A Quebec Superior Court judge has ruled that the federal prohibition of same-sex marriages is unconstitutional and has granted two men the right to marry.
Michael Hendricks and Ren√© LeBoeuf, who have been together since 1973, first applied for a marriage licence in 1998 and have been battling the federal and Quebec governments in provincial court until their victory yesterday.
"Requiring couples to be heterosexual to enter into marriage cannot be imposed by a legislature because it is a fundamental right," wrote Justice Louise Lemelin. The distinction based on sex "undermines human dignity and denies the applicants' equality rights under section 15 of the Charter," she wrote.
This summer, while their legal action was continuing, a bill allowing same-sex civil unions came into force in Quebec, but the pair rejected this option as a quasi-marriage.