Top Five 2003: Halpern v Canada
Each year at OJEN’s Toronto Summer Law Institute, a judge from the Court of Appeal for Ontario identifies five cases that are of significance in the educational setting. This summary, based on these comments and observations, is appropriate for discussion and debate in the classroom setting.
Halpern v Canada (AG), 65 OR (3d) 161 (CA)
The Ontario Court of Appeal was asked to determine whether the exclusion of same-sex couples from the common law definition of marriage breached the equality guarantee in the Charter. The Court found that the exclusion of same-sex couples from the institution of marriage violated the dignity of persons in same-sex relationships, and thus violated the Charter. The Court further held that that this violation of the equality guarantee was not justified, and therefore, the Court reformulated the common law definition of marriage as, “the voluntary union for life of two persons to the exclusion of all others.” The full decision is available here.
Date Produced: 2003