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More than a million people attended Toronto's Pride parade on Sun., July 4. (Adrien Veczan/The Canadian Press)
More than a million people attended Toronto's Pride parade on Sun., July 4. (Adrien Veczan/The Canadian Press)

Expat Canadians on same-sex marriage in the U.S.: ‘I am hopeful for real change’ Add to ...

Robert Slaven from Yellowknife is now living in Phoenix.

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We’re ground zero for this fight. My wife works with one of the Prop. 8 plaintiffs at a local health club. I’ve got almost as many gay friends as straight ones, some are married, some are divorced, some are looking for Mr. Right and some are looking for Mr. Right Now. They’re all awesome and infuriating and weird and talented and deserving of respect and all those crazy civil rights we take for granted – just like my straight friends.

Yes, more people voted for Prop. 8 than against. Take that vote again today, I think we’d have a different result. The idea of gay marriage just seems so normal it’s shocking when you run into anyone who doesn’t support it, and in the insulated world of Hollywood, that rarely happens. Even the few Republicans who work here are exposed to so many out gay and lesbians that the idea of telling them they’re not equal just seems strange and unjustifiable.

Of course, it’s not all sweetness and light. I was running the other day in our rapidly gentrifying and child-friendly ‘hood and came across one of those “Watch the Road – Children Playing” signs on a lawn. On the next one, someone had slapped a homemade bumper sticker that said: “Run ‘em Down – Gay men take back your neighborhood!” Probably a hate crime in Canada, but just another First-Amendment-protected sunny day here in Hollywood.

Collin Friesen from Winnipeg is now living in Los Angeles

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I live in Washington, D.C., in a vibrant, diverse community and part of the city where, should I venture a guess, the vast majority of our community would hold very similar views on a whole range of social issues, including respect for same-sex marriage rights, equality, and likely even political affiliation. That said, there have been reports of hate crimes and homophobic slurs in recent years, and the gravity of these incidents and the discrimination that still exists, even in a relatively progressive part of the city, cannot be ignored.

I do, however, feel that in my circle of neighbours, friends and community, my family exists in a little bubble. We take for granted that everyone we come into contact with shares our views on equality and same-sex marriage rights, and as a Canadian, I am heartened that this is an issue that we all stand behind and support. On this issue, my world in Washington, D.C., very closely resembles my reality of community in Toronto. When I leave our safe bubble, however, I am struck by the fact that while intolerance and homophobia are fortunately the exception in my neighbourhood, this is most certainly not the case in many other parts of the United States, and often just a few miles away from our neighbourhood. Thankfully, as the intolerance is starting to die off, it seems as though my “bubble” is fast becoming the norm.

Jennifer Khurana from Toronto is now living in Washington, D.C.

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I have always been a supporter of same-sex marriage – I know this is from my Canadian heritage as well as from growing up in a family that promoted social equality. While it can be disheartening to hear opposing views about equality, I am glad to see that same-sex marriage is gaining momentum. I never understood why others care so much that gay and lesbian couples want to marry. If you don’t support it, don’t do it. But why care if people you don’t even know get married?

Massachusetts, where I live, was the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. I live in a particularly liberal area of the state so there isn’t much hubbub about it. We just hope the momentum continues and that whomever wants to get married can go ahead and do it.

Interestingly, while same-sex marriage is gaining momentum, to many people, traditional marriage is almost becoming passé. Many common-law couples that I know debate whether they should get married or happily remain common-law. The key is choice, though. In my opinion, everyone should be able to choose to marry their partner or not, based on what is right for them.

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