It will be a colourful and historic occasion when Jason Koblogina and Kyle Mercer recite their vows in Cambridge Bay on Aug. 8. Theirs will be the community’s first gay marriage.
People have generally been encouraging, they say.
“The amount of support I’ve gotten from the community members has been overwhelming, with people telling us how proud they are they we don’t let anyone’s small-mindedness get to us or bother us,” says Koblogina, 27. “I find the majority of people are accepting and the ones that aren’t give looks, but they don’t really say anything. They keep it to themselves.”
“There are a couple of people who are kind of iffy,” Mercer agrees, “but whatever. We have so much support here, it’s incredible.”
The couple are already parents to two young adopted children.
“They (local residents) are happy and proud to see we are raising two kids who are very much healthy and growing way too fast for us,” Koblogina says.
Mercer, 20, describes parenthood as amazing.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” he says.
The couple took up residence together in Cambridge Bay in September 2016. They’d struck up a relationship after meeting through Facebook a year or two earlier.
Their mothers have been central figures in reinforcing that they should be secure in who they are, according to Koblogina.
“Both of our mothers have been supportive to us since day one. We both have a great support system, great friends and (we) both have family who love and accept us for who we are,” he says. “Growing up… I was closeted but people could notice and tell I was gay. When I came out to my mother, her response was, ‘I knew already. I was just waiting for you to tell me yourself.'”
Their “quaint” August wedding at the community hall will be officiated by a local commissioner of oaths, says Mercer, who was born in Newfoundland but previously lived in Yellowknife.
“It’s going to be very colourful,” Mercer says of the ceremony. “All of our bride’s maids are wearing a a dress that’s a different colour of the rainbow.”
Mercer says he appreciates Koblogina for his kindness and his honesty.
Koblogina describes Mercer as a thoughtful and kind individual who’s proven to be a fantastic father.
“I can’t wait to marry him and spend the rest of my life with him,” says Koblogina.
They’re planning to spend the remainder of their lives primarily in Cambridge Bay, where Mercer says he’s embraced Inuit culture.
“They’re so kind. Everyone is so giving,” he says. “I love that people respect their elders. There’s nothing stronger than that.”