Key Dates

1965 – Everett Klippert is sent to prison for having gay sex in a decision backed by the Supreme Court of Canada. He isn’t released until July 20, 1971.

1967 – Pierre Trudeau (then Justice Minister) proposes amendments to the Criminal Code to decriminalize homosexual acts, which pass.

1969 – Trudeau’s proposed amendments pass and become law. Homosexuality becomes decriminalized in Canada.

1977 – Quebec becomes the first Canadian province to pass a gay civil rights law, making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, public accommodation and housing.

1978 – Homosexuals are removed from the Immigration Act under list of inadmissible classes

1991 – Delwin Vriend is fired from his job as a lab instructor at King’s University College in Edmonton, Alberta when it is revealed that he is gay. Because the Alberta Individual Rights Protection Act didn’t cover discrimination based on sexual orientation, the Alberta Human Rights Commission refuses to investigate.

In the ensuing court battle, the court rules that sexual orientation must be added to the Individual Rights Protection Act, but the decision is overturned on appeal in 1996. In 1998, the Supreme Court of Canada rules that the exclusion of gays from human rights protection is a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

1993 – The Supreme Court of Canada rules that same-sex couples falls under “family status”, though denial of bereavement leave to a gay partner doesn’t constitute discrimination under the family status definition in the Canadian Human Rights Act. The SCC indicates that it may have made different findings if the case were argued on the basis of S. 15 of the Charter.

1996 – Canadian government passes Bill C-33 to add sexual orientation to the Canadian Human Rights Act.

1999 – In M v. H., Supreme Court of Canada rules that same-sex  couples are entitled to the same obligations and benefits as heterosexual common law couples.

1999 – June 8, Federal government votes 216 to 55 in favor of preserving “marriage” to include only man and woman.

2002 – Ontario Superior Court rules that a gay student has a right to take their same-sex partner to the prom, after a Catholic School district in the Durham region prohibited a high school student from bringing his 21 year old boyfriend to prom.

2004 – The SCC confirms that the federal government can change the definition of marriage to include same sex couples, but doesn’t state whether the change is required under the Charter. The SCC also re-affirms that religious leaders do not have to perform same-sex marriages.

2005 – Bill C-38, giving same sex couples the right to marry is passed and receives royal asset, becoming Canadian law. Canada becomes the 4th country in the world, and the 1st country outside of Europe to legalize same-sex marriage nationally.

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