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Same-sex marriage in Manitoba

Same-sex marriage in Manitoba began on September 16, 2004, when Manitoba became the fifth jurisdiction in Canada to legalize same-sex marriage, after the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, and Yukon Territory.[1][2]

On September 16, 2004, Justice Douglas Yard of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench declared in the case of Vogel v. Canada that the current definition of marriage was unconstitutional.[1] The judge said that his decision had been influenced by the previous decisions in B.C., Ontario and Quebec. This decision followed the suits brought by three couples in Manitoba requesting that they be issued marriage licences. Both the provincial and federal governments had made it known that they would not oppose the court bid.[3] One of the couples, Chris Vogel and Richard North, had legally sought marriage in a high-profile case in 1974, being given a marriage certificate by a Unitarian minister, but had been denied when they sought to legally register the marriage with the province. The other couples were Stefphany Cholakis and Michelle Ritchot, and Laura Fouhse and Jordan Cantwell.

A controversy emerged after the ruling, when the province's Vital Statistics Office sent letters to the province's government marriage commissioners (not clergy) asking them to return their certificates of registration if they refuse to perform same-sex marriages. The federal Conservative justice critic, Vic Toews, announced he would file a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission if this policy is not rescinded.[4]

A Winnipeg Free Press survey (2/6/05) showed that of the 14 Manitoban MPs, eight were against same-sex marriages, five were for and one could not be reached.

As of 2015, Vogel and North are still fighting to have the province formally register their marriage as having taken place in 1974 instead of 2004.[5] Their original 1974 marriage certificate is now on display at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.[5] A portrait of Vogel and North, by artist Rosey Goodman, is also held by the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives in its National Portrait Collection.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Manitoba recognizes same-sex marriages".  
  2. ^ "Same-sex marriage in Manitoba, Canada". Kingston:  
  3. ^ "Manitoba legalizes same-sex marriage".  
  4. ^ "Commissioners have right to refuse to wed gay couples: Toews".  
  5. ^ a b "Chris Vogel, Richard North fight for Manitoba to recognize 41-year same-sex marriage". CBC News, February 18, 2015.
  6. ^ "Inductee: Rich North 1951-". Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, 2002.

External links

  • Same Sex Marriage in Canada
  • CBC news item
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