Vancouver Island Bed amd Breakfast  

Copes Islander Oceanfront Bed and Breakfast
B&B and Vacation Rental Accommodation
Comox, Vancouver Island,  British Columbia, Canada

Home > Guest Comments > Vacation Scrapbook > Oct 2003

Vacation Scrapbook - Oct 2003

Notes and pictures from our guests' vacations with us :  John Furtak and Steven Keltner of Kauai, Hawaii - Oct 2003.

Sharing the vacation experience of special events and occasions with guests can be one of the most gratifying aspects of the Bed and Breakfast lifestyle. The story of John and Steve's stay with us is one example.  
Oct 2003  Couple exchange vows on the deck under the BC and Hawaiian flags. 

John and Steve exchange wedding vows

With the recent Canadian court rulings supporting the rights of same-sex couples to marry, Hawaiians John and Steve, after 21 years as partners together, took the opportunity to make theirs an official union. We were honored by their choice of our B&B as the location for their exchange of vows. Below is copied their wedding announcement:
"John Furtak and Steven Keltner of Kauai, Hawaii are proud to announce that after 21 years of partnership, they officially performed their Civil Marriage Ceremony on October 4th 2003 in Comox, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The ceremony performed under both the British Columbia and Hawaii flags was performed by BC Marriage Commissioner the Honorable Bruce Curtis. The ceremony was held at Copes Islander Oceanfront B&B with a reception dinner held at The Old House Restaurant. John & Steve wish to thank (Mahalo) the people of Vancouver Island, the Province of British Columbia and the Country of Canada for their true ALOHA and Wisdom."

The record of Steve's and John's marital oddyssey was picked up by their home town newspaper in the article copied below: 
( from The Garden Island newspaper, Kauai, Hawaii)

Gay couple opt for marriage in Canada 

By BARRY GRAHAM - TGI Business Editor 
Posted: Thursday, Nov 06, 2003 - 05:52:03 am HST

It's been quite an eventful past few months for Kaua‘i residents John Furtak and Steven Keltner.

For over 21 years, the two have been involved in a gay partnership throughout the Mainland and, for the past 5 1/2 years, on Kaua‘i. 

In the last few years, the couple have planned trips back to the Mainland to visit friends and family.

This past summer in August, Furtak and Keltner decided that their next trip would involve completing their partnership through marriage.

Because Hawai‘i state law does not recognize a civil union of same-sex couples, Keltner and Furtak weighed their options and later decided to get married in Canada.

On Oct. 4, the two formed a civil union on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

"At first, when we thought about it all through August, this kind of built up for us," Furtak said. "The build up was kind of neat. The ceremony was small but, after it was over, we felt that we had accomplished something.

"We just wanted some kind of civil recognition someplace to acknowledge our relationship. The people over there (on Vancouver Island) were very supportive. The people there had their own type of aloha."

On June 17, 2003, the Canadian Cabinet approved a new national policy to open marriage to gay couples, which opened the way to making Canada the third country (Netherlands and Belgium) to allow same-sex unions.

In approving the new policy, officials from the Canadian Cabinet viewed previous federal marriage laws as "discriminatory and unconstitutional."

The new policy opened the way for same-sex couples from the United States and around the world to travel there to marry, since Canada has no marriage residency requirements.

Keltner and Furtak obtained a marriage license in addition to consulting with a marriage commissioner before going through with the ceremony.

"We feel that we are Hawaiians (kama‘aina)," said Furtak. "The thing with the states is that if we could have done it in this country, we would have wanted to do it here in Kaua‘i."

In traveling to Canada to get married, the two spent an estimated $1,000 on airplane tickets and another $1,500 to $2,000 for food, lodging for five nights, and the cost of obtaining a marriage license and consulting with a marriage commissioner.

The cost for a Canadian citizen to obtain a marriage license in their own country is $100 while the fee here in Hawai‘i for a resident is $60.

The Hawai‘i Legislature in 1994 amended the state's marriage law to provide that only marriages between a man and a woman are valid. In Nov. of 1998, Hawai‘i citizens voted to give the state legislature the power to decide the same-sex marriage issue.

Then in Dec. of 1999, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court ultimately ruled that same-sex marriage is illegal in Hawai‘i.

"It would have been kind of nice to have been able to do it here," Keltner said. "We could have pumped money into this economy as opposed to up there."

"We definitely feel different. It is one of the neatest feelings to know that when we have to fill out an application and they ask was our marital status is, we can check married."

Our best wishes go out to John and Steve for a happy union. We're hoping to see you return for another stay, perhaps for your next wedding anniversary. 

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Copes Islander Bed and Breakfast
1484 Wilkinson Rd.
Comox, B.C. Canada V9M 4B3
Reservations: (250)339-1038
Toll Free (in North America): 1-888-339-1038

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