Inae Lee knows she won't have the support of her South Korean parents as she weds her partner inToronto on Thursday, but she's hoping the 109 other couples tying the knot beside her will make up for her family's rejection of her relationship.
Lee will be just one of the participants in a mass wedding for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirited couples, which is considered the first of its kind in Canada. The Grand Pride Wedding will involve couples from across Canada as well as participants from countries where same sex marriage is illegal.
For Lee, the event is historically significant.
``In my parents' mind they don't believe that this can be celebrated. In their mind it's something that's illegal, it's something that's not allowed, it's very sinful,'' said 28-year-old Lee. ``I really want to let them know that we are celebrated, and it's ok for us to get married.''
Lee is getting married to Jenny Chang Ho, who is originally from Venezuela. The pair met in Toronto two years ago and have been together ever since.
Canada's first legal same-sex marriage took place on June 10, 2003, just hours after Ontario's Court of Appeal pronounced the Canadian law on traditional marriage unconstitutional. Other provinces followed suit and the federal government legalized same-sex marriage countrywide two years later with the gender-neutral Civil Marriage Act.
Organizers say up to 1,000 people are expected to attend Thursday's Grand Pride Wedding, which is believed to be the largest of its kind in North America.
It's being held at Casa Loma, a palatial Toronto home built between 1911 and 1914, which has since become a popular tourist attraction and event venue.
``What we see Casa Loma as is this grand lady at the top of the hill watching Toronto evolve,'' said Nick Di Donato, president and CEO of the Liberty Entertainment Group which operates the facility and is hosting the event. ``This is a dramatic part of that evolution.''
Di Donato's company is taking on all costs for the event, with the couples only having to pay for an Ontario marriage licence.