MP Scott Brison marries same-sex partner
Published Saturday, August 18, 2007 9:59PM EDT
Nova Scotia MP Scott Brison made history of a sort when he became the first federal politician to marry his same-sex partner.
The wedding ceremony took place Saturday near Brison's country home in Cheverie, N.S., a town of 200. He is the MP for the Nova Scotia riding of Kings-Hants.
Guests described the ceremony as joyful and emotional.
"It's something we need to celebrate and we must be proud that Canada is showing the way," Liberal Leader Stephane Dion said after the wedding.
"I came first to celebrate love and happiness between two friends of mine, but if by my presence it helps a bit to reinforce a newly recognized right and to encourage other countries to do the same, I am pleased."
Former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna saw significance in the wedding.
"Everyone involved felt like they were part of a history-making event," said McKenna. "It seemed like a validation of a long process."
Former prime ministers Joe Clark and Paul Martin -- whose government passed same-sex marriage legislation -- and former Liberal cabinet minister Bill Graham were among the other political notables in attendance.
Brison's spokesperson, Dale Palmeter, told The Canadian Press that the marriage is a personal affair and would be celebrated in private.
Neighbours in the small sea-side town on Nova Scotia's western shore were perplexed by the media frenzy surrounding the marriage.
"I think it's silly that there's so much publicity over it," said Joanne Lake, a neighbour of Brison's. "If he was straight, would there be quite so much publicity over his wedding?"
Brison, 40, stepped aside in 2000 to allow then-Tory leader Joe Clark run in a byelection. He came out publicly in 2002.
Brison sought the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party in 2003, then crossed the floor to the Liberals just days after the Progressive Conservatives merged with the Canadian Alliance. He ran for the Liberal leadership in 2006.
Brison became the first openly gay federal cabinet minister in 2004 -- coincidentally, the same year a Nova Scotia judge ruled that not allowing gays in that province to marry was unconstitutional. However, he has said he is "not a gay politician, but a politician who happens to be gay."
Earlier this summer, Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman wed his partner Christopher Peloso at a lodge near Sudbury, Ont.
When word of his engagement to St. Pierre first became public in October 2005, Brison said: "I'm looking forward to the day when the idea of a gay or lesbian politician getting married is not a story at all."
With a report from CTV Atlantic's Marc Patrone and files from the Canadian Press