Victoria couple reflects on 20th anniversary of same-sex marriage in B.C.

Victoria couple reflects on 20th anniversary of same-sex marriage in B.C.

It was 20 years ago on July 8 that same-sex marriage became legal in B.C. For Oak Bay’s Murray Harris and Duane Lecky, it’s a special anniversary.

“For most of my life I never thought that marriage would be possible for us,” said Harris.

Two decades ago the BC Court of Appeal lifted a restriction on same-sex marriage. In that summer of 2003, Lecky and Harris, who’d already had their union recognized in another ceremony, decided to seal the deal legally.

“It was important to have that choice, and was a step toward being more recognized in society and having the same choices other people have,” said Harris.

Now at 58 and 62 respectively, Lecky and Harris say the promises they made that day to each other and to their two adopted sons, are even more poignant in light of rising queer hate.

“Still apparently 20 years later we have some people who are balking at the full inclusion of all people,” said Lecky.

From rainbow Pride crosswalks defaced in Central Saanich and Saanich, to the raising of the pride flag at the legislature interrupted by boos, and increased security at local drag events, Lecky and Harris believe these incidents of local hate and violence are being emboldened by events in the United States.

This year alone several anti-LGTBQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures targeting things like gender-affirming care and bathroom use.

“I think it’s the death throes of a lost culture war and people who are desperate to make a last stand,” said Murray.

B.C.’s parliamentary secretary for gender identity agrees.

“I also think it’s a small minority of people…We have to continue to denounce the rising threats, the increased hate, the misinformation, and increased violence that we’re seeing against people,” said Kelli Paddon, parliamentary secretary for gender equity. “Everyone should be able to choose their companion, their partner to share their life with.”

A simple sentiment, Lecky and Harris also share.

“It’s so strange that people care so much about people’s personal lives and the colour of a crosswalk,” said Murray. “If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married. Nobody’s forcing anyone to do anything. People are celebrating who they are in a public way and it’s not more complicated than that.”

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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