Canada’s first same-sex marriage was performed here, and according to 2006 census data released today, nearly a quarter of same-sex common law couples in Toronto have officially tied the knot. Strangely enough, hetero marriages haven’t crumbled en masse since the unions became legal country-wide in 2005, nor have people started lobbying to marry their pets. Someone should tell the Americans.
This is the first time that the question was asked on a census, with 7,465 gay couples reporting in as hitched. Advocacy group Egale Canada originally voiced concern with the way the question was presented since it allocated same-sex marriages to a write-in option under the “other” category. Egale would rather a single checkbox for all married people.
Most significant was the growth rate since 2001: the number of same-sex common law couples increased at five times the rate of opposite-sex relationships. Half of all reported same-sex couples lived in Toronto (21.2%), Montreal (18.4%), and Vancouver (10%). 9% of same-sex couples had children, and though it was much more common for females to have families with kids, the male pairings accounted for more than twice the rate of growth in this demographic. Gay couples with children were far more likely to get married than those without kids.
While Toronto saw the greatest percentage of married same-sex couples at nearly 1 in 4(!), only about 1 in 10 Montréal couples made it official—but this is likely on account of Québecers overall having much more of a propensity for common law unions. More than 44% of Canadian common law families live in Québec, and Montréal has Canada’s highest concentration of same-sex couples at 1 in 97. C’est sensass!
Toronto’s census data reports 9,620 same-sex couples, while Regina reports back with only 155. The census is only as accurate as the responses, however, and many people may not be likely to answer such a personal question honestly (under-reporting is also common when new questions are added to the census). More than 80% of the common law gay couples identifying as such in the census were concentrated in urban areas.
Photo by tysonwilliams from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.