Same-sex cou­ples on the in­crease in Canada

The News (New Glasgow) - - PICTOU COUNTY - Ger­ard Veld­hoven Ger­ard Veld­hoven is a long­time ac­tivist for the les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual and trans­gen­der com­mu­nity. His col­umn ap­pears Wed­nes­days in The News.

Who would have thought 50 years ago that same-sex cou­ples would be mak­ing a huge im­pact on Cana­dian so­ci­ety? The 2016 cen­sus has re­vealed that 72,880 cou­ples have set up house­keep­ing.

Of course, we must re­mem­ber that this num­ber may be higher as not ev­ery­one will ad­mit that he/she is liv­ing in a same-sex re­la­tion­ship, but will ad­mit to sharing liv­ing fa­cil­i­ties. Tak­ing that into con­sid­er­a­tion, the num­ber would rise dra­mat­i­cally. How­ever, the true num­ber may never be known.

The im­por­tant fact to re­mem­ber is that the num­ber of same­sex fam­i­lies is on the rise, not only in Canada but around the globe.

This is fan­tas­tic news and a strong in­di­ca­tion of ac­cep­tance in to­day’s so­ci­ety, as well as the change in how fam­i­lies are per­ceived. The tra­di­tional fam­ily nu­cleus has changed dur­ing the past years and now we also find one par­ent and child­less fam­i­lies more than ever be­fore. In­stead of a mom and dad we see dad and dad, or mom and mom. The cen­sus con­cluded that one-third of the cou­ples are mar­ried.

The first same-sex mar­riage took place in Toronto in 2003 and as time went by other prov­inces fol­lowed suit. Mar­riages be­came more pub­lic with cer­e­monies and huge cel­e­bra­tions.

How did the gen­eral pub­lic re­act? Well, that de­pends on ed­u­ca­tion, re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion and other fac­tors. Those with a uni­ver­sity ed­u­ca­tion are gen­er­ally more in favour, whereas blue col­lar are more tra­di­tional and tend to re­ject the mar­riage idea and are LGBTQ in­tol­er­ant.

Re­li­gious be­liefs gen­er­ally will pre­vent peo­ple from ac­cept­ing that be­ing a mem­ber of the LGBTQ com­mu­nity es­pe­cially in re­gard to gay mar­riage is just a fact. Depend­ing on the de­nom­i­na­tion, re­ac­tion to the mar­riage act changes was un­favourable in most in­stances. The Ro­man Catholic Church, Bap­tist-based churches and the re­li­gious right were ex­tremely vo­cal about the con­cept and adop­tion of same­sex mar­riage. The Angli­can Church and oth­ers may rec­og­nize LGBTQ ex­is­tence and some equal­ity, but not se­ri­ously.

The United Church of Canada went to the Supreme Court of Canada when Paul Martin’s gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced a change to the mar­riage law and ar­gued in favour of the change. Gay and les­bian cou­ples may be mar­ried within this church should they chose to do so. Of course, we must re­mem­ber that most get mar­ried in a civil cer­e­mony, by­pass­ing the churches.

Times are in­deed chang­ing and that gives us the op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate the pos­i­tives such as the right to marry the per­son of our choice. Fam­i­lies are those who love, cher­ish, com­mit and re­spect, re­gard­less of sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. We live in a world where this is non-ex­is­tent in many cases, but we do, each of us, have a choice whether to love, or be in­dif­fer­ent. Ei­ther way, we must live ac­cord­ing to our ideals in a man­ner that does not ini­ti­ate hate and dis­con­tent af­fect­ing oth­ers.

So, when in a com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ship, in mar­riage or oth­er­wise, we take re­spon­si­bil­ity to care for oth­ers whom we dearly love. The num­ber of same-sex cou­ples mat­ters not as much as the qual­ity of those re­la­tion­ships.

Is it nec­es­sary to legally marry or live in a com­mon-law re­la­tion­ship? Just be grate­ful we live in a na­tion where this is pos­si­ble. Same-sex fam­i­lies are on the rise, friends.

Com­ments and in­for­ma­tion: lgbt­con­nec­tion­sgv@gmail.com.

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