By Charlotte Bumstead
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the first same-sex marriages in Canada. Two same-sex Canadian couples—Joe Varnell and Kevin Bourassa, along with Anne and Elaine Vautour—made their mark on North American history as the first to be legally married.
The battle was fought right up to the Supreme Court of Canada. Since Jan. 14, 2001, same-sex marriage has held strong as a constitutional right across the nation. Several other countries and states have also made the movement.
The process took great courage; not only from the couples, but also from Rev. Brent Hawkes who married the two despite objections and death threats. Hawkes wore a bullet-proof vest during the ceremony and was protected by the police. The reverend described, “There were 50 police outside, searching people as they came into the building. It was all so terrifying. The night before, I called my family and told them ‘I love you. If anything happens to me, I love you.’”
Currently, there are at least 7,500 married same-sex couples in Canada—according to the last census—and the number is still growing.