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PRB 04-13E
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SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND LEGAL RIGHTS:
A CHRONOLOGICAL OVERVIEW

Prepared by:
Mary C. Hurley
Law and Government Division
Revised 26 September 2005


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

INTRODUCTION


CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS

   A. 1867
   B. 1985


JUDICIAL DECISIONS

   A. 1992
   B. 1993
   C. 1995
   D. 1998
   E. 1999


FEDERAL LEGISLATION

   A. 1995
   B. 1996
   C. 1999
   D. 2000
   E. 2004


PROVINCIAL LEGISLATION

   A. 1977
   B. 1992
   C. 1999
   D. 2000
   E. 2001
   F. 2002


SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

   A. 1999
   B. 2000
   C. 2001
   D. 2002
   E. 2003
   F. 2004
   G. 2005


SELECTED REFERENCES

A. Parliamentary Information and Research Service Publication
B. Reports/Discussion Paper
C. Law Commission of Canada (LCC) Research Paper
D. Texts
E. Articles
F. Gay and Lesbian Sources



SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND LEGAL RIGHTS:
A CHRONOLOGICAL OVERVIEW


INTRODUCTION

In the past 20 years, the legal rights of lesbians and gay men in Canada have generated considerable activity in the political, legislative and judicial spheres, culminating in the 2005 enactment of the Civil Marriage Act. The following survey provides a selective chronology of significant developments. A more detailed discussion covering a broad range of subject matters can be found in Sexual Orientation and Legal Rights, Current Issue Review 92-1, prepared by the Parliamentary Information and Research Service.

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS

   A. 1867

B. 1985


JUDICIAL DECISIONS

   A. 1992

   B. 1993

   C. 1995

   D. 1998

   E. 1999

FEDERAL LEGISLATION  

   A. 1995

   B. 1996

   C. 1999

   D. 2000

   E. 2004

PROVINCIAL LEGISLATION

All provincial and territorial jurisdictions have enacted legislation to explicitly extend at least some legal rights to individual gays and lesbians and/or same-sex partners. The following represents a non-exhaustive listing of significant statutory reforms in this area.

   A. 1977

   B. 1992

   C. 1999

  D. 2000

   E. 2001

   F. 2002

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

In the wake of Supreme Court of Canada decisions, and subsequently federal Bill C-23, same-sex marriage issues assumed steadily increasing prominence:

   A. 1999

   B. 2000

   C. 2001

   D. 2002

   E. 2003

 

The Court modified the Divisional Court’s remedy: invalidation of the existing common law definition of marriage and reformulation to refer to the “voluntary union for life of two persons” became effective in Ontario immediately.

The Court declined to answer the fourth question concerning whether the opposite-sex requirement for marriage is consistent with the Charter. It found, in part, that the federal government intended to proceed with legislation irrespective of the Court’s opinion, and that married same-sex couples relying on the finality of judicial decisions in jurisdictions authorizing such marriages had acquired rights that deserved protection.

    G. 2005

 

 

SELECTED REFERENCES

   A. Parliamentary Information and Research Service Publication

Hurley, Mary C. Charter Equality Rights: Interpretation of Section 15 in Supreme Court of Canada Decisions. BP-402E. Parliamentary Information and Research Service, Library of Parliament, Ottawa, revised January 2005.

   B. Reports/Discussion Paper

British Columbia Law Institute. Report on Recognition of Spousal and Family Status. British Columbia Law Institute, Vancouver, 1998 (KEB168 A15 A12 no. 5).

Canada. Department of Justice. Toward Equality: The Response to the Report of the Parliamentary Committee on Equality Rights. 1986 (J103 H7 33-1 E6 Z5 A35).

Canada. Department of Justice. “Marriage and Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Unions:  A Discussion Paper.” 2002 (KE591 C2 A35).

Canada. Parliament. House of Commons. Sub-Committee on Equality Rights. Equality For All: Report of the Parliamentary Committee on Equality Rights. 1985 (J103 H7 33-1 E6 A12).

Law Commission of Canada. Beyond Conjugality: Recognizing and Supporting Close Personal Adult Relationships. Law Commission of Canada, Ottawa, 2001 (KE539 C2 A35).

   C. Law Commission of Canada (LCC) Research Paper

EGALE Canada Inc. “Division of Powers and Jurisdictional Issues Relating to Marriage.” 2000.

  D. Texts 

Morton, F. L., and Rainer Knopff, eds. The Charter Revolution and the Court Party. Broadview Press, Peterborough, Ont., 2000 (KE4381.5 Z85 C437).

Smith, Miriam C. Lesbian and Gay Rights in Canada: Social Movements and Equality-Seeking, 1971-1995. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1999 (HQ76.8 C2 S65).

Wintemute, Robert. Sexual Orientation and Human Rights: The United States Constitution, the European Convention, and the Canadian Charter. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1995 (HQ76.5 W45).

Wintemute, Robert, and Mads Andenaes, eds. Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Partnerships:  A Study of National, European and International Law. Hart, Oxford, 2001 (K699 L44).

   E. Articles

Hiebert, Janet L. “From Equality Rights to Same-Sex marriage – Parliament and the Courts in the Age of the Charter.” Policy Options, Vol. 24, 2003, p. 10 (JL1 P64).

Le Bourdais, Céline, et al. “The Changing Face of Conjugal Relationships.” Canadian Social Trends, Spring 2000 (Statistics Canada – Catalogue No. 11-008-XPE).

Smith, Miriam C. “Recognizing Same-Sex Relationships: The Evolution of Recent Federal and Provincial Policies.” Canadian Public Administration, Vol. 45, 2002, p. 1 (JA4 C35P).

   F. Gay and Lesbian Sources

EGALE Canada Inc.

Samesexmarriage.

Table de concertation des lesbiennes et des gais du Québec.


(1)  (1992), 94 D.L.R. (4th) 1.

(2)  R.S. 1985, c. H-6.

(3)  [1993] 1 S.C.R. 554.

(4)  (1993), 104 D.L.R. (4th) 214.

(5)  [1995] 2 S.C.R. 513.

(6)  [1998] 4 F.C. 585 (T.D.).

(7)  [1998] 1 S.C.R. 493.

(8)  (1998), 158 D.L.R. (4th) 664.

(9)  [1999] 2 S.C.R. 3.

(10)   An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sentencing) and other Acts in consequence thereof, S.C. 1995, c. 22.

(11)  S.C. 1996, c. 14.

(12)  S.C. 1999, c. 34.

(13)  S.C. 2000, c. 12.

(14)  An Act to amend the Criminal Code (hate propaganda), S.C. 2004, c. 14.

(15)  R.S.Q. c. C-12.

(16)  Now R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 286.

(17)  Family Relations Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 128.

(18)  Family Maintenance Enforcement Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 127.

(19)  Act to amend various legislative provisions concerning de facto spouses, S.Q. 1999, c. 14.

(20)  S.O. 1999, c. 6.

(21)  S.B.C. 2000, c. 24.

(22)  S.N.S. 2000, c. 29.

(23)  S.M. 2001, c. 37.

(24)  S.S. 2001, c. 50 and 51.

(25)  S.N.L. 2001, c. 22.

(26)  S.Q. 2002, c. 6.

(27)  S.M. 2002, c. 24.

(28)  S.M. 2002, c. 48.

(29)  R.S.A. 2000, c. A-4.5.

(30)  House of Commons, Debates, 8 June 1999.

(31 )  S.A. 2000, c. 3.

(32 )  EGALE Canada Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General) (2001), 88 C.R.R. (2d) 322, 2001 BCSC 1365.

(33 )  Halpern v. Canada (Attorney General) (2002), 95 C.R.R. (2d) 1.

(34 )  Hendricks c. Québec (Procureur général), [2002] R.J.Q. 2506.

(35 )  EGALE Canada Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General) (2003), 38 R.F.L. (5th) 32, 2003 BCCA 251.

(36)  EGALE Canada Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General) (2003), 42 R.F.L. (5th) 341, 2003 BCCA 406.

(37)  Halpern v. Canada (Attorney General) (2003), 36 R.F.L. (5th) 127.

(38)  Department of Justice Canada, “Reference to the Supreme Court of Canada,” Backgrounder, Ottawa, 17 July 2003.

(39)  House of Commons, Debates, 16 September 2003.

(40)  Department of Justice Canada, “Government of Canada Reaffirms Its Position on Supreme Court Reference,” Press Release, Ottawa, 28 January 2004.

(41 )  Ligue catholique pour les droits de l’homme c. Hendricks [2004] J.Q. No. 2593 (Q.L.).

(42 )  Dunbar and Edge v. Yukon (Government of) and Canada (A.-G.), 2004 YKSC 54, 14 July 2004 (Yukon Sup. Ct.).

(43)  Vogel et al. v. Attorney General of Canada et al., File No. FD 04-01-74476, 16 September 2004 (Man. Q.B.).

(44 )  Boutilier v. Nova Scotia (Attorney General), [2004] N.S.J. No. 357 (Q.L.), 24 September 2004 (N.S. Sup. Ct.).

(45 )  W. (N.) v. Canada (Attorney General), 2004 SKQB 434, 5 November 2004 (Sask. Q.B.).

(46 )  Pottle et al. v. Attorney General of Canada et al., 2004 O1T 3964, 21 December 2004 (Sup. Ct. Nfld. and Lab. (T.D.)).

(47 )  Reference re Same-Sex Marriage, 2004 SCC 79, 9 December 2004.

(48)  Harrison v. Canada (Attorney General), [2005] N.B.J. No. 257 (Q.L.).


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