This was the third vote supporting same-sex marriage taken by three Parliaments under three Prime Ministers in three different years, as shown below.Note that in some of these cases, some marriages were in fact legal at an earlier date (for example, an Ontario ruling held that marriages performed in January 2001 were legal when performed), but the legality was questioned.Most legal benefits commonly associated with marriage had been extended to cohabiting same-sex couples since 1999.The Civil Marriage Act was introduced by Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal Minority Government in the Canadian House of Commons on February 1, 2005 as Bill C-38.
According to the Constitution of Canada, the definition of marriage is the exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government; this interpretation was upheld by a December 9, 2004 opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada (Re Same-Sex Marriage).
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