External link to our listing with Speakers' Spotlight

See events from:



External link to Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project






External link to Dalhousie Law School








External link to Mount Saint Vincent University


Download poster for the event
(Word document)






External link to DalOUT - Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia)






External Link to Mount Allison University









External link to the University of New Brunswick - Saint John











External link to the University of New Brunswick - Faculty of Law









External link to St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick




External link to the Unitarian Fellowship of Fredericton









Strafford Room in the
Memorial Union Building
University of New Hampshire





CLICK TO ENLARGE.  The panel gathered to dicuss same-sex marriage - University of New Hampshire, October 9, 2021 (Photo by  Dennis Bobilya for equalmarriage.ca, 2002)
From left: Ruth and Beth McGuinn(New Hampshire Freedom to Marry), Shay Zeller (moderator), Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell, Joshua Friedes and Valerie Fein-Zachary (The Freedom to Marry Coalition of Massachusetts)








Link to Speakers' Spotlight listing for Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell


"I have booked many events ... I have to say that your event was my favorite of any that I have been a part of. You were both so relaxed, very open and honest, and most important extremely friendly, flexible and easy to work with. I would book you both again in a heartbeat ..."
Chapters - British Columbia




Northern Rainbow Pride - Unified Norther Pride Parade - Saturday, August 10, 2021
Our Report From Sudbury







Our Report From Vancouver Pride





Link to our coverage of Windsor Pride

Our Report From Windsor Pride









Link to our Report From London Pride 2002
Our Report From London Pride





Click here to learn more about the equal marriage march for marriage.
Click here for more details






Link to Bruce E. Walker Law Office









Link to our report Marriage Partnerships and Parenting in the 21st Century conference





Reports From Turin, Italy:

Press Conference - June 4, 2021

Report From June 8, 2021

Netherland's Kees Waaldijk





How Holland Did It - Dr. Kees Waaldijk





Authentic Lives has generously offered to donate the revenue from this workshop
to the national
Equal Marriage Fund



Join us as we legalize same-sex marriage.  Subscribe to our free newsletter




Link to actions you can take, if you can't come to Toronto.  Photo by Ryan Kraft, Design by Kevin Bourassa





Link Coverage of the May 6 2002 Tribute Dinner
A Report From The Dinner



"It takes a lot of courage to go through that [personal crticism] and remain faithful to your mission to render justice."
Madame Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dubé
The Globe and Mail, May 2, 2021




Link to "Quebec Case Reopened"




Link to "Equal Marriage Concert"



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Advocacy Events

Advocacy: Events in 2002

Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell are available for speaking engagements customized to the needs of audiences and organizations. Arrangements and bookings are managed by:

Speakers' Spotlight
179 John Street, Suite 201
Toronto, Ontario
M5T 1X4
Voice: 416-345-1559
Fax: 416-345-9589
email: info@speakers.ca

Please email other requests to samesex@samesexmarriage.ca

November 8, 2002 | 7:00 p.m.

Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project
From Here To Equality

Halifax, Nova Scotia - The Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project has been active in working for equal recognition of GLBT relationships. Our discussion with this group will focus on the progress that has been made towards equality through activisim and advocacy and the work that remains as we remove the final barriers to our full place as citizens.

Atlantic School of Theology
660 Francklyn Street

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Thanks to Bob Fougere (NSRAP) and Lara Morris for this opportunity.
Our gratitude to Richard Blaquiere for producing this tour.

November 8, 2002 | 2:30 p.m.

Dalhousie Law School
What Law Is For

Halifax, Nova Scotia - Recent victories for same-sex marriage in Ontario and Quebec court are based on the precedent of past victories in the Supreme Court of Canada. In a presentation open to the public, we will discuss how the legal process has delivered our rights and freedoms when politicians and government refused to apply the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms equally, to all citizens.

Dalhousie Law School
Room 105
6061 University Avenue
Halifax, Nova Scotia
2:30 - 3:30 p.m

This presentation is sponsored by the Dalhousie Law School Law Hour Committee. Thanks to Lara Morris, Blye Frank, Dave Steeves (Law School) and the Social Activist Law Student Association (SALSA) for this opportunity.
Our gratitude to Richard Blaquiere for producing this tour.

November 8, 2002 | 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Mount Saint Vincent University
From Persons To Family

Halifax, Nova Scotia - Mount Saint Vincent University has a history of providing opportunities for women at a time when women were not recognized as "persons" under Canadian law. Our case shares characteristics with the struggle of the Famous Five in Canada, and people around the world who have had to fight to exercise their full rights as persons under the law of their land. Our presentation From Persons To Family will explore how our marriage case has reopened discussion about constitutional personhood. It's free and open to the public!

Mount Saint Vincent University
Seton Academic Centre
166 Bedford Highway, Halif

Thanks to Lara Morris, Ann Vibert (MSVU) and the sponsorship of the Women's Studies Department, Department of Education and MSVU Queer/Straight Alliance for this opportunity.
Our gratitude to Richard Blaquiere for producing this tour.

November 7, 2002 | 7:30 p.m.

DalOUT - Dalhousie University

Halifax, Nova Scotia - Join us on the campus of Dalhousie University for a free public discussion about same-sex marriage. We will talk about the issues raised in our book, Just Married: Gay Marriage and the Expansion of Human Rights, perhaps do a reading from the book, and engage in a Q&A session to finish the evening.

Just Married
DalOUT - Dalhousie University
Student Union Building - 6136 University Avenue
Council Chambers - 2nd floor
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Thanks to Doriane Mullin, Frank Blye and Lara Morris for this opportunity.
Our gratitude to Richard Blaquiere for producing this tour.

November 6, 2002 | 8:00 p.m.

Mount Allison University - Owens Art Gallery
Just Married:Gay Marriage and the Expansion of Human Rights

Sackville, New Brunswick - Join us at the historic Owens Art Gallery, under the sponsorship of Mount Allison University, for a discusion about same-sex marriage. We'll do a reading from our book, discuss some of the issues, share future plans, and respond to questions. Get engaged!

Just Married
Gay Marriage and the Expansion of Human Rights
Owens Art Gallery
Mount Allison University, Sackville, N.B.
November 6, 2020 at 8:00 p.m

We will join Professor Andrew Nurse and his Canadian Studies class on November 7.

Thanks to Eldon Hay, Melody Petlock, Arthur Motyer and Alasdair MacLean for this opportunity.
Our gratitude to Richard Blaquiere for producing this tour.

November 5, 2002

University of New Brunswick - Saint John
Just Married:Gay Marriage and the Expansion of Human Rights

Saint John, New Brunswick - We will be appearing in Hazen Hall on the Saint John campus of the University of New Brunswick to discuss issues raised in our book, Just Married: Gay Marriage and the Expansion of Human Rights.

Informal reception (RSVP sjlesbi@email.com)
5:00 - 6:30 p.m.
Mahogany Manor
220 Germain Street
(Hosts Carl Trickey and Jim Crooks)

Just Married
Gay Marriage and the Expansion of Human Rights
7:30 p.m - 9:30 p.m.
Hazen Hall - Saint John
University of New Brunswick

9:30 p.m.
GLBTQ Friends Dessert Reception

Thanks to Leslie Jeffrey and SarahRose Werner for this opportunity, Mark McGovern for transportation, UNBSJ for our hotel, and Nancy Johnston (GLBTQ)
Our gratitude to Richard Blaquiere for producing this tour.

November 4, 2002 | 7:00 p.m.

University of New Brunswick - Faculty of Law
The Courtship Of Marriage

Fredericton - Recent victories for same-sex marriage in Ontario and Quebec court are based on the precedent of past victories in the Supreme Court of Canada. In a presentation open to the public, we will discuss the incremental steps that have brought us to the threshold of same-sex marriage, the specifics of our case, and the remaining last step that must be taken in order to end government's marriage discrimination.

November 4 - 7:00 p.m.
University of New Brunswick
Faculty of Law
Fredericton, New Brunswick

Dean La Forest will host a reception afterwards with cash bar.

Thanks to Dean Anne La Forest and Kristen Rudderham for this opportunity.
Our gratitude to Richard Blaquiere for producing this tour.

November 4, 2002

St. Thomas University
Human Rights & Same-Sex Marriage

Fredericton, N.B. - We will be joining students, enrolled in a human rights class, at St. Thomas University for a discussion about same-sex marriage. The invitation to this liberal arts institution comes, with our sincere appreciation, from the Rev. Dr. Michael McGowan, Assistant Professor of Human Rights and Catholic Studies, Director of Atlantic Human Rights Centre, and Director of Catholic Studies Programme.

Our gratitude to Richard Blaquiere for producing this tour.

November 3, 2002

Unitarian Fellowship of Fredericton

It seems appropriate for us to begin our Atlantic tour with the Unitarian Fellowship of Fredericton. Some of our earliest support for equal marriage came from Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed and the First Unitarian Church of Toronto.

Starting at 7:00 p.m., this informal evening is open to the public. We'll talk about our journey, do a reading from Just Married: Gay Marriage and the Expansion of Human Rights, and join participants in a discussion about same-sex marriage.

Unitarian Fellowship of Fredericton
874 York Street
Fredericton, New Brunswick
7 to 9 p.m.

Thanks to Haifa Miller and Tracey Rickards for this invitation and Ed Leslie for tansportation from Moncton! Our gratitude to Richard Blaquiere for producing this tour.

October 9-10, 2002

Round-table discussion on marriage
at the University of New Hampshire

With great pleasure, we accepted an invitation from the University of New Hampshire and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) to participate in a moderated panel discussion on civil unions and same-sex marriage. The discussion was part of the university's participation in National Coming Out Week. We brought our Canadian perspective and experience, and learned from fellow panelists from New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Shay Zeller, New Hampshire Public Radio, was our excellent moderator, bringing her wit, cheerfulness and insight to the evening's proceedings. The discussion included: Beth McGuinn and Lisa Beelle, New Hampshire Freedom to Marry, and Dr. Valerie Fein-Zachary, Co-chair, The Freedom to Marry Coalition of Massachusetts with the group's Volunteer Political Director, Joshua Friedes.

CLICK TO ENLARGE.  Photo of Lisa Beelle and Joe Varnell by equalmarriage.ca, 2002

Getting the message out: Lisa Beelle(New Hampshire Freedom to Marry) talks about branding and marketing with Joe Varnell (photo at right). We picked up a "NHFTM" t-shirt for our collection.

On October 10 we participated in a policy class, sponsored by Martha Byam, Department of Social Work.

We thank Robert Coffey, Jr., LGBT Program Coordinator, OMSA, for this invitation, and the University of Wisconsin Press for facilitation.

Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell

September 18, 2002

We will be discussing gay marriage with members of the North Scarborough Rotary Club at a private luncheon.

September 7, 2002

Since the publication of our book Just Married, we've received enquiries about speaking engagements from across Canada, the United States and Europe. Our literary agent (Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists) anticipated this demand a year ago when she sent us to Martin Perlmutter, President of Speakers' Spotlight.

Whether it's astronauts or actors, politicians or professors, olympians or orchestra conductors ... Speakers' Spotlight has it all on offer. So why not human rights activists too?

Starting this month, Speakers' Spotlight will act as our agent for speaking engagements. Our availability for non-profit organizations will not be impacted by this agreement. This arrangement will enable us to increase our advocacy work in new areas and sustain our work on existing initiatives. Most of all, we look forward to the networking and outreach that we know will result from our association with this leading agency.

Speakers' Spotlight joins a distinguished team of representatives, bringing professional expertise to our uncharted and unique circumstances.

Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell

Saturday, 10 August 2021

Unified Northern Pride Parade - Sudbury, Ontario

August 10, 2002 - We continued our advocacy work for same-sex marriage by visiting northern Ontario's mining community of Sudbury for their fifth pride parade. Northern Ontario is key to our struggle for equal marriage. We hope to visit more communities in this area in the coming months to build support for gay marriage. Our first visit left a lasting and warm impression of a vibrant LGBT community gaining visibility

Thanks to Kelly Landry (Chair of Northern Pride) and Mario Dopmingue, (organizer, Northern Pride) for this invitation and to the wonderful people at the Art Gallery of Sudbury for their hospitality!

Our report from Sudbury

Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell

Sunday, 4 August 2021

Vancouver Pride Parade

We had an amazing time in Vancouver marching with Multi Union Pride and fellow marriage advocates including, Robin Roberts & Diana Denny and Bob Peacock and Lloyd Thornhill from the BC Marriage case,. and Bill Dubay (Legal Marriage Alliance of Washington). Thanks to all for a great experience!

Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell

Click here for details about the Vancouver Parade

Sunday, 28 July 2021

Windsor Pride Parade

On behalf of the Windsor Pride Committee, I would like to extend a special invitation to all involved in the Equal Marriage fight. The Windsor Community is a big supporter of your fight and it would be an honour to have your presence at our event.

This year is Windsorís 10th Anniversary Pride Celebration. Our celebrations are from July 21st through the 28th, the 28th being Pride Day and our Parade through Downtown Windsor.

I'm offering you a place of honour in Windsor and I would hope that you seriously consider it. We will make special arrangements for you and/or your friends and I can guarantee that the city of Windsor will welcome you with open arms.

Yours in Pride,

Cory Albert
Co-chair Windsor Pride 2002

More details and photos

Several of the couples involved in the Ontario marriage challenges marched in the Windsor parade: Kevin Bourassa & Joe Varnell, Gail Donnelly & Barb McDowall, and Hedy Halpern & Colleen Rogers.

Sunday, 14 July 2021

London Pride Parade

Our visit to London confirmed how important same-sex marriage is to couples, and we learned how individuals have been inspired and transformed by the work of the many advocates fighting for equality. But there is still much work to be done. People, inspired by church and state, feelt compelled to bring faith-based signs in attempt to insult the dignity and respect of the day. Our "morally offensive" photograph on the front page of the London Free Press provoked angry responses from readers.

More details and photos

Sunday, 30 June 2021 | 2:00 p.m.

Toronto Pride Parade - March for Marriage

The soaring temperatures didn't wilt the higher spirits of those who gathered to support same-sex marriage in this year's Toronto Pride parade. Crowds cheered us on, waving, shouting, and flashing "thumbs up" and "victory" signs with their hands. Before long, everyone on the float was on their feet responding to the crowds in a first of many pride marches to come.

Pictures and accounts from participants

Please help us pay for the important advocacy project. Donations can be made payable to:

Equal Marriage Pride

In care of:
Bruce E. Walker Law Office
65 Wellesley Street East
Suite 205
Toronto, Ontario
M4Y 1G7

Enquiries: Bruce Walker (416) 961-7451

June 5 to June 8, 2021 | Turin, Italy

Marriage Partnerships and Parenting
in the 21st Century

The International Lesbian and Gay Law Association has organized a conference to explore legal issues related to marriage, partnerships and parenting. We are honoured to be the keynote speakers on Friday, June 7. We hope to provide some useful insight into what it's like being a couple involved in a case challenging marriage laws.

The conference includes:

  • Strategies for legislative change: A moderated discussion between politicians, activists and trade unions representatives from diverse jurisdictions about achieving equality through statutory law reform Convenors: Douglas Elliott, Stefano Fabeni
  • Surviving partner rights, including housing, inheritance and pensions. Convenor: Kathleen Lahey
  • Transsexual marriage. Convenor: Cynthia Petersen
  • Adoption by same-sex partner(s). Convenor: Robert Wintemute

The conference is our first speaking engagement following the publication of our book Just Married: Gay marriage and the expansion of human rights (June 1, 2021).

EGALE has launched an appeal, on behalf of Canadian participants at the conference, for funding . "Egale feels that participation in international events such as this one is extremely important," wrote John Fisher, Executive Director, Egale in a May 22 memo requesting donations. "As many legal obstacles to full equality are overcome here in Canada, we feel an increasing responsibility to involve ourselves on the international stage. This is in an international context in which a number of countries still maintain criminal sanctions, and in a few cases sanctions as extreme as the death penalty, for homosexuality.

"Unfortunately, funding for the conference is extremely limited, and a number of conference participants, including speakers, are facing financial barriers to their attendance. After discussing the matter with Doug Elliott, one of the Canadian representatives of the International Lesbian and Gay Law Association, we are issuing an appeal to individuals and organisations interested in advancing equality and justice for LGBT people internationally to support Canadian participation in the conference financially. We can take credit card donations, and anticipate that it will be possible to issue a tax receipt for any financial contributions made. Your support will make a big difference to our efforts to build the international networks and awareness so necessary to advancing equality internationally."

To pledge financial support, just e-mail egale.canada@egale.ca or phone toll-free at 1-888-204-7777.

Other participants, outside of Canada, have also requested funding assistance. Help us work together, including:

Nigel Christie - (LeGaLE) New Zealand

Saturday, 25 May 2021 | Toronto


Are you in a committed gay or lesbian relationship? Do you have a will and/or power of attorney? How does the law apply to same sex relationships? Do you know what the tax implications are for same sex relationships? Come and ask the experts – Joanna L. Radbord, Associate with Epstein Cole, Larry Lychowyd, Barrister, Solicitor & Notary, Ian Adams, Senior Financial Advisor with Olympian Financial Inc. and Susan Geller, C.A., C.B.V. Learn what you can do to ensure your committed, loving relationships are protected.

Presented by:

Authentic Lives

Link to Authentic Lives

Richview Library
1806 Islington Avenue
Toronto, Ontario

Saturday, May 25, 2021
1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
$10.00 (Donation)

For more information and to RSVP, please call Barbara McDowall or Gail Donnelly @ Authentic Lives, 416-201-9474 or visit our website: www.authenticlives.com

Saturday, 11 May 2021 | 2:00 p.m. (Toronto)

A message to the man in the red hat

The day after Marc Hall attended his prom with boyfriend JP, Marc met with supporters and media inToronto's Cawthra Park. People had gathered to celebrate the decision of Justice MacKinnon who, on May 10, ordered the Durham Catholic School Board to allow Marc to bring his same-sex date to the prom.

Photos and Speaches From The Cawthra Park Celebration

Follow the case - Details and photos

Monday, 6 May 2021 | beginning 9 a.m. (Toronto)

A Tribute to Madame Justice L’Heureux-Dubé

"Under our society's democratic principles, individual freedoms such as expression are not absolute, but may be limited in consideration of a broader spectrum of rights, including equality and security of the person."
Jan. 26, 2001 - from the dissenting opinion in R. v. Sharpe

From 1987 to 2001, she presided over 1,265 cases and wrote 252 opinions -- almost 40% of them in dissent. Her influence on prominent jurists, lawyers and academics is celebrated.

Manipulation of an Image - Realized by Equal Marriage, from an original photograph by  Dave Chan

Madame Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dubé was the guest of honour at a tribute dinner hosted by the Ontario Bar Association and the Law Society of Upper Canada at the Hilton Toronto.

Photographs and a report from the dinner

The Globe and Mail - May 2, 2021
More about Madame Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dubé

Tuesday, 23 April 2021 | 9:30 p.m. (EST)

Quebec Marriage Case Featured on Life Network

Michael Hendricks and René Leboeuf, the Montréal couple fighting in Quebec court for the right to marriage are featured in a Life Network program, "Out in the City", which began April 9, 2002. Each week in the 30 minute show you'll see 3 capsules taken from the on-going stories for a total of 16 weeks. Life's description:

"Sex. Parenthood. Art. Aging. Fashion. AIDS. Community. The cinema vérité series Out in the City invites you to follow the diverse lives of gay Montrealers, as they grapple with the many realities of gay culture and the way it calls into question dominant heterosexual society. Moving, funny, sad, heart-warming and sexy, these stories take you from remote suburbs to the inner city's nocturnal pulse. Join us for this unforgettable journey Out in the City."

Friday 15 February 2021 | 8:00 p.m

ONYX.X.O - A Valentine's Fundraising Concert

The ONYX Wind Quintet performed a benefit concert in support of equal love. The concert was held at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto and proceeds went to support the legal defense funds for both equal marriage cases in Ontario. Thanks to all of our supporters!

Photo of Onyx Wind Quintet

Read about the event and view photos

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