2 min

Got a list, checking it twice

The woman in the next pew had all the must-have qualities

LEAP OF FAITH. Elaine and Anne Vautour will get married - for real - in a church, by a man of the cloth. Credit: Angelique Caplette

Elaine and Anne Vautour are so sure of their relationship that they are getting married twice.

“We’re in this for life,” says Elaine Vautour. “I have absolutely no doubt about that…. We believe [in our relationship] and are ready to celebrate it again and again.”

The Vautours were wedded in a holy union at the Metropolitan Community Church Of Toronto last August (they legally changed their names at that time to take on a joint family name). And now, only a few months later, they are planning to do it all over again in a double marriage ceremony on Sun, Jan 14.

The difference is the hope that their second ceremony will be legally recognized.

“I won’t be as nervous as the first time I walked down the aisle,” says Anne, “now that I have some practice.”

Anne, 38, is a day-care teacher and professional organizer. Elaine, 43, is a counsellor at Seaton House.

The two met at MCCT, where they are both active members, almost three years ago. Anne was dating someone else, but it soon became clear that her future was with Elaine.

“When I first came out I made a list of what I wanted in a partner,” says Anne. “It included everything from brown eyes and a sense of humour, to spirituality and being a Christian. Soon after I met Elaine I pulled out my list and realized that she had every quality on it.”

“When people saw us together, even before we were dating, they could tell that we were meant for each other,” says Elaine. “There was something magic, a chemistry there, that was apparent immediately. And it just keeps getting better between us.”

But that doesn’t mean that the union has always been easy. Anne’s father is a Presbyterian minister and her parents aren’t comfortable with the relationship, or their quest for legal recognition.

The couple credits their shared sense of spirituality for sustaining their relationship despite external homophobic pressures.

“We couldn’t do this [stay together] without God on our side,” says Anne. “We pray together before meals and before going to sleep and meditate together.”

In addition to being a social worker, Elaine is a deacon at MCCT and a part-time theology student at St Michael’s College. Anne maintained her connection to the church even though the congregation that she was raised in was not welcoming to her once she came out.

“I never gave up on God,” says Anne. “There were times in my life when I was angry with God, but I never actually left the church.”

Both the Vautours say that MCCT provides the social, as well as spiritual, support for their union.

As a deacon at the church, Elaine counsels congregants in need of guidance. In turn, Elaine says she she could go to any other lay leader or to the senior pastor, Rev Brent Hawkes, if she ever needs help sustaining her marriage. “We are surrounded by a giant social safety net.”

Elaine is confident that with the help of their spiritual community, her marriage can survive any difficulty. “To me being married means having unconditional love for that person for the rest of my life – in good times and in challenging times.

“I feel sorry for them [gay men and lesbians who don’t believe in marriage],” says Elaine, “they obviously haven’t found the right person yet.

“If you do meet the right person,” she advises, “go for it – commit. Follow your heart.”