Have you ever wondered how many women married each other last year in Toronto? It was a big political issue for years here, and remains an enormous one in that lamentable nation to our south. And yet, it’s not a number that’s bandied about much. I think I know why.
The answer is 616. That’s down 28 per cent from 2004, the first full year in which same-sex marriage was legal. The total number of marriages was down 5 per cent over the same period. For men, the number was 868, down the same 28 per cent since 2004.
According to the 2006 census, there were 7,465 married same-sex couples in Canada. Chances are, there are still fewer than 10,000 of them, compared with more than six million of the opposite-sex variety. We changed a lot of laws to let these people marry each other, and upset a lot of people in the process — all for what’s turned out to be something like 0.06 per cent of the population.
Was it all worth it?
The short answer is no. The government’s only calculable interest in its constituents marrying is the production of more citizens, more taxpayers and while same-sex coupling doesn’t do any harm to that formula, it doesn’t help it either. So the state should have stayed where it was, with a hand in the couplings it has an interest in, staying clear of those it doesn’t.
The long answer, however, is yes. Not everything a government does can be expressed on a spreadsheet, a mistake many of us make when we moan about unbusinesslike practices.
What the government did when it changed all those laws was create a different Canada. It had been a long time since we led the world. Medicare was great, and we were once Pearson’s peacekeepers. But other than Céline Dion and the BlackBerry, what had we done for the world lately?
Six years ago this month, we became only the third nation in the world to let same-sex couples marry. From that point on, the rest of the world has been playing catch-up. I’d stopped going to Pride, to be honest. The whole idea seemed stuck in another decade.
But six years ago, the weekend after Pride took on a whole new meaning. I’m not going down to Church Street on Sunday, but you can be sure my fiancé and I will be two of the proudest pups on Parliament Hill this Canada Day.