||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2007)|
Hawkes in 2006
|Born||July 14, 1950|
|Education||B.Sc., B.Ed. (Mount Allison University)
M.Div., D.Min. (University of Trinity College)
|Church||Metropolitan Community Church|
|Congregations served||Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto|
Brent Hawkes, CM (born July 14, 1950) is a Canadian clergyman. Since 1977, he has served as senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto for LGBT parishioners, and is one of Canada's leading gay rights activists.
Religious career and activism
His church serves as a faith community for about 575 congregants at regular Sunday worship. Hawkes also presides over the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto Christmas Eve Service, which is held at Roy Thomson Hall.
He has served on the advisory committee of PrideVision TV, and served on the board of directors for "EGALE". In addition to his advocacy work on LGBT issues, he has supported anti-racist initiatives, drawn attention to poverty and poor housing, and advocated the ordination of female priests. In addition to his pastoral work, Hawkes is a member of the UFMCC Strategic Growth Initiative.
On January 14, 2001, 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[dead link]. 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, although Governor-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 declared the common law definition of marriage as "invalid to the extent that it refers to “one man and one woman” [Halpern et al. v. The Attorney General of Canada et al.], immediately striking down all barriers against same-sex marriage in the province.
Hawkes was the officiant at the state funeral of Jack Layton, Leader of Canada's Official Opposition and head of the NDP, on August 27, 2011 at Roy Thomson Hall. A fellow New Democrat, he spoke highly of Layton who had touched millions of Canadians with his sudden death. In the end, he thanked Jack Layton for his work with the gay community and HIV/AIDS, issues the NDP leader had championed when they were not popular.
Hawkes briefly entered political life in the mid-1990s. In the Ontario provincial election of 1995, Hawkes ran as a candidate of the social-democratic New Democratic Party of Ontario in the riding of St. George—St. David, which has a large GLBT community. Running in protest against the Bob Rae government's handling of the failed Equality Rights Statute Amendment Act of 1994, he finished a strong third with 9,672 votes — less than one thousand votes behind the winner, Progressive Conservative Al Leach. Hawkes's strong showing played a major role in defeating incumbent Liberal Tim Murphy.
Born into a Baptist family, Hawkes has Bachelor of Science (1972) and Bachelor of Education (1973) degrees from Mount Allison University, and Master of Divinity (1986) and Doctor of Ministry (2001) degrees from Trinity College, an Anglican institution at the University of Toronto.
Hawkes lives in Toronto with John Sproule, his partner of more than twenty years. They married on March 7, 2006.
- 1994 - City of Toronto Award of Merit
- 1995 - Global Citizen Award from the United Nations Toronto Association
- Distinguished Service Award from the Metropolitan Community Church presented by the denomination's founder, Rev. Troy Perry
- June 29, 2007 - appointed by Governor General Michaëlle Jean as a member to the Order of Canada
- September 16, 2009 - New Brunswick Human Rights Commission's Pioneer of Human Rights Award[dead link].
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (March 2009)|
- Brent Hawkes biography from the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto.
- Nancy Nicol (2006). The End of Second Class. Event occurs at 0:00:14. "I present to you Elaine Vautour, Anne Vautour, Joe Varnell, Kevin Bourassa: partners in life, duly married in the eyes of God, and in accordance with the laws of our land."
- Record of marriage, signed by Rev. Hawkes, for one of the same-sex couples married. Note the preprinted "Banns No."
- Court of Appeal for Ontario
- Bradshaw, James (24 August 2011). "A month in the works, Layton’s funeral meant to inspire". The Globe and Mail (Toronto ON). Retrieved 25 August 2011.
- "Rev. Brent Hawkes receives honorary degree for LGBT social activism". File: York's Daily Bulletin online at YorkU.ca. 22 October 2009. Accessed 30 October 2009.
- General Announces New Appointments to the Order of Canada, June 29, 2007