Same-Sex Marriage

In Canada, the laws regarding same-sex marriage—and the public’s acceptance of them—have undergone a massive change over the last few years.

History of same-sex marriage in Ontario

In 1993, an Ontario court ruled people of the same sex did not have the right to marriage each other. Within a decade, however, the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed that decision. It ruled that limiting the definition of marriage as a union between one woman and one man violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As a result, in 2003 Ontario became the first jurisdiction in North America to legalize same-sex marriage. Two years later, the federal government enacted the Civil Marriage Act, which redefined marriage as “the voluntary union for life of two persons to the exclusion of others,” thus legalizing same-sex marriage across Canada.

The rights of same-sex couples

Because of these legislative changes, and providing the couple is legally married, the rights and obligations of couples in a same-sex marriage do not differ from those of opposite-sex couples.


If the marriage breaks down, for example, each partner in a same-sex marriage has an equal right to the matrimonial home, an equalization of other matrimonial property and spousal and child support, if appropriate.

For a free consultation with an AGB family lawyer to talk about your rights and obligations in a same-sex marriage, call us today in Ottawa at  613-232-8832 or email us. Want to talk right now? A representative is available for a live chat.


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