World National
©World National / Roger-Luc Chayer

Canada's first gay married couple Time Magazine's Newsmaker of the Year

TORONTO (CP) - A couple that made headlines around the world by being the first gay pair to legally wed in Canada have been chosen as Time Magazine's Canadian Newsmaker of the Year.


"We're just elated," said Michael Leshner, who with his partner Michael Stark were the first same-sex couple to receive a legal marriage license in Ontario last June. "It's a wonderful vindication of all our years of struggling to tell our love story."

The pair were married in a quick civil ceremony mere hours after Ontario's Court of Appeal pronounced Canadian law on traditional marriage unconstitutional, effective immediately.

They learned two weeks ago that the newsmagazine had selected their story as the greatest Canadian news story of 2003 - beating out the SARS (news - web sites) epidemic, the summer blackout and the mad cow crisis.

"We chose them, first of all, because they were the first to get married," said Steven Frank, Time's Canadian bureau chief.

"Second of all, because they have been very tenaciously fighting for gay rights in Canada, but also because they symbolize what we thought was the most important trend of the year in Canada which was the great advancement of social liberalism in a number of areas," Frank added.

"These guys we felt represented that."

While a photo spread inside the magazine, scheduled to hit newsstands Monday, features Leshner and Stark in their Toronto home, their photos are not on the cover.

That honour goes to the anonymous American soldier who is Time magazine's Person of the Year and who will appear on the cover of all Time magazine issues around the world.