TORONTO — More than one hundred same-sex couples gathered for a mass wedding on Thursday as part of Toronto’s World Pride festivities, which wraps up today with a parade consisting of more than 12,000 marchers and over 200,000 spectators.
For many, the highlight of this year’s World Pride was the Grand Pride Wedding, believed to be the largest group wedding of its kind in North America, where 230 brides and grooms from around the world married in a ceremony presided over by twelve officiants, ranging from a Sikh to a priest and back to a secularist.
On the grounds of Toronto’s majestic Casa Loma, the red-carpet ceremony began almost like a bad joke: A priest, a rabbi, a Sikh, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a self-avowed “tree-hugger” walk into a tent. The result is the largest same-sex wedding in North America’s history.
Those were just half of the faiths and cultures represented by the 12 presiding wedding officiants, who also included a First Nations representative and a non-devotional secularist.
But a joke this wasn’t, as chief officiant Rev. John Joseph Mastandrea reminded those gathered of the violence and intolerance still directed at LGBTQ communities around the world.
His voice caught as he described his decision to wear a rainbow-coloured robe to the ceremony. “Today, I wear it in solidarity with the places in the world that cannot get married,” he told the hundreds inside the tent and the many hundreds more gathered outside.
More photos of the event are here.