"Imagine the power that will be unLink to the Metropolitan Community Churches World Centreleashed if thousands of gay and lesbian couples apply for marriage licenses on the same day."
Rev. Troy D. Perry

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spread the word
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Link to our media coverage of related issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To all the couples and coordinators that made February 14 a day of equal love and equal marriage:

Thank You!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

External link to East Coast Bears

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Larry Dickinson and Jason Curl will exercise their right to marriage in Fredericton, N.B., on February 14. (Photo courtesy of L. Dickinson and J. Curl)
Larry Dickinson and Jason Curl requested a marriage license in Fredericton, N.B. They were among the first couples to do so as couples from coast to coast demanded equality in marriage laws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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External link to EGALE Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Same-sex marriage dominated this year's Valentine's Day:  Messages from leading advocates.

 

 

 

 

"Our struggle is with the federal government, and we call for them to let justice roll down like a mighty river."
Ian Taylor, applicant for marriage license with George Olds, Toronto City Hall, Feb. 14, 2003

 

 

 

 

 

Ian Taylor and George Olds (Centre) apply for a marriage license  surrounded by media at Toronto City Hall (photo be equalmarriage.ca, 2003)
Ian Taylor and George Olds (centre) surrounded by media as they ask a Toronto City Hall clerk (far left) for a marriage license on Feb. 14, 2003.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kyle Rae with Cameron MacLeod and James Kramer (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2003)
Toronto City Councillor Kyle Rae (left)
with marriage license applicants
Cameron MacLeod & James Kramer at
Toronto City Hall, Feb. 14, 2003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William Cross and Troy Bishop at Toronto City Hall on Feb. 14 2003 (photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2003)
William Cross and Troy Bishop were among the couples that excercised their Charter right to marriage on Feb. 14, 2003.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to learn more about how you can support equal marriage cases across Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neal McKenna and Navin Vasudev pictured at their holy union  - the couple asked the city of Kelowna for a marriage license on Valentine's day. (Photo courtesy of McKenna/Vasudev, 2000)
Neal McKenna and Navin Vasudev
at their holy union (2000). The couple
asked for a marriage license in Kelowna on Valentine's Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eldon Hay (right) ,  Wayne and Arthur. (Photo courtesy of A & W Toole)
Rev. Dr. Eldon Hay (left) solemnized the marriage between Wayne and Arthur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"We now want the Province of New Brunswick to recognize our marriage, and we will not stop until they do so."
Wayne & Art, New Bunswick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Advocacy: Events

February 14, 2003

Valentine's Day - Civil Obedience

"The idea for this historic event was born during a recent visit to Toronto and by the enthusiasm of those brave Canadians who are true leaders in the path to equal marriage. We consider this day as an act of civil obedience."
Rev. Elder Dr. Troy Perry
Founder and Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches

Rev. Troy D. Perry, the moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) is calling for a Valentine's Day act of civil obedience to call attention to the unfairness of government prohibitions against same-sex marriage. We were married by MCC Toronto on January 14, 2001 and we greatly appreciate, along with so many others, the effort to end this form of discrimination. But more needs to be done.

We have our record of marriage (it's just not yet registered in the government books). Although it is not appropriate for us to demand a license from city hall, you can! Please join us in an making this an annual initiative, until there is full and equal marriage for same-sex couples.

  1. Go to your local "city hall" or department of vital statistics on February 14 and ask for a marriage license (same-sex couple). Remember that in many cases, for example in Toronto, the city would like to issue same-sex couples licenses. The federal Liberals prohibits this. We are exercising our Charter rights as Canadian citizens, not protesting against "city hall" (or where ever you go in your home town for a marriage license). However in taking local action in our own home towns, we are asking all Canadian provinces to defend citizens by calling on the Justice Minister to honour our Charter rights and end marriage discrimination.
  2. If you are from a supportive faith community, you may wish for a statement from your community, calling on the government to end marriage discrimination.
  3. Tell the local media and press about your plans (contact us if you need assistance), and ask them to cover your event as part of their Valentine's Day news coverage. Share your story.
  4. Invite your friends and supporters to join you - make this a public event in your town or city.
  5. Let us know about your plans (and consider sending us a write-up or photo afterwards) to include on our site. Check back for updates!

Ottawa, of course, must change first of all. So a Valentine's Day event at Parliament, or the offices of the Justice Ministry in Ottawa (or across the country) may interest advocates for change too!

For equality,

Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell


Couples Participating Coast-to-Coast

With the help of EGALE Canada coordinators from across the country, couples have stepped forward, willing to share their stories, as they apply for a marriage license on Feb. 14. With more couples expected, the following cities have confirmed their participation:

St. John's, Newfoundland

Jacqueline Pottle and Noelle French appeared at their local marriage registry office at 10:45 a.m (Government Services Centre - 5 Mews Place).

Update on the day's experience:

Just back from the provincial govt office. Jacqueline Pottle and Noelle French were greeted by the members of the press as they entered the building...including CBC radio and tv, VOCM (local / provincial radio) and the Telegram (local paper).

They proceeded to the counter and were passed on to a govt supervisor. He explained to them that he could not process their application as it was against federal law. However, he did allow them fill out an application form which will be kept on file and could be processed in the future with the appropriate law changes.

Afterwards, Jacqueline and Noelle fielded questions from the media for 20 minutes. The media also spoke with Derrick Bishop, Chair of NGALE (Newfoundland and Labrador Gays and Lesbians for Equality).

On a side note...I think CBC tv is also going to do an in-studio interview with Derrick and I mentioned to the CBC reporter to pass on his footage to CBC national office as I told him they were planning a national piece. VOCM has a website (www.vocm.com) with real audio (when it is working...small server) and most likely carry an extensive piece on this during their mid-day news at 1 pm NF (11:30 am ON) and during their good news section at 1 :30 pm NF (12 noon ON) along with posting the story on their website. The Telegram has a website (www.thetelegram.com) and it might be on there tomorrow. Also during the noon CBC radio show, there should be a piece ( ( www.cbc.ca then click on live radio and then on St. John's). That is all from da rock... cheers to the rest of the country :-))

Michael Riehl
Co-chair, Newfoundland and Labrador Gays and Lesbians For Equality

Feb 14 Day of Action news coverage

Moncton, New Brunswick
Art and Wayne Toole (accompanied by supporters including Rev. Dr. Eldon Hay) requested a marriage license from Service New Brunswick at 770 Main St. (Service New Brunswick) at 10:00 a.m.
Email Art and Wayne at godfather@rogers.com

Fredericton, New Brunswick
Larry Dickinson and Jason Curl requested their marriage license at 11:30 a.m. at Fredericton's Service New Brunswick office. Larry and Jason would like to keep this a personal experience and wish to refer media interest in New Brunswick to Art and Wayne in Moncton.

Update on the day's experience:

Happy Valentines Day to Everyone,

This is Art & Wayne from Moncton, New Brunswick. We have just arrived back home from our meeting with Service New Brunswick. We were granted our appointment, and we were given our 15mins just like everyone else. As expected our Marriage Application was not accepted. We had a very nice meeting with Diane Gauthier, Provincial Communications Officer for Service New Brunswick, and Michelle Dunn, Manager of Service New Brunswick Beauséjour Region. These two ladies were great! They went that one step furthur and contacted Karen Clark, Executive Assistant to Minister Brad Green to set up an appointment for us. We are to be contacted to confirm a date for that meeting.

There was a media frenzy at our meeting. We had five (5) television stations, and four (4) radio stations present. I'm sure you will be able to get a review of our day right across the country on this evenings news.

We had the support of our friends there as well. Our Church Minister the Rev. Eldon Hay was present in his pride regalia, as well as gays and lesbians from Moncton. We are truly blessed with wonderful circle of friends, we truly appreciate their support.

We will now await our appointment with Minister Green, and will take our next step after that meeting. Again, Happy Valentines Day to all. LOVE, Art & Wayne

Feb 14 Day of Action news coverage

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Update on the day's experience:

Hi all: Well we had a small but significant show of support here in Nova Scotia. Three couples, two lesbian and one gay couple went to the Deputy Issuers and applied for a marriage license. One of the couples reported that when they made their application, the clerk who met with them seemed very nervous and pulled his chair back from the counter about two feet. (Didn't want to catch that Gay THing!) He nervously indicated that they had to go to another office. In fact, what he was suggesting was that they should go to Vital Statistics and apply for an RDP. All three couples were denied (Surprise!) but the message from around the country is resounding....we are not being treated equally and fairly and we are not going to stand by and let this continue. So there you have it from Canada's Ocean Playground on this "Valentine's Day of Civil Obedience". Pleasure working with all of you. Cheers, Don Tabor, EGALE

Feb 14 Day of Action news coverage

Montreal, Quebec
Three couples applied for a marriage license in Montreal at the Palais de justice at 9:00 a.m. The participating couples were:

Mona Greenbaum and Nicole Paquette
Gabriel Pinkstone and Monica Perrazzo
Nathalie Ricard and Emine Pyale-Sheard

Contact for these couples is Dominique Dubuc, email: srobert@sympatico.ca

Update on the day's experience:

In Montréal, only a La Presse photographer showed up, but La Presse is widespread thoughout Québec. I called afterwards and did an extensive interview with a La Presse journalist over the phone.
Dominique Duboc

Sherbrooke, Quebec
Dominique Dubuc and Sylvia Robert asked for a marriage license at 9:45 a.m. at the Palais de justice de Sherbrooke. For details please email srobert@sympatico.ca

Update on the day's experience:

In Sherbrooke, there was more action (surprisingly!), so there was footage and interviews taken for TQS, RDI, CBC and Radio-Canada. And I talked a few times with Denis-Martin Chabot who is covering Moncton for R-C and CBC, and plans to do a nationwide piece. We also did an interview with the local paper La Tribune. The piece for RDI should be on at 5:00PM news, and the CBC and Radio-Canada pieces should be on at 6:00PM from what the reporter told me.
Dominique Duboc

Feb 14 Day of Action news coverage

London, Ontario
Kerry Kearns and Linda Speers presented themselves for a marriage license at London City Hall.

Update on the day's experience:

Well, we went down to City Hall in London today at about 12:45 p.m. and asked for a marriage license. The woman who served us was very nice and said she wished she could have given us one. She gave us an address to send a letter of complaint to (Registrar General for Ontario I believe). We showed her a copy of the certificate we had made for our commitment ceremony in 2000 and she thought it was a nicer certificate than the legal one and suggested we send a copy so that Ontario could improve on theirs! All in all a pleasant visit - it would have felt even better if we could have actually gotten a license.We asked and apparently we were the only two she had met so far today.

Sudbury, Ontario
Krystie, with partner and friends, asked for a marriage license between 1:30 and 3:15 pm. Contact miss_guided2000@hotmail.com for interviews or details.

Update on the day's experience:

We had support form the Laurentian University's gay community (Pride @ LU) and from our community group, the Northern Rainbow Pride Center (NRPC). There were a total of 5 people present at the protest and with a Northern Life photographer and CBC radio.

The response form the clerks office was to be expected, once they realized we were applying for a license for a same sex union, tey told us they would be unable to process it. We were handed a memo on the reasons they were not allowed to help us. Over all the protest was quiet and respectful. It lasted aprox 20 minutes because we did the interviews on the spot.

Krystie

Toronto, Ontario
Ian Taylor & George Olds, William Cross & Troy Bishop, and Cameron MacLeod & James Kramer presented themselves with other couples at noon at city hall. Supporters accompanying the couples include Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell (Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto Ontario marriage case) and Gail Donnelly and Barb McDowall, (Ontario marriage case), The Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes, and City Councillor Kyle Rae.

Update on the day's experience:

Just before noon today, my partner Ian Taylor and I entered the rotunda of Toronto City Hall and were greeted by a bank of photographers, videographers and reporters. Supported by our Pastor, a city councillor and friends, we and 2 other couples were there to ask for a Marriage License application.

Similar actions were taking place across Canada, from St. John's, Newfoundland, Moncton, New Brunswick, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Sherbrooke and Montreal, Quebec, London and Toronto, Ontario, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The clerk was pleasant and offered us the form as the cameras clicked, the videocams whirred and reporters practised their shorthand. She politely said that we could mail the application in, along with the appropriate I.D. and applicable fee, or we could return it to City Hall where it would be "held in abeyance" until the federal government amends the currently discriminatory laws that prohibit gay and lesbian partners full and equal access to the institution of marriage.

We knew this would be the clerk's reaction. Ian thanked her and praised the City of Toronto, which was the first North American jurisdiction to pass laws protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in hiring policies.

Ian said "Our struggle is with the federal government, and we call for them to let justice roll down like a mighty river."

I thanked the clerk too, and smiled as I reminded her that we are taxed as a couple, and showed our tax bill to the cameras.

There is currently a federal justice committee investigating how the marriage laws ought to be changed, and the committee recently heard a round of lies from politicians of every stripe. Liberal Member of Parliament Pat O'Brien said legalizing our marriages would open doors to making polygamy lawful in Canada. Alliance MP Vic Toews echoed the polygamy charges, and Conservative MP Peter MacKay said, last month, it would force all churches to marry us.

Freedom of religion would, of course, ensure that wouldn't happen, but currently freedom of religion in Canada seems to be a heterosexual privilege.

The committee has also heard the same polygamy charge from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and the Catholic Conference Board of Catholic Bishops believe that a "change in marriage laws would lead to a destruction of the social order." (The Ottawa Citizen, 14 Feb).To be fair, some churches are also addressing the Parliamentary committee in a positive manner. The United Church of Canada is urging them "to recommend that the government do nothing less than include gays and lesbians in marriage."

The committee was struck as a result of an Ontario Divisional Court unanimous decision last year that "a federal ban on gay marriage is a violation of the equality guarantees in the Charter of Rights."

All this for the right to marry the one I love.

The Toronto City Hall act of civil obedience was captured on CBC National TV and radio as well as CBC French Radio, Global TV, CTV network affiliate CFTO, CITY-TV, The Toronto Sun newspaper and the Chinese language Toronto daily Min Bo [my spelling may be off on that].

Blessings to you all.

George Olds - Toronto

Feb 14 Day of Action news coverage

Winnipeg, Manitoba
Michelle Ritchot and Stefphany Cholakis asked for a marriage license at 10:30 at 254 Portage Ave (although some interviews began at 10:00 a.m.). Contact info: cr2pawz@sprint.ca

Update on the day's experience:

The event went off in Winnipeg with every major media there includng CKY-TV (CTV local), CBC, A-Channel, Global, CBC french TV, Winnipeg Free Press, and Swerve (our local glbtt newsmagazine). Only the Winnipeg Sun did not cover it. Even the french CBC radio covered it ahead of time. When the couple attempted to register their marriage (they were married in the United Church in 1999) they were told that they couldn't. Vital Statistics wouldn't even accept their application. The manager informed them that only a man a woman could apply, and that this couldn't be amended until the federal govenment changed its laws, at which time she would be happy to accept their application. So on the whole, a very good action. I thought the couple, Stephany and Michelle, did very well in front of the cameras, and I was pleased to be able to take part in it.
Donna Huen
Rainbow Resource Centre

Feb 14 Day of Action news coverage

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Four couples asked for a marriage license:

Nicole and Lisa
Stef and Dale
Ned and Zack
Rhiannon and Breanna

Couples went to the University of Saskatchewan at 3:00 p.m. For detailed info please contact Donna Smith at: dsmith@sgeu.gov.sk.ca

Update on the day's experience:

I have talked to several reporters this am (two interviews on my thoughts on this issue) and I have passed them on to Nicole White in Saskatoon who has set up a news conference for 2pm at the University of Saskatchewan, Student Union Bldg., LGBTA Centre.
Donna Smith

Feb 14 Day of Action news coverage

Calgary, Alberta

Keith Purdy and Rick Kennedy went to the Downtown Registry between 12:15 and 12:30 p.m. For interview requests please contact Stephen Lock at stlock@nucleus.com.

Update on the day's experience:

The only media to show was CBC TV Calgary, CBC Francais Calgary, and CBC 1010 radio. Keith and Rick had several shots of them walking along the sidewalk to the Registry office. The security guard would not allow TV cameras inside (and the windows are opaque, with that mirrored finish on the outside). CBC radio with Judy Aldous accompanied Keith and Rick to the counter.

The woman behind the counter asked very politely what she could help them with and when Keith announced they were there to apply for a marriage license, she sighed and I believe muttered something about "I knew this was going to happen...". She told them she couldn't do that. When asked why, she proceeded to tell them the rules in Alberta were "one man one woman" and then glared at Judy Aldous and demanded the microphone "get out of her face".

Keith politely thanked her and he and Rick left the Registry. There was some on-street interviews with them and then CBC TV retired to their residence to get some "domestic shots".

One interesting little side note, though, was as Keith and Rick were being taped walking up the street (at least 3 takes of that!) a rather eccentric unkempt old guy stopped to chat with the reporters and myself. After a couple of corny jokes (nothing to do with marriage, by the way) he asked what was the filming about. He was told CBC was covering a story on a same-sex couple trying to apply for a marriage license. I prepared for a reaction from him. Instead, he chuckled and said, "As a divorced guy, I say welcome to it!! You want it, go for it! Hope they have better luck than I did!" Suddenly he appeared to me as a rather sweet old guy when two seconds before I was preparing to maybe having to deal with a raging redneck....

Stephen Lock

Feb 14 Day of Action news coverage

British Columbia

Three couples confirmed their intentions to participate:

Neal McKenna and Navin Vasudeu (Kelowna, B.C.)
Rowly Johnson and Duncan Wilson (Vancouver, B.C.)
Dianna Denny and Robin Roberts (Victoria, BC marriage case)

The couples asked for their license at 1:00 p.m. Please contact Craig Maynard for info or interviews at: cmaynard@shaw.ca.

Update on the day's experience:

We had exceptional coverage on local TV (CHBC), CKOV, CBC (Day Break) and local newspapers, the Daily courier and the Capital news.

Navin Vasudev



January 24, 2003

New Brunswick's equal marriage drive
New names (literally) join the effort

The media have reported their names as Art Vautour and Wayne Tool. The couple is "still waiting for the Province to give us our new name," they explained to us after their story reached the media. They have decided to contribute to the drive for equal marriage on Feb. 14. Here's an introduction in their own words:

Hi A little story about the gay men from the Maritimes that wanted to get married.

Wayne and Arthur V Toole  (Photo courtesy of  A & W Toole)Our names are Wayne & Arthur V Toole one being French Acadian and Catholic from Moncton, New Brunswick, and an Irish Catholic from Prince Edward Island. We met on January 29th, 2000, and dated for 16 months then we started planning for a wedding. Knowing that the Catholic Church would say no, we asked them anyway. But to no avail the response was what we had said it would be "NO".

We had no other choice but to get married away from our own Church. We were told by a Priest that they would not bless our wedding. So we contacted a good friend of ours the Rev. Eldon Hay from Sackville New Brunswick, and he agreed to marry us.

Now the fun part was to start here in the city of Moncton. Would any Hotel or Motel allow us to get married [using their premises]? No one said no, but if we ask for a date they would reply it's booked. So we where given a place where their was an old but not sanctified chapel in Memramcook.

The Management and staff went out of their way to make sure that our wedding day would be remembered by us as the greatest day of our lives! And it was.

We had approx. 150 guests at our wedding. These guests took in every range of society. From gays, lesbians, bisexuals, drags, leathermen, and hetrosexuals. The beautiful ceremony conducted by our close friend Rev. Hay was very emotional for the both of us. Pledging our love to one another in front of our friends and family touched us very deeply. After the ceremony we had a reception and dance. Everyone had a wonderful time, and the positive comments continued for weeks after the date.

We now want the Province of New Brunswick to recognize our marriage, and we will not stop until they do so.

Thank you,

Wayne & Art


Link to our media coverage of related issues.