Mass gay wedding in Toronto kicks off Pride weekend

Video: As London, Sheffield and Swansea prepare for their pride celebrations this Saturday, the WorldPride festival in Toronto held a mass gay wedding for couples from across the globe  

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The Independent US

Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Queen Latifah may have united at this year's Grammy Awards to marry 34 couples described as "gay, straight, old, young, of many races and many colours," but that was easily bettered by the Grand Pride Wedding in Toronto on Thursday, which saw over 100 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples tie the knot.

The mass wedding was part of the World Pride festival running in Toronto this week, an event that promotes LGBT issues and is held every couple of years, with the 2012 World Pride held in London and the next celebration to occur in 2017 in Madrid.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada since 2005 and the country is one of only sixteen across the globe that has legalised gay marriage. Other countries that allow same-sex marriage include the UK, France, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and New Zealand. Parts of Mexico and the United States have also legalised gay marriage.

The mass gay wedding in Toronto is the largest of its kind in North America and Toronto, the fourth largest city on the continent, is well known for its diverse population with over 50 per cent of its residents hailing from outside of Canada.

Couples from all over the world took part in the ceremony, with people travelling from Ohio, Ghana, Taiwan and Australia.

Taiwanese couple Cindy Su and her partner Lana Yu told CBC News Toronto, "We're really jealous of Canada. We're looking forward to this happening in our country."

Australian couple Richard Laslett and Collin Gunther had been together for 37 years and made the long journey to Toronto to finally tie the knot.

Gunther told AFP , "After a while, you think it's never going to happen. You settle into a relationship," added Laslett.

Laslett said, "We'll call ourselves husband and husband, even though our marriage won't be recognized when we go home".

Mass wedding have become something of a phenomenon of late. In February, nearly 2,500 identically-dressed couples married at a ceremony in South Korea as part of the Unification Church, commonly known as "Moonies".

In London this summer, as part of a festival of love being staged at the Southbank Centre, mass wedding ceremonies will also be held on a stage at the Royal Festival Hall.

At the Grammy Awards earlier this year, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis used their pro-gay rap "Same Love" to hold a wedding for 34 couples, with Queen Latifah acting as the officiant.