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Same-sex couples mark 10th anniversary

Jan. 14, 2011 at 7:25 PM

TORONTO, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Two same-sex Canadian couples who made history by getting legally married Jan. 14, 2001, said they would renew their vows to celebrate their 10th anniversary.

Anne and Elaine Vautour and Joe Varnell and Kevin Bourassa were the first gay couples married in North America in separate ceremonies in Toronto at Riverdale's Metropolitan Community Church. Both couples say they would renew vows Friday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Same-sex marriage has become legal in many nations around the world and has been upheld as a constitutional right across Canada, but not without court tests at the Supreme Court of Canada.

"I had no idea how huge this was going to be for so many people. It made a huge difference in the world," Anne Vautour said.

The Rev. Brent Hawkes married the two women despite protests and death threats. Hawkes wore a bullet-proof vest during the ceremony, which was attended by police who were there for his protection, the CBC reported.

"There were 50 police outside, searching people as they came into the building. It was all so terrifying. The night before, I called my family and told them, 'I love you. If anything happens to me, I love you,'" Hawkes said.

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