Brent Hawkes, pastor who officiated Canada’s first legal gay marriages, retires

TORONTO — The well-known Toronto pastor who officiated Canada’s first legally recognized same-sex marriages is delivered his final sermon Sunday.

Rev. Brent Hawkes, who is also known for officiating Jack Layton’s state funeral in 2011, is retiring after serving as senior pastor at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto for more than 40 years.

In 2001, the openly gay pastor married two same-sex couples using a legal loophole: the ancient Christian tradition of publishing the banns of marriage.

At the time, same-sex couples could not obtain marriage licences from municipal clerks, but the Ontario Marriage Act allowed couples to be granted a licence if their names were published and read out at church for three Sundays in a row.

But when the couples tried to have the marriages registered with the province, it refused.

The couples and the church sued, and the Ontario Court of Appeal eventually recognized their unions in a 2003 ruling that paved the way for same-sex marriage to be legalized across the country.

Hawkes was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2007 for his work advocating for gay rights.

He will be succeeded as senior pastor by Rev. Jeff Rock. Rock previously was the pastor of Gaetz Memorial United Church.

Just Posted

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

OTTAWA — The Liberals have once more won the most seats in… Continue reading

UK’s Johnson prepares push to heave Brexit bill over line

LONDON — British lawmakers from across the political spectrum were plotting Tuesday… Continue reading

US highway deaths fall in 2018 for second straight year

DETROIT — The U.S. government’s road safety agency says traffic deaths fell… Continue reading

Permafrost emits more carbon in winter than plants absorb in summer: study

Research has found Arctic soil has warmed to the point where it… Continue reading

Liberals win most seats in Election 2019

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau is expected to remain prime minister but the… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday The Small Business Centre at Burman University’s School of Business invites… Continue reading

Canadian rookie Mfiondu Kabengele learning quickly from Clippers superstars

VANCOUVER — Canadian rookie Mfiondu Kabengele knows he has a lot to… Continue reading

Canada beefs up in women’s curling to counter international surge

CALGARY — Canada is deeper in women’s curling talent and so is… Continue reading

The most dangerous celebrity online is revealed

NEW YORK — Actress Alexis Bledel has been bookish and sweet on… Continue reading

Howie Mandel to be subject of a new documentary by Barry Avrich

TORONTO — Howie Mandel’s rise from Toronto carpet salesman to Hollywood personality… Continue reading

Liberals win most seats in Election 2019

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau is expected to remain prime minister but the… Continue reading

Catalan independence remains an obstacle for Spanish leaders

The demonstrations, some of them violent, are still going on in Catalonia… Continue reading

West Division playoff race still has no shortage of twists and turns

Finally, some clarity in the muddled West Division playoff picture. The Edmonton… Continue reading

Most Read