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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Decade's Gay Canadian Newsmakers: "The Michaels"

"Their names may have faded from memory, but one Canadian couple made waves with their dogged effort to have what they considered a normal life - a trail-blazing effort that ended up toppling social barriers," reports Metro News.

Nicknamed "The Michaels," the duo of Michael Stark and Michael Leshner dominated headlines in 2003 with the first civil same-sex marriage in Canada. "Normalcy was what we craved," Leshner said in a recent interview. "We were just two young men in love, wondering how we were going to make a life for one another." The Toronto-based couple fought a long battle to have their relationship formally recognized, but hardly expected the iconic status its culmination would bring them. "We were Canada's sweethearts," said Leshner, at 61 the older of the two. "We put a face to the issue." And while their success did result in at least a temporary loss of privacy, they say it was a price well worth paying. "I was determined to kill that sucker known as homophobia," Leshner said with a laugh. "It's a love story that defied all of the odds and taught people a simple basic human rights lesson."

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