Canadian military hosts first gay military wedding

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Canadian flag

Details emerged on Tuesday that the Canadian military hosted the first gay military marriage in North America at an airbase in Nova Scotia in May. A sergeant and a warrant officer, who didn't want to be identified, were married on May 3 by a United Church minister in front of about 45 guests at Greenwood airbase.

Lt. Cmdr David Greenwood, the base's Anglican chaplain, said he could not officiate but said he arranged the service and preached at the wedding. Greenwood said the wedding might encourage other gays and lesbians to come forward and make their vows official. Most Anglican dioceses in Canada don't perform same-sex marriages, but has postponed its official decision on the matter until 2007.

A National Defence spokeswoman confirmed this was the first gay wedding in the military's history. Currently, same-sex marriages are recognized and performed in seven provinces and one territory across Canada.

In 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction to decide who has the right to marry in Canada. Prime Minister Paul Martin said the government would pursue legalizing same-sex marriage across the country this year. The government's same-sex marriage bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons in May.