MICHAEL LESHNER, Canadian lawyer and Gay Rights advocate, born; The Michaels” is a public name used to refer to the duo of Michael Stark and Michael Leshner. They were the men who in 2003 entered into the first civil same-sex marriage in Canada, and were consequently named the Canadian Newsmakers of the Year by Time magazine. When Leshner heard of colleagues’ plans to try to legalize same-sex marriage, he convinced Stark to seek marriage so the two could start the case. Leshner considered himself to have been in a common law marriage with Stark for 22 years prior. After the ruling by a lower Ontario court, Leshner proposed to Stark in front of reporters.
The marriage then came after the decision Halpern v Canada (Attorney General) by the Ontario Court of Appeals deciding homosexuals should be allowed to marry. The Michaels afterwards became well-known in their city Toronto, and appeared in the 2003 Gay Pride parade.