Michael Hendricks and René Leboeuf
In 1996, the couple began to lead protests and parades seeking the right to marry each other.
Hendricks and Leboeuf v. Quebec
In November 2001, the couple brought suit against the government of Quebec, asserting that its refusal to perform same-sex marriage violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The case began on November 8.
On December 7 of that year, the Quebec government announced its intention to bring in legislation to create civil unions to which same-sex couples would have access and which would afford a status equivalent to that of marriage. (The definition of marriage is a federal jurisdiction in Canada, but the provinces have authority over civil status, including the registry of marriage.) The bill was introduced on April 25, 2002, and passed on June 7.
Hendricks and Leboeuf v. Quebec continued, and on September 6, 2002, the Quebec Superior Court ruled that the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples violated the Charter. It declared that the laws preventing same-sex marriage would become inoperative in Quebec in two years' time, constraining the federal government to act within that time. Hendricks and Leboeuf were represented in the original Quebec Superior Court case by family lawyers Marie-Hélène Dubé and Anne-France Goldwater.
Although the federal government announced that it would appeal the decision and other legal decisions regarding same-sex marriage, those appeals were later dropped on the recommendation of the House of Commons Justice Committee, which had held travelling hearings on same-sex marriage.
On January 26, 2004, Hendricks and Leboeuf appealed against the decision of the court in their case, specifically the delay of two years, in view of the rulings that had implemented same-sex marriage immediately in Ontario and British Columbia during the summer of 2003. They were represented in the appeal by lawyers Colin Irving and Martha McCarthy.
On March 19, the Quebec Court of Appeal struck down the delay and ruled that same-sex marriage licences be issued immediately.
Hendricks and Leboeuf immediately sought their licence. The usual 20-day waiting period required between the issuance of a licence and the wedding was waived, and the couple were wed at the Palais de justice de Montréal on April 1, 2004, exactly three years after the first legal same-sex marriage in the Netherlands. At the time of their wedding, they had been together for 31 years.
- Longtime male partners marry in first Quebec gay ceremony
- The Hendricks-Leboeuf case finally gets its day in court, by Noemi Lopinto, Montreal Mirror, 22 November 2001
- Text of the ruling (.pdf format)
- "Anne-France Goldwater chosen to be Quebec’s version of Judge Judy". The Gazette, July 29, 2011.