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Same-sex unions growing at five times that rate of heterosexual ones in Canada
Outexpressions: by Michael F. Paré, Thursday
September 13, 2007. Same-sex unions are growing at five times the rate of
opposite-sex ones according to census numbers that also reveal, for the first
time, the number of homosexual marriages in Canada. Some 45,300 couples, both
common law and married, reported as same-sex in the 2006 census, up from 34,200.
Those numbers represent a 33 per cent surge since 2001, while heterosexual couples
grew by just six per cent in the same time period.
The historic Statistics Canada query on same-sex marriage, coming in the wake
of Parliament legalizing such unions in 2005, revealed 7,465 homosexual marriages.
That's considerably lower than numbers reported by the now-defunct advocacy
group Canadians For Equal Marriage. The group, based on its own research of
municipal records, reported last November that 12,438 marriage licences had
been granted to same-sex couples since provincial courts began recognizing such
unions in 2003.
The census relegated same-sex marriages to a write-in category under the questionnaire's
'other' box - a move that raised the ire of Egale Canada. The national advocacy
group responded by urging its membership to list their relationships as husband
and wife. Anne Milan, a senior analyst at Statistics Canada, stands by the accuracy
of the census data but concedes the limitations of relying on the answers people
"It's the first time that we've asked same sex marriage so it's really
a benchmark number," said Milan, who added it's "difficult to say"
what effect Egale's dissent had on the numbers. "Future census releases
will allow us to compare the count and see what's happening."
The fact that the question was being asked at all shows that "people are
getting on with their lives, which was fundamentally what the whole debate was
about," said Michael Leshner, a lawyer and one of Canada's first legally
married gay men. "It's really a debate that hopefully has run its course...
We're just part of the boring middle class now," Leshner said.
According to the census, same-sex couples accounted for 0.6 per cent of all
couples in Canada. That falls in line with numbers reported in the United States,
New Zealand and Australia. More than half, or 54 per cent, of same-sex married
Canadian spouses were men. Some nine per cent of same-sex couples had children,
more commonly in female unions (16 per cent) than male ones (three per cent).
Children were present more in same-sex married couples (16 per cent) than common-law
ones (eight per cent).
Ontario became the first province to legally recognize same-sex marriage following
a 2003 decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal. Similar decisions followed
in British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland
and Labrador, Yukon, and New Brunswick.
On July 20, 2005, Canada became the third country in the world to legalize
same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands and Belgium. Spain and South Africa
have since legalized homosexual marriage as well.
"As my spouse Mike Starkel always says, we won. There's nothing they can
do, we won," said Leshner.
Where Are You on Toronto's Gay Talent Map?
Outexpressions: Toronto, Friday August 24, 2007 by Michael
F. Paré, -- Richard
Florida, one of the most important urban thinkers since Jane Jacobs, is
following her lead and coming to Toronto. Florida, considered by some as
the guru of urban economic development, was recently welcomed to the University
of Toronto's business school. Florida will settle into his role as the director
of the Rotman School of Management’s new $120-million Centre for Jurisdictional
Advantage and Prosperity in mid September. A position he was quick to accept
after working at George Mason University in Virginia for only three years.
He's started a $120-million project at the University to research
how wealth is created in urban settings made possible by a $50-million donation
from the provincial government.
His groundbreaking 2002 essay, "The Rise of the Creative Class:
Why cities without gays and rock bands are losing the economic development race"
is followed this year by "There Goes the Neighborhood: How and Why Bohemians,
Artists and Gays Affect Regional Housing Values", in which he writes:"As
selective buyers with an eye for amenity, authenticity and aesthetics, locations
where artists, bohemians and gays concentrate are likely to be highly sought
after for their cultural amenities, desirable neighborhood character, and aesthetic
quality of the housing stock."
In other words, Toronto has got good taste - and people know it. Florida considers
Toronto as one of his favourite places and one of the more "creative"
cities in the world.
He argues that if a city concentrates on embracing its bohemians through a
dynamic and tolerant urban life, it will be economically successful. One of
his eye-catching measures is the "gay index," where he says the more
gay-friendly a city is, the more likely it is to be economically prosperous
because of its open-mindedness.
Want to get a quick take on how your city or region is faring in the all-out
competition for talent? Start by determining the percentage of gays that are
in your population. The "gay index" is the leading predictor of a
city's ability to attract and retain knowledge workers, claims Richard Florida,
founder and director of the Software Industry Center at Pittsburgh's Carnegie
Mellon University and professor of regional economic development.
It's not that gay employees themselves are critical for building a tech-savvy
base of operations. It's that a gay population is a dependable indicator of
the environmental factors -- tolerance, openness to diversity, and lots of urban-oriented
amenities -- that are critical for attracting world-class workers.
The new institute will study how jurisdictions become magnets for companies
and for people who provide the necessary talents needed for prosperity. One
of the goals is to be able to inform public policy makers on the various things
needed to create a truly prosperous jurisdiction.
"To have this kind of support, to have your financial support ... and
to have a spectacular physical space to locate in, I couldn't be more grateful,"