TORONTO - Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham spoke of tolerance Saturday as he addressed a crowd celebrating the marriages of several same-sex couples from the United States.
About 300 people gathered at Toronto's city hall Valentine's Day to wish the 14 gay men and women well.
"This ceremony today is a celebration," said Graham. "It's a celebration of what we try to do as a community, about what we try to do as a nation, to make it a place where all fit, where all can affirm themselves."
One wedding was held the Friday night. The others exchanged their vows Saturday afternoon. All seven couples received their marriage licences from city officials on Friday.
The U.S. men and women came from several different states, including New York, Florida, Texas and Montana. Their unions are not recognized in their own country.
"Shame on America but thank you Canada," said one of the newlyweds.
Ontario and B.C. are the only provinces that permit same-sex marriages. But Prime Minister Paul Martin has promised to introduce legislation to legalize the practice across the country. The federal government has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to clarify the constitutionality of gay marriage.
Almost half of the more than 7,000 same-sex marriage licences issued in Toronto since last July have been to Americans.
Gay activists in the U.S. are pressing to have the definition of marriage broadened in their country as well. In San Francisco on Saturday, local officials continued to defy state law by issuing marriage licences to same-sex partners. On Friday, a judge refused to grant an injunction to stop them.
Read more info on: CBC.ca
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