Halpern v Canada (AG)

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Halpern v Canada (AG), [2003] O.J. No. 2268 is a notable June 10, 2003 decision of the Court of Appeal for Ontario where the Court found that the common law definition of marriage, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman, violated section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The unanimous Court found that the exclusion of same-sex couples was a clear violation of the Charter and moreover did not constitute a "reasonable infringement" under section 1. In this respect the judgment followed much of what had been ruled elsewhere. Thus, the two same-sex marriages performed by Brent Hawkes on January 14, 2001 were legal on the day they were performed.[1]

The Court also held that there was to be no suspension of the remedy as it applied to the general population and that the new definition allowing same-sex couples to marry would take effect immediately. Michael Leshner and Michael Stark, who were applicants in this case, became the first gay couple married after the decision. The Globe and Mail, in choosing the "Nation Builders of the year," selected the judges involved in the case, namely Chief Justice Roy McMurtry, Eileen Gillese and James MacPherson.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The first legal gay marriage is now certified. January 14, 2001: signed, sealed, delivered.". equalmarraige.ca. June 30, 2004.  The article includes a picture of the certificate of marriage, with a registration date the day after the ruling.
  2. ^ Anderssen, Erin (December 13, 2003). "Doing Canada justice" (PDF). The Globe and Mail. p. F.5.