Concept

Same-sex marriage in Quebec

Résumé
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Quebec since March 19, 2004 in accordance with a ruling from the Quebec Court of Appeal that the heterosexual definition of marriage violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Quebec became the third Canadian province after Ontario and British Columbia and the fifth jurisdiction in the world to open marriage to same-sex couples. In 2000, Michael Hendricks and René Leboeuf applied for a marriage licence, but were turned down by a clerk who read out the sections of provincial law that defined marriage as being between "a man and a woman". After the rejection, they filed suit against the Government of Quebec, alleging that its refusal to perform and recognise same-sex marriage violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charte canadienne des droits et libertés). Two conservative organisations, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and the Catholic Civil Rights League, were given intevenor status in the case, Hendricks and Leboeuf v. Quebec. The lawsuit was heard in the Quebec Superior Court on 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 November 2001. The provincial and federal governments had initially opposed the court bid; provincial Attorney General Paul Bégin argued that "gays and lesbians were not suffering any form of discrimination in [Quebec]", while federal Attorney General Anne McLellan argued that the definition of marriage was at the Parliament of Canada's discretion and not a matter for the courts to decide. A lawyer representing the conservative religious groups argued that if the court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage "[h]is heterosexual clients would no longer be able to marry. That is because, to them, marriage is a heterosexual institution." Daniel Cere, a Catholic professor at McGill University, who filed an affidavit for the court, said that same-sex marriage "would fracture the basis of shared religious and civil peace in the province". Rabbi David Novak also filed an affidavit for the court, stating that same-sex marriage would "create a schism between Jews and the rest of society", and said that Judaism "expect[ed] them [gay people] to remain celibate for life".
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