Same-sex marriage in Quebec requires a 20 day wait period.

 

 

 

Same-sex marriage is legal in Quebec!

 

 

 

Michael Hendricks and Rene Leboeuf anticipate a sleepless night awaiting tomorrow's Quebec court decision on their same-sex marriage case (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2003)

 

 

 

Same-sex marriage returns to Quebec court on January 26.

 

 

A delay for the Quebec marriage case. Appeal put off until Jan. 26, 2004

 

Why the legal battle continues in Quebec

 

 

 

Link to the Quebec Decision  in the marriage case.

 

 

 

 

 

The Decision
(PDF doc)

The Quebec Marriage Decision

In our arguments in court, we questioned the constutionality under the Charter of:

-section 1 of law C-23 which says that "marriage is between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others",
-section 5 of the Harmonisation Act which says that, in Quebec, a marriage is between a man and a woman, and
-Article 365 of the Quebec Civil Code which says that marriage is between a man and woman.

And the judge agreed with us. She says these laws are unconstitutional and then suspended her judgement for 24 months so that the federal government can correct them. In other words, we won on every point. But more than that, the judge states that the creation of civil union in Quebec, which is reportedly the most complete legal union for same sex couples to date, does not replace the right of access to marriage. ("The creation of civil union in Quebec carries a certain recognition but it is not the institution of marriage.")

What the judge seems to have done is strike down all the impediments to same sex marriage and then gives the federal government two years to rectify the situation but she also says that alternative conjugal forms for same sex couples (the famous "Marriage lite" are not acceptable under the Charter.

René Leboeuf and Michael Hendricks
Email, The Quebec Marri
age Decision
September 6, 2002

 

 

 

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Link to learn more about how you can contribute to  a trust account in aid of all five marriage cases underway across Canada (British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec)

 

 

 

 

 

Link to Analysis of Bill 84 - Not Yet Marriage

Bill 84: An Act instituting civil unions and
establishing new rules of filiation

Projet de loi no 84: Loi instituant l'union civile et établissant de nouvelles règles de filiation

Read A Detailed Analysis Of Bill 84

 

 

 

Michael Hendricks (left) and Rene Leboeuf, Montreal marriage advocates (photo be equalmarriage.ca, 2002)
Michael Hendricks and Rene Leboeuf
Montreal marriage advocates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"L'accès des lesbiennes et des gais au mariage ne met nullement en péril la famille comme le prétendent certaines organisations, au contraire. Cela signifie que le mariage en tant qu'institution peut et doit s'adapter à la diversité réelle des couples et des familles présente dans la société québécoise "
-Mme Vivian Barbot
Fédération des femmes du Québec

 

"Gay and lesbian access to marriage by no means endangers the family, like the claims of certain organizations to the contrary. It signifies that marriage as an institution may and must adapt itself to the real diversity of couples and families presented in Quebec society."
-Vivian Barbot
The Federation of Quebec Women

 

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Legal - Quebec

March 30, 2004

Marriage in Quebec is a 20-day process

With marriage for same-sex couples now legal in Quebec, gay and lesbian couples want to know how to get married in that province. Gay marriage advocate Michael Hendricks explains the process for civil and religious marriages. Quebec requires that a marriage application be posted for 20 days prior to a marriage. Civil marriages in Ontario and British Columbia are possible without delay.

Read "Same-sex marriage in Quebec"


March 19, 2004

Same-sex marriage is legal in Quebec!

"The Quebec Court of Appeal has upheld the Lemelin decision and struck down the delay so equal marriage is the law of Quebec as of today," write a victorious Michael Hendricks. " But the best part is that the 5 judge court ruled unanimously that the Ontario decision (Halpern) applies to all the provinces since it is about a federal issue and went uncontested." This reconfirms other provinces should follow suit!

Read "Same-sex marriage is legal in Quebec!"


March 18, 2004

Quebec court decision released tomorrow

A decision in the Quebec same-sex marriage case will be released by the Court of Appeal on Friday. Michael Hendricks and René Leboeuf are the last couple still fighting in court for same-sex marriage. Anticipating a victory, the couple have their wedding clothes and rings ready. "It will be a sleepless night," Hendricks told us. A victory will mean 71% of Canadians have access to equal marriage. We wish bonne chance!

Read "Quebec court decision released tomorrow"


January 21, 2004

Same-sex marriage returns to Quebec court

Michael Hendricks and René Leboeuf return to Quebec court next Monday (Jan 26) in front of five justices of the Court of Appeal. The couple won their same-sex marriage case in Superior Court on September 6, 2002. They are the only remaining couple who have fought and won the right to marry in court and still have not been given access to marriage by their government. They hope to quash a faith-based appeal.

Read "Same-sex marriage returns to Quebec court"


September 9, 2003

Quebec marriage appeal delayed 'till 2004

A request for a delay from the attorney for The Catholic League for Human Rights and The Evangelic Fellowship of Canada, dated September 1, was approved today. The delay, due to illness and hospitalisation of a lawyer, was granted until January 26, 2004.


August 18, 2003

Why the legal battle continues in Quebec

Because of Ottawa's and Quebec City's delaying tactics, as the statute banning equal marriage in Quebec wound its way through the Senate (not the House!) and with lots of time wasted on their civil union theatre piece, our appeal won't be heard until September. Meanwhile, the feds have withdrawn from the appeal leaving the opposition to their religious allies. In September, René and I will be stuck defending equal marriage against people who have nothing to lose.

Read Michael Hendricks' "Why the legal battle continues in Quebec"


September 12, 2002

Appeal in Quebec: the story of our lives
Hearing scheduled for September 25-26, 2003

The federal government announced September 9 that it will appeal the Quebec Superior Court Ruling that called the "one man and one woman" definition of marriage discriminatory [the appeal will be heard September 25-26, 2003].

"We ask all of you," Micheal Hendricks wrote in an email (Sept. 12, 2002), "all over the country, to respond to the call for opinions ... It does not have to be long but it should testify to the facts of your life situations and to why access to marriage is important for you and for our community."

Read "Appeal in Quebec: the story of our lives"


September 6, 2002

Québec Court Calls For Equality!

The Quebec Court did as expected and ruled that the opposite-sex definition of marriage is discriminatory and cannot be justified under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The decision, released today, echoes the one Ontario court delivered on July 12. While declaring the opposite-sex definition of marriage unconstitutional, the Quebec court suspended its declaration for 2 years to give Parliament a chance to act.

Last month, the Quebec government placed advertisements in newspapers that said, "By acknowledging that men and women are entitled to make a formal commitment to live together as a couple, regardless of their gender, Quebec affirms its standing as a society that is open and aware that individual differences enrich us collectively."

The Quebec and Ontario courts, the governments of Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec, the Law Commission of Canada, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, numerous unions, groups and citizens have all called for Ottawa to end marriage discrimination now.

Michael Hendricks and Rene Leboeuf  marched in solidarity with us in the 2002 Toronto Pride parade.  (Photo courtesy of Hendricks & Leboeuf, 2002)

We send our congratulations to Michael Hendricks and Rene Leboeuf (right, above), our friends in Montreal who have been tirelessly fighting for the right to marriage. Their years of financial and personal struggle, on behalf of the fight for equality could be over sooner, rather than later, if the Canadian government would do the right thing, at last.

Michael telephoned this evening to say "the victory was better than we thought." He said the judge made it clear that the federal government would not satisfy the courts by introducing national civil unions or other alternatives to marriage. Opponents have tried to claim "the word" as their own.

Today's court ruling comments favourably on July's Ontario ruling. The Quebec document, issued in paper format only, rejects arguments that marriage is for procreation - another position held by those who oppose equal rights our families. It states that all laws that apply to marriage are invalid. Ottawa has no choice but to end marriage discrimination and find a way to make this change acceptable to the public.

"Now we have the two biggest provinces," Michael told us, happy to have the courts, representing a majority of Canada's population, behind us. "The last shoe has fallen," he said. "Let's see what the federal government will do with it."

Ottawa could start by dropping its confrontational stance. Then we can move towards dialogue, education, and change.

Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell


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Write to our politicians.

Please help pay for this costly legal battle.

Click here to review daily reports from Quebec hearing "In their own words", by Michael Hendricks


June 7, 2002

Québec Unanimously Passes
Civil Union Bill

On June 7, 2002, L'assemble Nationale du Quebec passed their civil union bill (Bill 84) unanimously. The bill, the most far reaching piece of registered domestic partnership legislation in Canada, provides same-sex couples with the same rights and obligations as opposite sex married couples, including parental rights in relation to children being raised in the relationship.

"Quebec has taken a historic step", observed Irene Demczuk, president of the Quebec Coalition for the Recognition of Same-Sex Spouses, "There is no other jurisdiction in the world where equality is offered unanimously to same-sex couples and their children."

Aside from the extension of benefits to same-sex couples, the legislation also removes the opposite sex restriction on marriage from the Quebec Civil Code. Previously article 365 of the code, defined marriage as "between a man and a woman". This language has been amended to, "between two persons". This move shows the willingness of the Quebec government to move towards full inclusion of gays and lesbians in society. As Justice Minister Paul Begin observed in the public hearings leading up to the introduction of Bill 84, "If we could offer full marriage, we would".

The stumbling block to offering full marriage, is the federal jurisdiction over capacity to marry. The federal government continues to consciously ignore the tide of public opinion and the actions of the provincial legislatures that are seeking to rectify the effects of discriminatory treatment towards same-sex families.

Quebec's Bill 84 will help to ensure that tolerance and protection are extended to same-sex families in the areas of survivor benefits, health insurance, tax benefits, adoption and parenting rights and access to support on relationship dissolution. This is a significant step forward and one which all the provinces politicians can be proud of. As Minister Begin observed, "It shows that Quebec society is very tolerant and accepts differences between people." The government could however, extend this stance and take the next step in expressing its respect for individuals and their families: intervene on behalf of Rene Leboeuf and Michael Hendricks in their marriage challenge!

The passage of the registered partner plan will alleviate many of the effects of marriage discrimination, but it cannot address both the issues of mobility (what happens when a couple who are unioned move outside of Quebec) or any of the federal statutes that restrict spousal treatment to opposite sex couples (most notably in the areas of immigration and the right of spouses not to have to give evidence against each other in a criminal proceeding). Having a government go beyond expressing the wish to extend marriage benefits and to actually call upon the federal government to stop discrimination and allow access to a basic pilar of family life to all in this country will move us one step closer to full acceptance rather than simple tolerance.


April 25, 2002

Québec Introduces Civil Union Bill

The Québèc government has introduced legislation to create partnership unions, and to allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt. The bill was unveiled today in the National Assembly by Québèc Justice Minister Paul Bégin. Bégin said the Parti Québeçois would press to have the bill passed before the summer recess in June.

The legislation provides for a civil union registry which will give gay and lesbian couples the same rights as those of heterosexuals, including adoption and assisted procreation. Québèc does not recognize common law heterosexual relationships. The partnership unions will be unique to gays and lesbians but will also be extended to straight couples Bégin said. Rene and Michael in Montreal
"Marriage is marriage. It's the gold
standard in social acceptance, and it's
mobile."
Michael Hendricks,
Montreal March 22, 2002

The legislation insures property rights for both partners in a relationship, as well as life insurance, health, succession, and pensions. It also guarantees the right of a partner to oversee medical care for a spouse when that person is unable to make their own decisions.

The terms for separation also will be similar to marriage. In the event of a split up, the partners will share in the communal assets, including property. The civil union could be dissolved, by death, the judgement of the court or a notarized joint declaration of the partners.

Although all Canadian provinces recognize gay and lesbian relationships under common law, none yet offer marriage. Québèc and Nova Scotia have introduced registered domestic partenerships in the absence of full and equal right to the choice of marriage. Although it is a step forward, it is not enough. We must end marriage discrimination.

Read A Detailed Analysis Of Bill 84


March 22, 2002

Quebec Case Reopened

Quebec Case ReopenedMichael Hendricks and René Leboeuf returned to the Palais de justice de Montréal for a one-day continuation of their case, which they have dubbed, "Towards full citizenship: equal access to civil marriage for gays and lesbians." The pair were last in court November 16, 2001, listening to what they thought was the conclusion of their seven-day hearing. But while they were waiting for a decision, the Québec government came out with a proposal for Civil Union. The justice ordered the new hearing to review this new development and the possible impacts on the case.

The case for equal marriage was made by Me. Anne-France Goldwater, Me. Marie-Hélène Dubé and Me. Noël Saint-Pierre. In opposition to equality were the lawyers for the federal government, the Québec government and L'Alliance Francophone des Protestants Évangélique du Québec and
La Ligue Catholique pour les droits de l'homme
.


Michael Hendricks et René Leboeuf à leur cérémonie d'engagement
le 5 août 2001 à Divers/Cité
(avant le commencement de la parade).


Michael Hendricks and René Lebouef at their Commitment Ceremony on
August 5, 2001 at Gay Pride
(just before the parade started).

A decision is expected by September 2002. Meanwhile, here's Michael Hendricks' account of the day in court (days 1 to 7 are linked further below):

Day Eight - March 22, 2002


Parliamentary Hearings on Civil Unions Bill conclude

February 2002 - The government of Quebec concluded its public hearings on the civil unions bill and the minister has issued recommendations that will go a long way towards establishing equality for same-sex couples in Quebec

Read about the minister's recommendations

More about the hearings

Read Michael Hendricks' summary of Day Two (Feb 6, 2002)

Read Michael Hendricks' summary of Day One
(Feb. 5, 2002)

Réal Menard (député du Bloc Québécois) demande au ministre fédérale de justice d'ouvrir l'institution du mariage aux couples de même sexe. (en français)


Registered Domestic Partnerships introduced in Quebec

On December 7, 2001 the Quebec Government announced its intention to introduce what it calls "civil marriage" for gay and lesbian couples in Quebec. The proposed system, would resemble the Registered Domestic Partnership system currently in place in Nova Scotia.

More about the proposed civil union legislation in Quebec


Le défi judiciaire au Québec /
The Quebec legal challenge

In Their Own Words
Sunmmaries of the Quebec proceedings by Michael Hendricks and René LeBoeuf

Day One - November 8, 2001
Day Two - November 9, 2001
Day Three - November 12, 2001
Day Four - November 13, 2001
Day Five - November 14, 2001
Day Six - November 15, 2001
Day Seven - November 16, 2001
Day Eight - March 22, 2002

 

Sommaires d'EGALE / EGALE Summaries

Les sommaires par John Fisher, d'EGALE /
Summaries by John Fisher of EGALE

English
Français
Day 1 - Nov. 8, 20011ere journée -
le 8 novembre 2001
Day 2 - unavailable2eme journée -
pas disponible
Day 3 - Nov.12, 2001 3eme journée -
le 12 novembre 2001
Day 4 - Nov.13, 2001 4eme journée -
le 13 novembre 2001
Day 5 - Nov.14, 2001 5eme journée -
le 14 novembre 2001

Communiqués de presse

Une Communiqué de presse par EGALE (en français)

Summary of the Legal Argument in Quebec

Petitioners' Plan of Argument

Plan d'argumentation

Declaration D'Intervention

Affidavits:

AFFIDAVIT DE SYLVAIN CÔTÉ

AFFIDAVIT DE DOMINIQUE DUBUC

AFFIDAVIT DE MONA GREENBAUM

AFFIDAVIT DE ROGER LECLERC

AFFIDAVIT DE CLAUDINE METCALF

AFFIDAVIT DE NICOLE PAQUETTE

AFFIDAVIT DE NATHALIE RICARD

AFFIDAVIT DE FRANÇOISE SUSSET

AFFIDAVIT DE PIERRE VALOIS


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