Vancouver Celebrates 10 Years of Marriage Equality in Canada!


photo: Edward Lai Photography

In July 2015 Canada will mark ten years of legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. At 6:09 pm on Wednesday, July 20, 2005, the Civil Marriage Act was proclaimed into law in Canada, making it legal for same-sex couples to exchange vows from coast to coast. It was signed into law by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Two years previously, on June 10, 2003, the Province of Ontario’s Court of Appeal ruled that the exclusion of same-sex couples from the definition of marriage, was in violation of equality rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and legal civil ceremonies started shortly thereafter. British Columbia followed soon afterwards, announcing the legalization of same-sex marriage on July 8, 2003. As a result, couples from across Canada and around the world started traveling to these provinces to legally exchange vows.

Quebec followed in March 2004, Yukon Territory in July 2004, Manitoba and Nova Scotia in September 2004, Saskatchewan in November 2004, Newfoundland and Labrador in December 2004, New Brunswick in June 2005 and Alberta, Prince Edward Island, Nunavut Territory, as well as the Northwest Territories in July, 2005.

After the proclamation of the Civil Marriage Act, marriage equality was law in all ten provinces and three territories, so Canadians could now conveniently get married in their home jurisdictions, without the added expense of having to travel to Ontario or British Columbia. This also made Canada the fourth country in the world, after the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain, to legalize same-sex marriage throughout the country.

Since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide in 2005, Statistics Canada has reported that the number of Canadian same-sex married couples reported on the 2011 Census nearly tripled, between 2006 and 2011.  With over 21,000 Canadian same-sex couples now legally married, and numerous others from other countries whom have come here to legally marry, there has also been an economic impact from wedding ceremonies and all the accoutrements that go with them. Airlines, hotels, wedding venues, caterers, marriage commissioners, wedding planners, bakeries, limousine companies, taxes and more, have all benefited financially.

Of course, the history and processes involved in attaining marriage equality nationwide in Canada are much more complex and involved than we can present in the limited space of these pages. The intent of this article is to note and celebrate the ten year anniversary of this historic landmark in Canadian history. For additional information, please refer to web sites in the Resources section provided. Congratulations Canada!

Written by Angus Praught

In celebration of this anniversary, Tourism Vancouver is offering a chance to win an Anniversary Themed prize package. Enter now.

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