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Canadian Suits for Legal Marriage
Elaine Vautour and Anne Vautour
© 2003, Partners

On January 14, 2001, two same-sex couples were legally married in a joint service before 1,000 people at Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of Toronto using the ancient Christian tradition of the banns. Elaine Vautour married Anne Vautour, and Kevin Bourassa married Joe Varnell. The officiant was Brent Hawkes.

The Canadian government has illegally refused to honor these marriages with a legal marriage license. The province of Ontario was sued by Metropolitan Community Church Toronto on January 19, 2001, to recognize the marriages.

The following affidavit is from the female couple who were married.

Affidavit of Elaine Vautour and Anne Vautour
Court File No. 39/2001

We, ELAINE VAUTOUR and ANNE VAUTOUR, of the City of Toronto, in the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, MAKE OATH AND SAY:

1. We are members of the congregation of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto (MCCT). We have been attending the church since 1992 and 1997 respectively.Elaine was consecrated a Deacon of the church on December 12, 1999 and is currently a student of theology.

2. We met on August 15, 1998 on Strawberry Island at a church retreat that was facilitated by MCCT.

3. We have lived together as common-law spouses since June of 1999.

4. Anne changed her last name to Vautour in March of 2000.

5. We wished to be legally married, but did not believe that marriage was available to same sex couples in Ontario. We knew that MCCT performed Holy Union ceremonies for same sex couples that were akin to marriage in the eyes of the church.

6. On August 12, 2000, we participated in a Holy Union ceremony at the Bloor Street United Church.Reverend Mary Joseph of Christos Metropolitan Community Church conducted the ceremony. We invited our friends and family to share in the celebration.

7. In December 2000, we learned of the publication of banns process. We informed MCCT staff that we were interested in being legally married.

8. We planned to be married on January 14, 2001 in a double marriage ceremony with Joe Varnell and Kevin Bourassa (“Joe and Kevin”), who were also members of the MCCT congregation.

9. Reverend Hawkes read our banns of marriage, and those of Joe and Kevin at MCCT during regular Sunday services on December 10th, 17th and 24th. No lawful objections were made to the proposed marriages.

10. We were married along with Joe and Kevin on Jan. 14, 2001 at MCCT. Our friends and families attended at the ceremony.

11. Our marriages were entered in the marriage register maintained by MCCT. We completed the forms required where couples are married under the authority of banns.

12. Prior to our forms being sent to the Registrar General for registration, we learned from the media that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations had stated that the Province of Ontario would not permit the registration of our marriage.Reverend Hawkes sent in our forms in any event.

13. We wish to have our marriage registered with the Registrar General for Ontario for many reasons. We believe that we have the freedom to choose whom to marry. We want to be recognized as a legally married couple.

14. We believe that prohibiting marriage to same sex couples is discriminatory on the basis of sex and sexual orientation. We want to be treated equally as citizens of Canada.

15. We want to have the same legal status as other married couples. We want to be able to make medical and financial decisions on one another’s behalf without resorting to a Power of Attorney should one of us become incapacitated.

16. We have drafted Wills in order to protect ourselves should one of us predecease the other. If our marriage were legally recognized, this would not be necessary in the event of a death.

17. In order to enjoy the legal rights and benefits of marriage, we would have to live together in a common-law relationship for a certain period of time. Legally married heterosexual couples automatically have legal rights as soon as they are married.

18. We love one another and are happy to be married. We highly value the love and commitment to our relationship that marriage implies. Our parents were married for over 40 and 50 years respectively, and we value the tradition of marriage as seriously as did our parents.

SWORN before me at
the City of Toronto, in the
Province of Ontario,
on the 24th day
of January, 2001. ____________________
                              ELAINE VAUTOUR

A Commissioner for Taking Affidavits

SWORN before me at
the City of Toronto, in the
Province of Ontario,
on the 24th day
of January, 2001. ____________________
                              ANNE VAUTOUR

A Commissioner for Taking Affidavits

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