Dozens of cou­ples re­new vows, celebrate mar­riage equal­ity

Cape Breton Post - - PROVINCE - METRO HAL­I­FAX

Four years ago, Tara (Tee) Martin had a crazy idea.

In just two days, she planned to take then girl­friend, Mee­gan (Mimi) Dowe on their first date, steal her first kiss, then slide an en­gage­ment ring on her fin­ger.

“A few days later we were go­ing to do some­thing even more crazy,” Martin read in front of a crowd of around 200 Fri­day.

“We’re were go­ing to elope and get mar­ried.”

The pair were the first of 26 cou­ples –both same-sex and straight– to re­new their wed­ding vows in front of fam­ily, friends and cu­ri­ous on­look­ers gath­ered in Grand Pa­rade to ob­serve the one-of-a-kind vow re­newal cer­e­mony.

Of­fi­ci­ated by Mayor Mike Sav­age, who joked with the crowd that he has no of­fi­cial power to re­new mar­riages, ex­plained the cer­e­mony com­mem­o­rates the 10-year an­niver­sary of mar­riage equal­ity in Canada, which he voted for dur­ing his time as a mem­ber of par­lia­ment.

“On June 28, 2005, I said in the House of Com­mons that I be­lieve that the time will soon come when we look back on this de­bate with great na­tional pride to­gether,” he told Fri­day’s crowd.

“I be­lieve that to­day, that time has come.”

Fri­day’s cer­e­mony was un­like any wed­ding seen be­fore at city hall. From a string quar­tet play­ing such clas­sics as The Bea­tles’ ‘All you Need is Love’ and vases of flow­ers ar­ranged around a white wed­ding arch, to a bub­ble ma­chine and, of course, tiers of cup­cakes in a re­cep­tion af­ter­wards.

One by one, many of the cou­ples made their way to the front and re­galed the crowd with sto­ries of first meet­ings, the ups and downs of mar­ried life and the un­con­di­tional bond they still share in spite of it all.

Only a few times did mem­bers of the crowd wipe tears from their eyes, as most of their faces beamed with smiles.

Re­new­ing their vows was not only done in cel­e­bra­tion their up­com­ing an­niver­sary, but was some­thing “we had to do” Martin ex­plained af­ter­wards, who moved to Canada from Seat­tle, Wash.

“When we de­cided to get mar­ried there was no ques­tion where we had to do it. We had to go to Canada for it to be le­gal,” she said.

“I’ve gone back to my home­town and not been mar­ried af­ter get­ting mar­ried, which is re­ally heart­break­ing. So to now know that no mat­ter where I go in my home coun­try my wife is go­ing to be legally rec­og­nized … there’s re­ally no words to de­scribe how that feels to fi­nally be the first class citizen in my home town.

“When we de­cided to get mar­ried there was no ques­tion where we had to do it. We had to go to Canada for it to be le­gal.” Tara ( Tee) Martin

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