Ted Nebbeling, who was British Columbia's cabinet minister in charge of Vancouver's 2010 Winter Olympics, announced on Monday that he married his same-sex partner of 32 years last November. Later in the day provincial premier Gordon Campbell announced a cabinet overhaul, and Nebbeling was not reappointed. It was one of several changes in Campbell's first cabinet reshuffle since the Liberals took power in 2001.
Campbell said Nebbeling's marriage had nothing to do with the decision not to reappoint him. The premier said he disclosed the decision to Nebbeling last week and that Nebbeling told him during that meeting that he and his partner had married. Nebbeling, 59, said the premier congratulated him. "He was very happy for me," Nebbeling said.
Nebbeling had been minister of state for the community charter and the 2010 Winter Olympics. He had held the posts since British Columbia's Liberal Party formed its provincial government three years ago. Before being elected to the provincial legislature in 1996, he served two terms as mayor of Whistler, the ski-resort town north of Vancouver that will host many Olympic events. Nebbeling said he had planned to announce his November 15 wedding to property manager Jan Holmberg, 63, next month during the opening of the legislature but that news of their marriage was leaked to the press.
He said he and Holmberg decided to get married shortly after a provincial court made same-sex marriage legal in July. Nebbeling, an immigrant to Canada from the Netherlands, said he and his partner, who is from Sweden, could easily have married in the Netherlands, where gay marriage has been legal for years and where Nebbeling still has family. But he said they wanted to marry in Canada, their adopted home.
Nebbeling said his marriage may add more fuel to the same-sex marriage debate in Canada. "Ultimately, it was all about my partner and myself doing something that was meaningful and something that we wanted to do," he said.