February 14, 2004
Day - Free to Marry
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."
Couples in Canada and the United States will repeat last year's successful Valentine's day of action in support of equal marriage. Canada's perspective will be somewhat different from 2003. We will celebrate the arrival of same-sex marriage in Ontario and British Columbia and protest the delay of equal rights in the remaining provinces and territories that still practice marriage discrimination.
There are many ways to get involved:
With the help of other advocacy groups, a number of activities are planned. Check back regularly for additions to this list. Please get involved and add your event here:
CBC News Sunday will broadcast the marriage of Douglass Drozdow-St. Christian (50) and his partner Stephen Drozdow-St. Christian (33) live to the nation on Feb 15 . The couple plan to shorten their hyphenated surname to "St. Christian" after their marriage. The program will include a debate on the issues, including commentary from the former President of PFLAG Canada (and recent recipient of the Order of Canada) Eldon Hay. Rev. Deana Dudley of Christos MCC will be the officiant. Read more details about the day in a statement from the couple.
At noon Valentine's Day February 14th there will be a celebration of British Columbia equal-marriage rights at the fountain of the Victoria Conference Centre (behind the Empress, near the bus station). A recently married couple (and fathers of two sons) will speak of their decision, and the spiritual and political reasons for equal-marriage rights will be addressed in the 15-minute event. For more information contact J. McRee Elrod
The Winnipeg Chapter of Canadians for Equal Marriage has sent rainbow-coloured ribbons adorned with linked wedding bands to all Members of Parliament.
“We hope that MPs in favour of equal marriage for all Canadians will wear the ribbons in the House of Commons on Friday, February 13, 2004,” said Michelle Ritchot, Co-founder of the Winnipeg chapter of Canadians for Equal Marriage. “This is an opportunity for MPs to show that their vision of Canada includes everyone.”
The ribbons, created by Coco Kissak and Leigh Mollison, have been very popular in Winnipeg since being featured in the February 2004 edition of a local magazine called Swerve.
“Valentine’s Day is set aside to celebrate love,” continued Michelle. “Same-gender couples can be just as loving and committed as opposite-gender couples. Last year, same-gender couples from across the country applied for marriage licenses to demonstrate their love and their desire to make a public commitment to each other. My wife Stefphany and I took part, and were highlighted in the local and national media.”
“This year, same-gender couples can get married in Ontario and B.C.,” said Brad Tyler-West, Co-founder of the Winnipeg chapter of Canadians for Equal Marriage. “It’s been over 8 months that same-gender couples have been getting married and the sky hasn’t fallen yet. Next Valentine’s Day we hope that marriage equality will be a reality all across this great country of ours.”
The Ontario Association for Marriage and Family Therapy is hosting a free marriage checkup during Valentine's week (open to all same-sex couples, not just those who are married).
Ontario - Guelph
A "love-in" is planned for the city of Gueph on Feb 14th, from noon until 4 p.m at the Cafe Aquarius (33 MacDonell, up). Among other things, organizers plan to prepare a Valentine's Day card, with lots of signatures, for local MP Brenda Chamberlain who says she will vote against same-sex marriage. For more information see www.ballyhoomedia.ca/lovein.
Ontario - Ottawa
St. Valentines is just around the corner. This would be an excellent occasion for us to reunite and celebrate newly married gay and lesbian couples living in the National Capital Region NCR. It would also be a good opportunity to give Cupid a hand in letting Ottawa know and see that love does not discriminate.
You are cordially invited to join us in a skating party on Saturday, February 14th, 2004 on the Rideau Canal. We will meet at 2PM at the Fifth Avenue main entrance to the Canal. From there, we will be lead by several skaters carrying rainbow flags to Dow's Lake. At Dow's Lake, we will gather around and celebrate our newly wed couples. There will be music, brief speeches, and gifts for the newly weds! We will have on-hand pro-gay ministers and clergy and other invited guests to join the party.
In preparation, we need some help:
Ontario - Toronto
Last year Ian Taylor & George Olds were one of the couples who showed up at Toronto City Hall on Valentine's Day to request a marriage licence. This year they will be getting married at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, after a reception at City Hall to celebrate the arrival of equal marriage in Ontario, and to remember Canadians in other provinces who still are denied the freedom to marry. Transportation to George and Ian's wedding will be provided from City Hall to MCCT for those wishing to attend their 3 p.m. nuptials . In an event called "Bitter Sweet", Mayor David Miller and Councillors Kyle Rae & Olivia Chow will present a special City Council honour to Ian and George, the Barnett-Kemper family, and George Hislop. Singing Out! will perform and hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be served, followed by a skating party. All the lesbian and gay couples who have married since the Ontario ruling, as well as all the engaged couples, are invited for "class pictures" that will be sent to Paul Martin as a belated Valentine's It all begins at 12:30 pm. on Feb. 14th at Toronto City Hall, presented by Canadians For Equal Marriage. For further info, or to RSVP, please call Cicely at 416-928-1238
American couples will participate in Toronto's Valentine's Day of action in support of equal marriage. In an homage to the historic slave route to freedom, known as the Underground Railroad, the initiative is called "The Civil Marriage Trail". A Canadian judge will perform individual same-sex marriage ceremonies for the American couples. Organizers vow to return to the U.S. prepared to challenge their laws.