Support that comes straight from the heart - opposite-sex couples promote marriage equality. (Photo of Martin Traub-Werner and Tamara Kronos by, 2001)








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Advocacy News - Support that comes straight from the heart

September 29, 2004

Support that comes straight from the heart
Opposite-sex couples promote marriage equality

Audra Williams with her soon-to-be husband Mark Laking (Photo courtesy of the couple for, 2004)"My name is Audra [shown at right, with Mark Laking], and I'm getting married on October 9th in Ontario," the note began. "My future husband and I were boycotting (and girlcotting!) marriage until our gay and lesbian friends were afforded the same rights, but now that Ontario (and Nova Scotia, where we live) is allowing everyone to get married, we're IN"

This expression of solidarity began our week with a welcome sign of ongoing support from opposite-sex couples. We have encountered other couples (including Toronto couple Martin Traub-Werner and Tamara Kronos, pictured upper left) that postponed their marriage until gay and lesbian couples shared the same right.

Now, with marriage equality in place in many provinces, opposite-sex couples are moving forward with their own wedding plans, conscious that the work is not over, with 5 provinces still willing to discriminate against same-sex couples. Even with all provinces in compliance with the inclusive definition of marriage, there will still be work to do to secure widespread acceptance.

Any married couple understands that a wedding is an opportunity to make statements, to affirm commitments, not only to individuals, but to families and community. Audra Williams and her future husband Mark have decided to make marriage equality a part of their wedding day and they'll be asking their friends and family to get involved.

"Being so giddy about planning our lives together has made us think a lot about love," the couple will tell their wedding guests in a note from the Bride and Groom. "And with a recent court ruling in favour of same-sex marriage rights in Nova Scotia, 82% of people in Canada are now free to marry whomever they love, regardless of their gender. We say it's about time."

The couple plan to use their wedding, not only to share a message of solidarity with same-sex couples, but to also raise funds for gay marriage advocacy.

"At our reception," the couple will tell their guests, "we're not going to do the whole 'you clink your glasses and we smooch' thing. Instead, we're going to have a donation jar for Equal Marriage Pride, which helps pay for an advocacy presence in Pride parades, rallies, protests, and conferences. If you want to see us kissing, you'll have to drop some money in the jar."

If one wants to look at how gay marriage is having an impact on the institute of marriage, Audra and Mark may be a good place to begin. True acceptance of gays and lesbians will not be accomplished through our courts, or through our government, or through the activities of "gay activists". Acceptance is being achieved by people like Audra and Mark: people all across Canada who, through their daily example, indicate through word and action their commitment to human rights and dignity.

Which brings us back to Audra and Mark's wedding. Guests may be surprised to find human rights are part of the day's theme, but as Audra points out, so is dignity, which will bring about a few other adjustments to the festivities.

"We're not doing any of the bouquet tossing, garter throwing, or cake feeding either," Audra explains. "That has less to do with our commitment to human rights than it does our commitment to preserving our dignity."

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