Halifax Pride 2003 - Same-sex marriage honoured

 

 

Sue Perkins, Joe Varnell, Kevin Bourassa, Nicky Perkins (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2003)
Sue Perkins, Joe Varnell, Kevin Bourassa and Nicky Perkins: Grand Marshalls of the Halifax Pride parade.

 

 

Up yours Elsie (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2003)
Up yours Elsie - another pride participant voicing opposition to M.P. Elsie Wayne.

 

 

Raymond Taavel, co-chair of Halifax Pride 2003 (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2003)
Raymond Taavel, the tireless co-chair of Halifax Pride 2003

 

 

Art and Wayne Toole - New Brunswick marriage advocates (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2003)
New Brunswick marriage advocates Art and Wayne Toole made the trip to Halifax to celebrate their Ontario marriage.

 

 

Sue and Nicky Perkins being interviewed by CBC (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2003)
Sue and Nicky Perkins being interviewed by CBC television (the first time CBC has reported on the Pride parade)

 

 

Kevin Bourassa reading the front-page coverage the day after the parade (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2003)
Kevin Bourassa reads the front-page coverage the day after the parade.

 

 

Clear sailing to equal marriage (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2003)
Clear sailing to equal marriage.

 

 

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Advocacy News - Halifax Pride 2003

July 22, 2003

Halifax Pride - 2003

We were thrilled to attend festivities at Halifax Pride this year, as co-grand marshalls for the parade (July 19). Organizers were honouring same-sex marriage and the tremendous strides that were made this year for full equality. Nicky and Sue Perkins were our co-grand marshalls, in honour of their pioneering work for relationship recognition, as one of the provinces first couples to register their domestic partnership.

The parade in Halifax was bigger than ever, with media estimating between 4,000 and 5,000 participants and thousands more watching. It was triple the size of last yeWhere's Elsie Wayne now?  (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2003)ar, demonstrating the great success of the organizers, as well as the excitement and engagement that has taken over communities everywhere across Canada.

Victories for same-sex marriage in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec have certainly contributed to excitement, but our opponents have also contributed to motivating people to join in the parades for equality. Parade participants arrived at the parade ready to challenge the intolerance of Members of Parliament like Elsie Wayne. Wayne angered the gay community when she recently bemoaned pride parades, telling couples who wanted same-sex marriage to shut up and stay home.

Thousands failed to take Elsie Wayne's advice, and instead, record crowds turned out to cheer and encourage celebrants who marched down Spring Garden Road, the city's This colourful dress was made of coloured  celophane (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2003)main commercial street. It was the first year that parade organizers received permission to use this popular street that is jammed with restaurants, bars, and boutiques. Riding in the parade, it was hard to tell who were thrilled more to be going through the heart of the city, the participants or the citizens of the city, young and old.

Even on residential streets, where crowds were less numerous, people partied on balconies or relaxed on the grassy slopes of Citadel Hill to wave to the passing parade. It wasn't just the general public that seemed to be supportive. Police who cleared traffic along the route had pride flags attached to their motorcycles and the city councillor (District 12) Dawn Sloane read a statement from the mayor (who was away on vacation) that stressed the importance of diversity as a contributor to the city's well-being. Other politicians were in the crowd including former NDP leader Alexa McDonough.

In addition to the pride parade, we participated in the selection of next year's Pride Ambassador, visited with gay youth at the Log Cabin coffee shop, and joined revellers at Club N.R.G. and Reflections. Everywhere we went, we found that same-sex marriage was on the minds of people we met, and it was the subject most prominent in the media too.

"In the future, I'm hoping to get married and all of that," sixteen-year-old Mat Hicks told the Daily News (July 20, 2003), upon attending his first pride parade with his 20-year-old boyfriend.

"I don't understand why they're waiting now," Sue Perkins said, in reaction to continued delay from the Nova Scotian government in implementing same-sex marriage. The law changed for all of Canada on June 10, when Ontario courts redefined marriage.
Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell with Halifax city councillor Dawn Sloane (middle)  Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2003.
Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell with Halifax city councillor Dawn Sloane

Ottawa is merely formalizing the new law in legislation, but it seems mJay and Ray (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2003)ost provinces want to hide behind Ottawa's initiative, rather than offering full equality to all of its citizens on their own, despite the federal Justice Minister's encouragement to begin same-sex marriages now.

Thanks to Jay and Ray (right) for being great hosts, and for their tremendous energy in making the weekend such a success. We wish to express our appreciation as well, to Kara Redden, Greg Nepean (media relations) and the many other volunteers who made Halifax Pride 2003 the best ever for this beautiful city. We hope to return, and think you should too, for future Halifax pride events.


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