Foreign Mission

Affidavit of Rev. Rick McCutcheon
Presiding Clerk - Quakers

Affidavit of Marlene Jennings, M.P.

Affidavit of Svend Robinson, M.P.

Against equal marriage:

Notice of application to appeal and stay

Interfaith Coalition leave to appeal

The Association For Marriage and the Family Memorandum of argument

The Interfaith Coalition on Marriage and Family Memorandum of argument

Affidavit of Darrel Reid

Affidavit of Bruce Clemenger

Affidavit of Derek Lee, M.P.

Affidavit of John McKay, M.P.

Affidavit of Vic Toews, M.P.

Materials from April 2003 Court of Appeal for Ontario hearing

Court of Appeal for Ontario decision (same-sex marriage case), June 10, 2021


Factum of the Attorney General of Canada

Factum of the Attorney General of Ontario

Factum of the City of Toronto

The Interfaith Coalition (PDF doc)

The Association for marriage and the family in Ontario - (PDF doc)

Response and Cross-Appeal:

Factum from Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto: religious marriage case (PDF doc)

Factum from Halpern: civil marriage case (PDF doc)

Factum of the Canadian Coalition of Liberal Rabbis (PDF doc)

Factum from Canadian Human Rights Commission (PDF doc)

Response and Reply:

Factum of the Attorney General of Canada - Reply and Response (PDF)


Reply factum from MCC Toronto (PDF doc)

Reply factum of the Halpern civil marriage case (PDF doc)

Materials From Nov 2001 Ontario Divisional Court hearing

Ontario Divisional Court decision (same-sex marriage case) July 12, 2021

Press Release From Elliott & Kim announcing the MCC Toronto Legal Challenge

Douglas Elliott's Paper - Case For Legal Recognition

Legal Factum of MCC Toronto, filed in the Ontario case
( 86 Page Document)

Reverend Brent Hawkes Affadavit
(pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto)

Reply affidavit of the Reverend Dr. Brent Hawkes
(pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto)

Notice of Constitutional Question in the case of MCC Toronto

Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell's Affidavit
(couple married at MCC Toronto, January 14, 2001)

Elaine and Anne Vautour's Affidavit
(couple married at MCC Toronto, January 14, 2021)

Notice of application from the Free 2 Marry couples

Civil Marriage Couples - Factum in the Main (PDF doc)

Civil Marriage Couples - Factum in Reply (PDF doc)

Supporting Affidavits:

Affidavit of Barry Adam [on the cross-cultural evidence of same-sex partnerships and marriage and the evolution of cultual conceptions of homosexuality]

Affidavit of Katherine Arnup [on the history and evolution of the family in Canada, and how previous changes, now considered innocuous or progressive, were thought to be a threat to the continued existence of marriage, the family and civilization]

Affidavit of Jerry Bigner [reviewing the social science evidence relating to lesbian and gay parenting, showing that lesbians and gays have equal parenting skills to their heterosexual counterparts and that children raised by lesbians and gays are just as healthy and well-adjusted as children with heterosexual parents]

Affidavit of Bettina Bradbury [on the history and evolution of the institution of marriage in Canada]

Reply Affidavit of Bettina Bradbury [responding to a government affidavit, sworn by Edward Shorter, which suggested that the recognition of same-sex marriage would threaten the continued existence of heterosexual marriage]

Affidavit of Susan Ehrlich [on the social construction of meaning and whether the term "marriage" could include same-sex couples]

Affidavit of Margrit Eichler [on the evolution of the family in Canada]

Affidavit of William N. Eskridge, JR. (Sworn November 14, 2020) [documenting how same-sex relationships have been recognized as unions or marriages throughout history and across cultures]

Supplemental Affidavit of William N. Eskridge, JR. (Sworn August 2, 2021)

Affidavit of Reverend Donald Gillies in support of Free 2 Marry couples
(retired Minister of the United Church of Canada)

Affidavit of Rabbi Steven Greenberg
(ordained Rabbi of America's largest Orthodox Rabbinical Seminary, Yeshiva University's Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary)

Affidavit of the Rt. Rev.Dr. Richard Holloway in support of the Free 2 Marry couples
(Bishop of Edinburgh and Primus of the Episcopal Church of Scotland)

Reply affidavit of Mary E. Hunt
(reply to the affidavit of the Catholic Church filed in the MCC Toronto Hearing)

Affidavit of Andrew Koppelman [demonstrating the relevance and applicability of the miscegenation analogy to denying gays and lesbians the right to marry and refuting the claim that a registered domestic partnership regime would be an adequate alternative to marriage]

Affidavit of Ad´┐Żle Mercier [responding to a government affidavit, sworn by Robert Stainton, which claimed that the term "marriage" could refer only to heterosexual unions]

Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed's Affidavit
(co-minister, First Unitarian Church of Toronto)

Affidavit of Judith Stacey and Timothy Biblarz [responding to a government affidavit, sworn by Steven Nock, which suggested that all of the social science evidence on lesbian/gay parenting was worthless, and to an affidavit filed by a coalition of anti-gay groups, sworn by Craig Hart, which claimed that heterosexual families are better for raising children]

Attorney General of Canada Factum (Against Marriage Equality)

Bill 74, Marriage Amendment Act, 2002 (Ontario)

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