Algoma Family Services (AFS) has donated a colourful bench in honour of Pride month and dedicated it to well-known Elliot Laker, lawyer and Pride advocate Douglas Elliott. The presentation was made outside the AFS Elliot Lake office at noon Thursday in front of AFS staff, Pride members, politicians, family and supporters.
The donated bench is the third donated and placed outside AFS offices in recognition of Pride and a fourth is slated to be set up at its Wawa office next year.
“This is a tribute of Douglas Elliott to the LBGTQ2S+ community through his work supporting same-sex marriage among many other important causes for the LGBT community in Canada, for his leadership in the creation of Elliot Lake Pride and work on bridging the gap between Pride committees and First Nations,” said AFS CEO Ali Juma
“The bench is a symbol of patience and waiting. Almost all of us can recall being on a long, arduous walk and found ourselves filled with relief at finding a nice spot to sit and relax somewhere on our path.
Also attending the event was Elliott’s mother Shirley and his husband of 46 years Greg Lawrence.
During his legal career, Elliott has received several prestigious awards and honours and has won several landmark constitutional cases such as same-sex marriage.
“He won the largest Canadian class action trial judgement valued at $50 million in an action brought by a group of gay and lesbian Canadians seeking CPP survivor’s pension against the federal government in (George) Hislop versus Canada,” Juma said of some of Elliott’s achievements. “He was lead counsel in the LGBT Purge class action that resulted in the largest recovery in the world for damages for LGBT discrimination, a settlement totalling $145 million.”
“I love this bench and I love the fact it is so visible from the highway (108) and that it’s welcoming to our community,” Elliott said.
He thanked his mother for her support since he “came out” 50 years ago and for the work being done since Elliott Lake Pride was founded in 2013.
Also presented was a plaque that will be placed near the bench.