TORONTO, August 16, 2004 ( – Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce this year joined forces with homosexual activists, and hosted its first “Gay Pride” reception to coincide with Toronto’s “Gay Pride” parade. CIBC employees carried a company-endorsed banner in the parade.  CIBC chairman John Hunkin gave the address at the company-sponsored “Gay Pride” reception, June 24. “CIBC . . . has a long history of supporting the Gay & Lesbian Community,” Hunkin boasted. “In the mid-1990s, for example, CIBC made same-sex benefits available to its employees well before employers across Canada were legally obligated to do so.”“CIBC also had an opportunity to play a role, albeit a small one, in the legal battle for same-sex marriage,” Hunkin continued. He described how employee Joe Varnell and former employee Kevin Bourassa became the first legally “married” homosexuals in the world. “. . . [A]s they embarked on their legal challenge to the common law definition of marriage, they received the support, encouragement and flexibility they needed from managers, colleagues and specialist groups at CIBC,” he said.  Hunkin boasted about the participation of about 50 employees at the 2003 “Gay Pride” parade.  Read related coverage:  Toronto Gay Pride Week Sponsors Feature Corporate Heavyweights   Contact CIBC to voice your opinion:   tv