Canadian marriage rockets seven years after gay unions made legal

Figures released by Canadian census reveal more than 64,000 gay families in Canada

Canadian marriage rockets seven years after gay unions made legal
20 September 2012

Figures released by Statistics Canada revealed there are 64,575 same-sex families living together, a leap of 42% from the 2006 census.

Out of those same-sex families, 21,015 are married couples and 43,560 are common-law.

The figures revealed why there was a decline of married couples overall since 2006; the figures show same-sex families more than doubled.

Speaking to CTV, Jennifer Tipper of the Vanier Institute of the family, an organization dedicated to promoting the strengths of families in Canada, said; ‘While the makeup of the Canadian families has changed dramatically over the last few decades, that does not necessarily mean that, traditional family values are on their way out.

‘We now have multiple variations of the family form but families are adapting to their own societal needs just like they’ve done for generations.’

The spike in same-sex families reflects Canada’s 2005 legalization of gay marriage when it became the fourth country in the world to legalize it.

To qualify as a family under Statistics Canada’s terms, two people must be living together under one roof.

Gay and lesbian couples made up only 0.8% of the 9,389,700 families in 2011 but same-sex unions remain the fastest growing kind of marriage over the last five years in Canada.

By 2006, two years after gay marriage had been legalized, only 16% of same-sex couples had married. By 2011 however the number rose to 32%.

Kevin Bourassa and his husband Joe Varnell from Ontario were the first same-sex couple in the world to be married. Their 2001 wedding in Canada was immediately challenged by an Ontario court but was legally recognized in 2003.

Speaking of the rise in gay marriage, Bourassa told Leaderpost.com: ‘These numbers tell me that our community is still responding to the relatively recent availability of marriage. There seems to have been a pent-up demand.’

After these figures were released, it was discovered a data-gathering glitch means it is difficult to pin down the exact size in the increase of same-sex couples living together. Census manager Marc Hamel said the increase could have been slightly smaller, with only 18% of same-sex couples living together.

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