Sponsor gay marriage advocates Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell in the AIDS Walk For Life





First gay marriage was supported by CIBC - 2006 Diversity Award for "courage in changing the world"





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Advocacy News - World's 1st married gay couple walk for life

July 12, 2021

World's 1st married gay couple walk for life
A call to get involved in a national AIDS fundraiser

The first legal gay marriage is certified.The first legal gay marriage is certified Canada has the distinction of recognizing & registering the earliest known legal lesbian and gay marriages in modern times.

Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell, the Canadian couple behind the world’s first legal gay marriage (January 14, 2001), have taken to heart a message they heard when they began making international appearances on behalf of Equal Marriage For Same-Sex Couples.

“In 2002, we kicked off a speaking tour in Turin, Italy, where advocates, lawyers, and jurists from around the world had gathered for a conference hosted by the International Lesbian and Gay Law Association,” explained Bourassa. “Most experts at the conference agreed that we were going to win our landmark Ontario same-sex marriage case. Moving beyond the expected victory, people asked what the Canadian LGBT community was going to do after this pinnacle victory? Do LGBT Canadians just go home to hang up our marriage certificates, if we choose to access this right, and live happily ever after?”

Mr. Justice Edwin Cameron (South Africa)
Mr. Justice Edwin Cameron (South Africa), the moderator of a panel of distinguished jurists at the 2002 Turin conference on marriage and partnerships called for ongoing support for other causes, in and outside of the LGBT community.

“Mr. Justice Edwin Cameron, from the High Court of South Africa urged the LGBT community to leverage existing advocacy skills to assist others in our communities,” Varnell continued. “There are so many people who need us to raise our voices in support of them, just as they have done for us, in and outside our community. Imagine if the LGBT community applied its years of experience with advocacy, fundraising, politics, law, networking ... all those skills directed towards helping others.”

Bourassa and Varnell have attempted to embrace and echoe Justice Cameron's message from Turin. Since 2005, when marriage equality was written into federal law across Canada, the couple has supported marriage advocates outside the country and worked to promote other causes within their home and native land.

Sponsor gay marriage advocates Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell in the AIDS Walk For LifeFor the second year running the couple invites you to join them in support of the AIDS Walk for Life on Sunday, September 16th, 2007, to benefit the AIDS Committee of Toronto.

Bourassa and Varnell will be walking with a team from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

“CIBC was very supportive of us during our campaign for equal marriage,” says Bourassa, "so we’re thrilled to be walking with employees who believe in giving back to the community.”

Your gift will support education and prevention services, as well as programs for people affected or infected by HIV/AIDS. These services include a world-renowned library, hot meals, peer support and counselling.

Secure online donations can be made with VISA, MasterCard and American Express. An electronic tax receipt will be sent to you by email within minutes of making your pledge. Please give your support to the Walk For Life through walking or pledging.

“We are grateful to be living in a country like Canada where our right to marriage equality has been honoured,” said Varnell. “We hope people will join us in celebrating the amazing progress that has been made on this issue, by supporting others who still need help.”

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