Published: October 26, 2011
In your advice to the Straight Best Man, you suggested that the first gay couples to legally wed in both Canada and the United States ended up divorcing and that this fact was largely unknown because anti-divorce and anti-gay marriage evangelical Christians have essentially dodged the issue in a bid to divert attention from their own spectacularly high rates of marriage implosion.
While the first American same-sex marriage ended in divorce, I can happily report that the first legal same-sex marriages in Canada are still going strong 10 years later. A gay couple, Joe Varnell and Kevin Bourassa, and a lesbian couple, Anne and Elaine Vautour, were married in a joint ceremony on Jan. 14, 2001, at Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto (MCCT). At that time, the government was still refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. To solve this problem, the church, on advice from their legal team, did an end run around the pre-authorized license requirement, using the ancient, but perfectly legal, Christian tradition of proclaiming the banns of marriage. While the government refused to register the marriages as valid, on June 10, 2003, the Ontario Court of Appeal declared that the marriages had been legally performed, and ordered the Province of Ontario to register them immediately. The court also ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and ordered the province to begin issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples that same day.
Both couples remain happily married, having renewed their vows in a public ceremony at MCCT on the occasion of their joint 10-year anniversaries earlier this year. —Nice Thing To Be Wrong About, Eh?
I'm happy to stand corrected — I'm delighted — and I'd like to send my belated congrats to Joe & Kevin and Anne & Elaine on the occasion of their 10th anniversaries. Here's to many, many more happy years together!
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