Dozens of couples renew vows, celebrate marriage equality
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