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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-11-25
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Chicago couple ties the knot in Toronto
by Kristin Kowalski

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"Today, I honor your caring and kindness, your distinct sense of humor," said Kevin Tindell in his vows to William Hall during their marriage ceremony on a float in the Toronto Pride Parade July 3. The moment was captured in a video, which is posted on the Global Toronto website. Kevin and William were chosen as one of six couples whose stories won them a trip to Toronto and a marriage ceremony on a float in the parade, all courtesy of, a dating website for gay men. Windy City Times sat with the couple to discuss the historic event.

Windy City Times: Why don't you tell me how you two met?

Kevin Tindell: He had come to join an organization and I was president of the organization at the time. He had vowed to be single and enjoy going out and meeting new people.

William Hall: After a while, you know, you're like okay it's time to stop worrying about trying to find somebody and having that be the end all be all. Just go out and have fun—you have good friends, a good job. That lasted for two months. And there he was and I asked around—I thought for sure he was taken—but he wasn't, and then I asked him out. The rest is history.

WCT: How did you hear about what was going on at the Toronto Pride Parade?

KT: I got an e-mail that they were doing this contest at . They wanted the story of how we met, why it would be important to us to be married in Canada at the Pride Parade. He did that and I sent it in on Wednesday and, on Monday, they called.

WCT: Oh, wow.

WH: But they didn't identify themselves, they have another company called...

KT: Avid Media.

WH: Avid Life Media and they said, "Hello this is Avid Life Media, can we ask you a few questions?" At first I thought it was one of those surveys or something so I said, "Okay, fine." They said, "Have you ever been divorced?" I was like, "No." "Do you have a valid up-to-date passport?" I said, "Yes, now who is this?" They said, "Well, you"ve answered all the right questions, we"d like to invite you to go get married on a float in Toronto next week."

KT: That was Monday. They were asking us to be up a week from that Thursday.

WCT: So, tell me about the weekend. What all happened?

WH: When we got there, ManCrunch did such a great job. I could not ask for more. They picked us up from the airport and the hotel was fantastic -

KT: We got to meet all the other couples. They took us over to city hall, which was right across the street from the hotel, to get our marriage licenses and that was great. They really treated us well.

WCT: Tell me about the parade. What was it like getting married in front of that many people?

WH: There were a lot of people—they said 1.3 million and I believe it.

KT: When they announced each couple and the couple was saying their vows...

WH: We got married in succession, one after another.

KT: Right and people, they quieted down when each person was saying their vows and their ring ceremony. After each vow, they would cheer as we were still rolling. So the next group of people got the next set of vows.

WH: They were screaming, "Congratulations, Welcome to Toronto."

WCT: I think it says a lot that the crowd quieted down to hear your vows—that was a big crowd.

WH: Yeah. I wasn't sure how that was gonna go.

KT: It was really a great experience. We're still pushing for marriage equality here. When we were in line for the marriage license, we were just in line for a marriage license with straight couples and us and nobody blinked—it was just right.

They had a wedding planner who introduced herself to us a week before we went. She was there. They had makeup people, they had hair people, if you needed it. Next year they want to do a men's float and a women's float. They want to try to expand it. It was really a wonderful experience. It was wonderful to go up there to go through the whole marriage thing.

WH: Having the license is really different. You feel a certain thing when you see it.

KT: We've been together since '96, so it doesn't change the relationship. It just changes...

WH: It's legal.

KT: The life that we've built is one of love and family regardless of a marriage certificate. I believe that's what should happen in families. It's nice it's legal and we'd get all the rights and privileges of married couples—that's what I think what the fight is about. The love aspect of it—we had a commitment ceremony in '98, two years after we'd been together, for 250 of our closest relatives and friends. That really sealed our relationship because we did it before God and before our families. So, it doesn't change it, but it enhances it, I think.

We have the picket fence and three children. We have four dogs and a turtle and a fish.

WH: And that's part of the fight for marriage equality—all of the legal ways that people are doing it—the court cases, the people who do activism. What we have built, I believe is also a component of that cause. We have exactly what marriage and family is and we're living that day-to-day. That's part of how to gain the equality that you seek—more and more over time people will be like, 'Ok, yeah.' It's kind of there—the sky didn't fall, everything's fine. It was very nice.

KT: It ended up being a very pleasant day and a great experience. They made sure we had everything we needed.

Everyone in Toronto contributed to making all of the couple's special day a great experience. From the hotel rooms to the cake to the wedding coordinator, most of the services and wedding necessities were free. The rest was paid for by .

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