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Same-sex marriage makes unique statement opening Wolfville’s Pride week

There was a hardly dry eye in the chapel where Mike Butler and Ian Brunton exchanged wedding vows and were pronounced husbands. Their July 14 wedding coincided coincidentally with Wolfville’s kickoff of Pride. (Claire Coville, Two Crows Joy Photography)
There was a hardly dry eye in the chapel where Mike Butler and Ian Brunton exchanged wedding vows and were pronounced husbands. Their July 14 wedding coincided coincidentally with Wolfville’s kickoff of Pride. (Claire Coville, Two Crows Joy Photography) - Contributed

Still progress to be made: "One day, being gay will just be a thing that’s a thing."

WOLFVILLE – Mike Butler remembers feeling shocked when one date among those listed in his news story on Pride week stood out among the others – his wedding date, July 14.

“I was like, ‘huh, wait a sec. That’s my wedding day,’” he laughs, recalling the moment.

Butler and longtime boyfriend Ian Brunton had not realized their big day would coincide with the kickoff of Pride Week in Wolfville, but decided to seize the day in more ways than one.

The pair used the happy coincidence to add even more meaning to the day that would become the best-yet in their lives.

“I remember when we couldn’t get married, and when there were no Pride events. But we had a chapel filled with 150 people that have our backs,” says Butler.

Butler and Brunton have been together eight years and say they’ve never felt unsafe walking around Wolfville holding hands. “One day, being gay will be just a thing that’s a thing,” says Butler. (Claire Coville, Two Crows Joy Photography)
Butler and Brunton have been together eight years and say they’ve never felt unsafe walking around Wolfville holding hands. “One day, being gay will be just a thing that’s a thing,” says Butler. (Claire Coville, Two Crows Joy Photography)

He and Brunton, dressed in purple vests and Converse sneakers, went to visit the recently raised Pride flag after the ceremony and spoke with other LGBTQ+ community members there.

Brunton says being there with their friends gave the coincidence more weight, and that their wedding was making a statement.

“It became political, and added a nice dimension to it. Being able to start Pride week with a gay wedding was a unique experience and statement for everyone, I think,” he says.

“Even in Wolfville – there is still progress that can happen.”

In the eight years they’ve been together, the couple has never had any issues walking hand-in-hand along Wolfville’s streets.

It’s a changing world with a changed mindset, says Butler, pointing out how the wedding was a normal one for his nieces and nephews who attended.

“My kids have grown up never knowing anything else other than this. They get that we’re gay, and they get that it’s normal,” he says.

“I like this world my kids are being brought up in.”

Butler’s niece and nephews – Abby up top, joined by Ben, Luke, Tanner and Ethan – took part in the ceremony. “My kids have grown up never knowing anything else other than this,” says Butler. (Claire Coville, Two Crows Joy Photography)
Butler’s niece and nephews – Abby up top, joined by Ben, Luke, Tanner and Ethan – took part in the ceremony. “My kids have grown up never knowing anything else other than this,” says Butler. (Claire Coville, Two Crows Joy Photography)

It also looks as though the wedding is the first-ever same-sex marriage at Acadia’s Manning Memorial Chapel. It was definitely a first at the chapel for chaplain Tim McFarland, who Butler says booked the couple six years in advance – before they were even thinking of marriage.

“He told me he felt it in his bones that we’d be married, and said no matter where it happened, he’d meet us there,” laughs Butler.

He and Brunton are now settling back into their daily lives – Butler onstage in drag as Sharon Dalove and Brunton with his fitness business – and loving they can call each other husband.

“I called him husband this morning – that was fun,” laughs Brunton, a smile beaming from his voice as he speaks over the phone.

It’s an ease that comes naturally to the pair, and something they wish would come naturally to the wider community here in Kings County.

“It shouldn’t be hard or easy. One day, being gay will just be a thing that’s a thing,” says Butler.

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