Happy anniversary Michael and Michael! Michael Stark and Michael Leshner were the first same-sex couple to be married in Canada, 10 years ago today.
The two married in a civil ceremony in Toronto on June 10, 2003 after the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a ruling from a lower court that found the previous marriage law to be unconstitutional.
Two years later, changes to Canada’s federal marriage law removed the gender provision, legalizing same-sex marriage across the country.
The couple is still happily married and has been together for a total of 32 years. They spoke with CBC News host Heather Hiscox this morning.
“It still brings a tear to my eye. It was such an emotional event for us, Heather, because it was never something we thought we would be able to do,” Stark told CBC News.
Leshner, who was working as a lawyer at the time the couple wed, told The Canadian Press that the decision gave gay and lesbian couples full equality. “The marriage case drove the stake through the heart of legalized homophobia,” he said.
There are now 14 countries in the world that permit same-sex marriage. France is the latest to join the group, after passing a controversial bill in April, which affords same-sex couples the same rights as straight couples.