February 19, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 78  

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Prof weds on CBC

By Sarvenaz Kermanshahi
Gazette Staff

The first televised same-sex marriage took place last Sunday when a Western professor married his partner of 15 years live on national television.

Douglas Drozdow-St. Christian, an anthropology professor at Western, and his partner Stephen, a chef in Stratford, were married before 25 friends and members of family. The ceremony was aired live on CBC News: Sunday as a portion of a program that discussed the same-sex marriage debate.

“People need to see the human face behind same-sex marriages,” Drozdow-St.Christian explained. “They need to see that it is about loving couples and loving families.

“What people saw was Stephen and I getting married surrounded by people we love and who support us. They saw a loving community and the mean-spiritedness of the opposition, and that all we are doing is building families based on love, respect and diversity” he said.

The discussion panel featured such opponents of same-sex marriage such as Margaret Somerville, an ethicist from McGill University and Bryan Stiller, president of Tyndale College in Toronto. Their arguments were met by lawyer Doug Elliot, Reverend Eldon Hay and others.

“Reverend Hay demanded equality for his family: for his heterosexual son who can marry, and for his homosexual son, who cannot,” Drozdow-St. Christian stated. “Natasha Fatah spoke as a Muslim woman in favour of same-sex marriages, saying that tolerance is at the heart of Islam, not judgment,” he added.

The airing of the ceremony prompted numerous critical postings on the CBC Newsworld online discussion forum, including some who labelled Canada as the new Sodom and Gomorrah.

“The CBC was brave to do this because it remains a controversial issue; they deserve our congratulations for confronting it as a human one,” Drozdow-St. Christian said.

“We knew televising our marriage would be stressful. Our family and friends were seated for four hours. But we knew that raising the profile of same-sex marriage as something that is about fostering loving families and communities would be more important than any inconvenience or invasion of our privacy.”

Drozdow-St. Christian said he has received entirely positive feedback so far from the Western community. “I have been stopped by about 20 to 30 people on campus who wanted to congratulate me,” he said.



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