Two gay couples tie the knot on Whistler Mountain 

Thirteen days after the B.C. Court of Appeal legalized same sex marriages, the first two gay weddings on Whistler Mountain took place.

Kirt J Beck and Roger L Crandy came from Anchorage, Alaska to exchange vows under picture-perfect conditions Monday. Gary Gardner and Anthony Gilkinson, Seattle residents who own a home in Whistler, were also wed on the mountain the same day.

The couples received their marriage licences from municipal hall Monday morning before riding the Village Gondola to the alpine, where marriage commissioner Luise Zinsli performed the services. A coin toss determined that Beck and Crandy were the first same-sex couple to be granted a marriage licence by the RMOW.

Gay American couples are expected to give an extra boost to the wedding business in Whistler and across the province this summer, following a July 8 B.C. Court of Appeals ruling to lift a moratorium on same sex marriages. On May 1 the court had ruled that opposite-sex restrictions on marriage violated rights guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The July 8 decision of the B.C. Court of Appeals followed a June 10 ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeals, which said that federal marriage laws are discriminatory and in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Ontario court also ordered that same-sex marriages be legalized throughout that province immediately.

The federal government then approved a policy to open marriage to gay couples. New legislation is currently being drafted.

Canada is just the third country to allow same-sex marriages. However, of the other two nations, the Netherlands has a long residency requirement and Belgium will only allow marriages of foreign couples from countries that already allow such unions. Canada has no marriage residency requirement.

The legal status of Canadian gay marriages has yet to be determined by any court in the United States. But that isn’t keeping American gay couples from exchanging vows in Canada.

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