Our Wedding - Timeline
"Make no mistake. In our view, this refusal by the Ontario Government to accept our documents and to register these marriages has no impact on the legal validity of these marriages .... However, the Church as concluded that it must defend the integrity of these marriages and of its religious freedom to marry in accordance with its religious views, and not to permit the religious restrictions of others to be imposed on it by the Government. The Church will not allow the Government to make the Church an unwilling party to unlawful discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. Our instructions are to pursue this action vigorously, if necessary all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada."
Douglas Elliott, lawyer representing the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, in a press conference announcing the beginning of our legal struggle, January 19, 2001
December 3, 2000
Reverend Hawkes, of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, announces that the church intends to begin conducting same-sex marriages in January 2001.
December 7, 2000
Reverend Hawkes calls. We learn that our friends Anne and Elaine Vautour will be MCCT first lesbian couple to be issued a marriage license. We're invited to join the planned double marriage ceremony. It's what we always wanted.
December 10, 2000
First reading of the banns of marriage. No Objections
December 17, 2000
Second reading of the banns of marriage. Two objections based on homophobia expressed through religious dogma.
December 24, 2000
Third reading of the banns of marriage. Two objections based on homophobia expressed through religious dogma.
January 9, 2001
Canadian Prime Minister's Office (PMO)responds to wedding invitation. "[T]he Prime Minister sends his very best wishes for a joyful wedding day and for many years of health and happiness together."
January 11, 2001
The Governor General of Canada's planning officer responds to wedding invitation and conveys to "Mr. Bourassa" and "Mr. Varnell" her "congratulations and best wishes" for the wedding.
January 13, 2001
Canadian PMO retracts January 9 letter saying "the legal definition of marriage ... remains 'the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.'"
January 14, 2001
We are married at MCCT, in a double ceremony with Anne and Elaine Vautour.
January 15, 2001
Ontario government announces that it will not recognize the marriages (before even receiving the legal documents).
January 19, 2001
November 5 to 9, 2001
July 12, 2002
A three-justice panel in Ontario court declares our rights have been violated and gives the government two years to change legislation to enable the registration of our marriage.
July 16, 2002
The province of Ontario drops its opposition to our marriage and calls on the government of Canada to do the same and get on with implementing the court's recommendations.
July 29, 2002
The Canadian government (Liberal party) announces that they will continue to fight equality through an appeal of the Ontario court ruling.
April 22 - 25, 2003
Our marriage case is heard by the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
Summaries from the Court of Appeal for Ontario:
June 10, 2003
Our victory in the Court of Appeal for Ontario. The common law definition of marriage is changed to include same-sex couples, effective immediately. Courts order Ontario to register our marriage, having declared it to be valid, effective January 14, 2001.