More lesbians than gay men getting married in British Columbia
January 30 2004 1:00 AM ET
When it comes to getting hitched in Canada, who's tying the knot more often: gay men or lesbians?
If they're walking down the aisle in British Columbia, slightly more women are getting married, according to The Vancouver Sun. Between July 8 and December 31, 733 same-sex weddings took place in the province: 398 involved women, and 335 involved men.
The larger number of lesbians who chose to marry doesn't surprise University of British Columbia social historian Arlene Sindelar. While her specialty is legal and social contracts in the Middle Ages, Sindelar says it is possible that many of the feelings women had about marriage in centuries past still may apply today. "From a medievalist perspective, women culturally always had to be married in society," Sindelar told the newspaper. "And as a result, her identity for centuries in every culture has been tied intrinsically to her role and status in the family."
Sindelar, who is one of the presenters in a UBC Continuing Education program on marriage scheduled for March, says that throughout history men have been able to make their mark in society in different ways. "Their identity was not tied to whether they had a family." Not so women, she says, who, until recently, were only able to find their place in society on the arms of their husbands.
She made her remarks on the same day the Canadian government announced that it is broadening its request to the Canadian supreme court for a ruling on gay marriage. In making the announcement, Justice Minister Irwin Cotler insisted the new government of Prime Minster Paul Martin remains committed to equality for gays and is not backing off the stand taken by Liberals under Jean Chretien, according to the newspaper. "We are reaffirming our position in support of same-sex marriage," said Cotler. "This is unwavering. I reiterate it today."
So far, British Columbia and Ontario are the only provinces in Canada to have made marriage for same-sex couples legal. While the province of Ontario does not distinguish between homosexual and heterosexual couples in its provincial marriage records, the City of Toronto does. It reported on Wednesday that between June 10, the day same-sex marriage became legal in Ontario, and January 28, 1,099 gay couples were married in the city. During the same period, there were 11,464 marriages in
Toronto. Of the individuals involved in Toronto's gay marriages, 380 were from the United States, and 60 were from countries outside Canada and the U.S., according to the newspaper.