Sunday, January 16, 2011


I am heading to Winnipeg this week for training. For once, I'm attending the training, not delivering it. I haven't done any external professional development since starting with my employer just over one year ago, so I'm excited IN SPITE OF the fact that this training is in Winnipeg.

Now Winnipeg is a notable city for many reasons, including: the Blue Bombers (its Canadian Football League team), the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (a renowned ballet), the Jets (its former National Hockey League team, which despite moving to Phoenix in 1996, still has more fans than many small market NHL teams), and future home of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. All good things!

Winnipeg is even better known for its cold winters and for being mosquito-filled in the summers. And I'm going to this city in the middle of January.

Now, granted, I'm still excited about the training. But Tuesday's high is -26C (-15F) and its low is -34C (-29F).


Friday, January 14, 2011

A notable anniversary

Ten years ago today, a double marriage ceremony was held in Toronto at Riverdale's Metropolitan Community Church. This ceremony is quoted as a world first. In this double ceremony, Joe Varnell married Kevin Bourassa, and Anne and Elaine Vautour were joined matrimony.
(Source: Associated Press)

The right to gay marriage started in Canada in 2001, though its legality was in limbo for two years. It was a legally-administered marriage (for lack of a better term). In Ontario, one can get married with a marriage license or through the reading of the banns. Their minister read the banns, so they didn't need a marriage license. Their marriage was upheld in 2003.

Today in Canada, same sex partners have the rights as any and every other couple. Unmarried partners are "spouses" regardless of gender, after a certain time living together elapses. Pensions, drug plans, insurance plans, and everything else must recognize same-sex spouses as equal. Of course, churches, temples, mosques, etc., all have the right to determine if they will marry a same-sex couple, but it's always the right of a religion to select who and how to marry. For example, whether or not we agree, some religions won't marry a couple who's living together. That is an aspect of religious freedom.

I think this anniversary is noteworthy. If you'd like, you can read more: here or here (the second link describes the personal struggle the newlyweds went through during and after the wedding - including the minister wearing a bulletproof vest during the ceremony and death threats before and after the ceremony).

On a sweet note, Joe Varnell and Kevin Bourassa renewed their vows at the same church today.