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Advocacy director leaves Egale

Laurie Arron co-led fight for same-sex marriage

Laurie Arron, who has been Egale Canada’s director of advocacy for almost three years, is leaving the position, just as Canada faces another parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage.

“Egale’s been a fantastic experience for me and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity,” says Arron.

Though he’s trained as a lawyer, Arron’s considering a new career direction. Before he joined the staff at the national lobby group, he had trained with European chocolatemakers with an eye to starting his own chocolate business. That’s an option again.

“I’m not sure there are a lot of similarities between LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans] advocacy and chocolate-making other than the fact that I find them both enjoyable,” says Arron.

Arron finishes up in June and is heading to Europe for the summer. But should Stephen Harper’s Conservative government introduce a motion to rollback same-sex marriage rights in the fall, Arron says he’ll help out. Arron was a lead player in Canadians For Equal Marriage, on loan from Egale while Parliament dealt with the issue.

“I wouldn’t want to leave Egale in the lurch,” he says.

Harper has said he’ll introduce a motion that would have MPs vote on whether they want to consider another marriage bill, but hasn’t given a timeframe. Canadians For Equal Marriage issued a press release earlier this month urging that the vote be held soon, if it was to be held. But preferably not at all.

“We call on Mr Harper to publicly declare that the equal marriage issue is settled and will not be reopened again by a Conservative government,” Arron stated in a press release. “No vote is needed. Two-thirds of Canadians consider the issue settled. The will of the Canadian public is clear.”

Executive director Gilles Marchildon says the board had considered leaving the position vacant, perhaps shuffling some of the staff roles and duties. They decided against it.

“Egale is very much about legal interventions and political advocacy. It’s something we’ve done well and we need to keep doing it,” says Marchildon.

Marchildon says Arron has been a big part of how people see Egale Canada.

“It’s hard to imagine Egale without him,” he says.