Why Canadian Same-Sex Couples Don’t Marry

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Same-sex couples have had access to marriage in Canada since July 20, 2005. Canadian sociologist Jillian Deri explores why the marriage rate for same-sex couples is so low…17 percent, compared to 80 percent for different-sex couples.

She reports the views of a number of Canadian gay men and lesbians, and she makes the point about Canadian law that few Americans realize…No same-sex couple in Canada needs to marry for legal benefits. Whether the issue is immigration rights, survivors benefits, inheritance, the right to support if the relationship ends, or any other legal right or responsibility, Canadian law treats unmarried gay and straight couples almost identically to marriage gay and straight couples. Marriage is really a choice in Canada and never a matter of economic or legal necessity.

And here is Deri’s personal view:

“Personally, I follow the classic feminist argument: challenge the institution while supporting the decisions made by individuals.While I fully support same-sex marriage for those who choose it, I believe that the more progressive political approach is for the individual to be the basis of social organization instead of the couple.This means giving all people social security, guaranteed income, health benefits, child care, and parental leave, irrespective of their marital status.A culture that values the individual instead of the couple as the base unit would offer more support for singlehood and single parenting, for starters.I’d like to see more information, resources and support for all forms of relationships: single, polyamorous, coupled, friendship, chosen family or whatever our queer hearts can dream up.”
–Nancy Polikoff
      Crossposted from Beyond Straight and Gay Marriage
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