Vancouver Pride - Aug. 2, 2003



Decorating the carriage (Photo for courtesy of Jane Eaton Hamilton, 2003)
Decorating the carriage.



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Jane and Joy (Photo for courtesy of Jane Eaton Hamilton, 2003)
Jane Eaton Hamilton and Joy Masuhara



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SELECT to read our report from  Vancouver Pride 2002
Read our report from Vancouver Pride 2002



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Advocacy News - Vancouver Pride 2003

Vancouver Pride
August 3, 2003

This year's Pride week in Vancouver had special meaning for the litigants in the equal-marriage challenge. We knew from the beginning that we were setting sail on a course that would likely change the history of Canada. However I don't think any of the couples ever imagined that we would be taking on the Vatican, Gerry Falwell, and all of the bigotry and hate that could possibly be thrown at us. Bob and I thought that we would invite a few friends over to watch the parade from our patio on Sunday. Jane and Joy [couples involved in the B.C. marriage case] had advised the group that Stanley Park Tours had donated a carriage, that normally rents for $1200 for the couples involved in the case, along with any friends and supporters that wanted to ride along. The carriage was capable of holding 24 people and was drawn by two horses. The Pride Committee also waived their hefty entry fee. But I'm jumping ahead of the story.

On Saturday morning Bob and I attended the annual "Pride Brunch" put on by the NDP Burrard Constituency. It is always lots of fun and a bit of a fundraiser for the party. This year the politicians in attendance were; Svend Robinson, Ian Waddell, Joy MacPhail, who is the leader of the NDP in BC, Tim Stevenson, city councilor, and former member of the provincial government. Tim looked great in his multi-coloured boa. The two men who were married by Tim at the Supreme Court of BC, Tom and Tony were also on hand. Bob and I were both proud and humbled by the kind words by Svend and Joy as they made their speeches. They referred to us as pioneers and political activists in our community. It indeed made us proud to be members of such a diverse community.

An auction was held as a fundraiser, and to Bob's surprise I bid on and won a two night stay at the Coast Plaza Suites Hotel right in the center of gay Vancouver. Even though we only live a few blocks away it should be a nice way to spend a rainy Vancouver weekend sometime this winter.

Bob Peacock and Lloyd Thornhill (Photo for courtesy of Jane Eaton Hamilton, 2003)
Bob Peacock and Lloyd Thornhill

Jane, Joy, Tanya, Melinda [also couples involved in the B.C. marriage case] spent three days running around looking for supplies and crafting banners. Jane and Joy also were preparing for the wedding celebration in the midst of this, so a very busy time for the brides. Then on Parade day Jane,Joy Tom and Tony spent a few hours before the parade decorating the carriage with beautiful flowers and banners declaring our right to love and marry. Also on the back they tied several pairs of shoes and boots, how traditional.

For a moment and just a moment, as Bob and I began walking down to the staging area I felt a feeling of dread. I had a flashback of the doctors who had been shot and killed, by nuts who believed that God wanted them to stop abortion in any violent way possible. I wondered if there might be one of these crazies waiting in the crowd, to rush out and spray the marriage carriage with gunfire. As I said earlier these thoughts were fleeting, and as the parade got under way I need not have worried.

Our float was number 119, so we had to wait for over an hour on a side street as the parade went past. But we had lots of fun while waiting, Joy, Jane, Tanya and Melinda were all dressed as brides, and there was a CD playing wedding music in the carriage.The folks who rode in the carriage were; Jane/Joy, Tanya/Melinda, Bob/Lloyd, Tom/Tony, Cheyanne/Jo and Frances/Margeurite. Also, Cal Garringon, who is doing the National Film Board documentary on same-sex marriage was busy shooting footage of everyone, including the horses.

We finally began moving toward Denman Street and the some of the 140,000 spectators. As we turned into Denman we couldn't believe the excitement and applause coming from the crowds. As we proceeded down Denman and reached Davie the crowd was about 20 deep. I closely watched the faces of the crowd to try and get an indication of their feelings toward marriage of same-sex couples. What I saw made me proud to be involved in the equal-marriage case. To the onlookers it didn't matter that they may never marry, what mattered was that they were one huge step closer to being fully Canadian.

This year's Pride Parade wasn't only about pretty floats and lots of colour, it was about a people who refuse to be treated less than equal to all others. We take pride in that determination.

Lloyd Thornhill Bob Peacock
Photographs courtesy of Jane Eaton Hamilton

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