News - Vancouver Pride 2003
year's Pride week in Vancouver had special meaning for the litigants in the equal-marriage
challenge. We knew from the beginning that we were setting sail on a course that
would likely change the history of Canada. However I don't think any of the couples
ever imagined that we would be taking on the Vatican, Gerry Falwell, and all of
the bigotry and hate that could possibly be thrown at us. Bob and I thought that
we would invite a few friends over to watch the parade from our patio on Sunday.
Jane and Joy [couples involved in the B.C. marriage case] had advised the group
that Stanley Park Tours had donated a carriage, that normally rents for $1200
for the couples involved in the case, along with any friends and supporters that
wanted to ride along. The carriage was capable of holding 24 people and was drawn
by two horses. The Pride Committee also waived their hefty entry fee. But I'm
jumping ahead of the story.
Saturday morning Bob and I attended the annual "Pride Brunch" put on by the NDP
Burrard Constituency. It is always lots of fun and a bit of a fundraiser for the
party. This year the politicians in attendance were; Svend Robinson, Ian Waddell,
Joy MacPhail, who is the leader of the NDP in BC, Tim Stevenson, city councilor,
and former member of the provincial government. Tim looked great in his multi-coloured
boa. The two men who were married by Tim at the Supreme Court of BC, Tom and Tony
were also on hand. Bob and I were both proud and humbled by the kind words by
Svend and Joy as they made their speeches. They referred to us as pioneers and
political activists in our community. It indeed made us proud to be members of
such a diverse community.
auction was held as a fundraiser, and to Bob's surprise I bid on and won a two
night stay at the Coast Plaza Suites Hotel right in the center of gay Vancouver.
Even though we only live a few blocks away it should be a nice way to spend a
rainy Vancouver weekend sometime this winter.
Peacock and Lloyd Thornhill
Joy, Tanya, Melinda [also couples involved in the B.C. marriage case] spent three
days running around looking for supplies and crafting banners. Jane and Joy also
were preparing for the wedding celebration in the midst of this, so a very busy
time for the brides. Then on Parade day Jane,Joy Tom and Tony spent a few hours
before the parade decorating the carriage with beautiful flowers and banners declaring
our right to love and marry. Also on the back they tied several pairs of shoes
and boots, how traditional.
a moment and just a moment, as Bob and I began walking down to the staging area
I felt a feeling of dread. I had a flashback of the doctors who had been shot
and killed, by nuts who believed that God wanted them to stop abortion in any
violent way possible. I wondered if there might be one of these crazies waiting
in the crowd, to rush out and spray the marriage carriage with gunfire. As I said
earlier these thoughts were fleeting, and as the parade got under way I need not
float was number 119, so we had to wait for over an hour on a side street as the
parade went past. But we had lots of fun while waiting, Joy, Jane, Tanya and Melinda
were all dressed as brides, and there was a CD playing wedding music in the carriage.The
folks who rode in the carriage were; Jane/Joy, Tanya/Melinda, Bob/Lloyd, Tom/Tony,
Cheyanne/Jo and Frances/Margeurite. Also, Cal Garringon, who is doing the National
Film Board documentary on same-sex marriage was busy shooting footage of everyone,
including the horses.
finally began moving toward Denman Street and the some of the 140,000 spectators.
As we turned into Denman we couldn't believe the excitement and applause coming
from the crowds. As we proceeded down Denman and reached Davie the crowd was about
20 deep. I closely watched the faces of the crowd to try and get an indication
of their feelings toward marriage of same-sex couples. What I saw made me proud
to be involved in the equal-marriage case. To the onlookers it didn't matter that
they may never marry, what mattered was that they were one huge step closer to
being fully Canadian.
year's Pride Parade wasn't only about pretty floats and lots of colour, it was
about a people who refuse to be treated less than equal to all others. We take
pride in that determination.
Thornhill Bob Peacock
Photographs courtesy of Jane Eaton Hamilton