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REFOCUS: Bride and bride, groom and groom, bride and groom

Gerard Veldhoven
Gerard Veldhoven - FILE

For centuries, weddings have been performed in numerous venues, and with parents beaming with pride. 

The bride and groom are now legally ready to begin a family, another joy for parents, as they wish for grandchildren to carry on family names. 

Wait a minute; are we not missing something in this age long tradition? We are all aware of the fact that in many countries marriages have traditionally performed by the clergy, though civil weddings were also known to take place, especially in European nations. 

Do we know if same-sex couples were also of the same mind and wishing to be married during the past hundreds of years? If so, the religious community would certainly have frowned on this proposal, so civil ceremonies would have been the way to go. It all concerns acceptance by society to embrace LGBTQ+ people’s rights to take their places beside all others, with all the benefits and other equal treatment, yes, including the right to marry. 

So, we forward to 2000 and The Netherlands became the first nation in the world to rewrite the marriage laws to include same-sex marriage. Canada was fourth, and soon others followed, climbing to 28 countries. I married my partner, Norman Carter, on Oct. 16, 2004 – the first publicly performed such marriage in Nova Scotia. 

In 2005, marriage was legalized on the federal level. We had been together 35 years when Norman suddenly died. The wedding, with 125 guests, was totally organized by ourselves with the assistance of a few close friends. Wedding organizers were not accustomed to same-gender marriages, consequently we had to rely on a very few to handle the plans. So, this brings me to the point of how far we have come, and do wedding planners consider the fact that it’s not only a bride and groom who wish to celebrate the union of marriage. 

A recent article in the newspaper explaining the perfect wedding plans for the bride and groom and not once mentioned a bride and bride, or groom and groom as possible clients. This is not the first such article that completely ignored same-gender weddings. Over the years, there has been a tremendous increase in gay couples who chose to marry, and continue to do so. According to the 2016 census, there were 24,370 married same-sex couples in Canada, and 10,020 children lived in these family nucleuses.

Of course thousands of couples live in common-law situations, choosing not to legally marry. So, with all these couples in this country and abroad, one would think that wedding planners, cake decorators and the religious community would be in step with today’s diverse society. 

Apparently, not necessarily, as is evident by the aforementioned article, and others in the past. Occasionally, we may get a glimpse of a same-sex couple on television, or other media advertising. Bride and bride, groom and groom, bride and groom, it matters not and we must be aware of what has been happening during the past 19 years, as the increase in couples getting married is a reality, and consequently must be recognized by all. In order to get married, couples are very limited as to whom they may contact. 

The vast majority of church denominations strictly forbid the very nature of gay couples, as well as all members of the LGBTQ+ community. The discrimination is in place, and very few churches will allow their clergy to perform the ceremonies. The alternative is a Justice of the Peace, or another court appointee who will be available. 

Recently, a baker refused to make a cake, and a florist simply told the couple that it was against their religious belief to accommodate a gay couple. 

The couples, regardless if they are same-sex or opposite sex, marriage or not, it’s the love represented that matters. 

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