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The next day, the Ontario Attorney General announced that his Government would comply with the ruling.The court also ruled that two couples who had previously had a wedding ceremony in the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto using an ancient common-law procedure called the reading of the banns would be considered legally married. in May of that year had required the Federal Government to change the law to permit same-sex marriages (see above). will result in an unequal application of the law between Ontario and British Columbia".However, on June 10, 2003, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled on an appeal in the Halpern case. On June 10, 2003, the Court of Appeal for Ontario confirmed that current Canadian law on marriage violated the equality provisions in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in being restricted to heterosexual couples.The court agreed with the lower court that the traditional definition of marriage was discriminatory and that same-sex marriage was legally permitted. The court did not allow the province any grace time to bring its laws in line with the ruling, making Ontario the first jurisdiction in North America to recognize same-sex marriage.The Civil Marriage Act was introduced by Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal minority Government in the House of Commons of Canada on February 1, 2005 as Bill C-38.It was passed by the House of Commons on June 28, 2005, by the Senate on July 19, 2005, and it received royal assent the following day.The introduction of a federal gender-neutral marriage definition made Canada the fourth country in the world, and the first country outside Europe, to legally recognize same-sex marriage throughout its borders.Before the federal recognition of same-sex marriage, court decisions had already introduced it in eight out of ten provinces and one of three territories, whose residents collectively made up about 90% of Canada's population.
Before the enactment of federal legislation recognizing same-sex marriage, therefore, the application of federal marriage law differed depending on the province or territory.However, unlike the previous three court decisions, the Court of Appeal did not suspend its decision to allow Parliament to consider the issue. The first same-sex couple married after the decision were Michael Leshner and Michael Stark.Instead, it ruled that the 2001 marriages were legal and same-sex marriage was available throughout Ontario immediately: Halpern v. Consequently, the city of Toronto announced that the city clerk would begin issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples.Following the 2006 election, which was won by a Conservative minority government under new Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the House of Commons defeated a motion to reopen the matter by a vote of 175 to 123 on December 7, 2006, effectively reaffirming the legislation.