In some ways, they’re like any other Ottawa couple planning a wedding.
“We’re pretty excited,” said Ariel Troster, 30. “We have a lot of challenges similar to anyone else, like who to invite, how much wine to have and what the invitations will look like.”
But perhaps unlike most brides and grooms to be, Troster and her fiancée, Caitlyn Pascal, 29, are reflecting on human rights, and how a law allowing same-sex couples to marry enacted six years ago this month has made it possible for them to wed.
“We’re very aware of the fact that a lot of activists before us fought really hard so same-sex couples had a chance to marry,” said Troster, who works in communications. “We’re very aware of the context of our engagement within the political struggles,” she said.
With a July 2010 wedding in the works, friends and family are looking forward to the celebration, Troster said. “It will be the first gay wedding that I think a lot of them will have been to.”
Ottawa couple Jacques Bourguignon and Craig Hinman were one of the capital’s first same-sex couples to marry back in 2003.
They met in 2001 and had talked marriage early on in the relationship but because Hinman, now 55, was living in New York, it wasn’t a possibility. He moved to Canada to be with Bourguignon, 52, shortly after 9-11.
Bourguignon proposed to Hinman on the steps of Parliament Hill and they married in the First United Church on Kent Street on Thanksgiving 2003.
“We were one of the first few (same-sex couples) to register for a licence in Ottawa,” said Bourguignon.
Because the paperwork hadn’t changed at city hall, Bourguignon “registered as the bride,” he said, laughing. “But with a goatee and a bald head, it’s obvious that I was not.”
“We were both waiting for the day that we could do that,” said Hinman of their marriage.
“When you come from a community that’s had to struggle for its rights, the opportunity to celebrate is really remarkable,” said Troster. “It adds a poignancy to a celebration like this.”