Same-sex marriage in Canada: The impact of legal marriage on the first cohort of gay and lesbian Canadians to wed

MacIntosh, Heather; Reissing, Elke D.; Andruff, Heather
October 2010
Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality;2010, Vol. 19 Issue 3, p79
Academic Journal
A ruling of the Court of Appeal for Ontario on June 10, 2003, declared the federal definition of marriage unconstitutional and thus opened the door for gay and lesbian couples to legally marry in Ontario. Other provinces followed suit until the federal Civil Marriage Act on July 20, 2005, made same-sex marriage legal nationwide. Research on the relationships of gay and lesbian couples that had previously been limited to cohabiting, unmarried couples could now examine the impact of legalized marriage on same-sex couples. The present study addressed this topic in a quantitative assessment of relationship satisfaction and attachment in 26 married lesbian or gay couples and also in a qualitative thematic analysis of interviews with 15 of these couples to determine the impact of legalized marriage on their relationships and to explore their views about the support they received from society and their communities. All couples interviewed indicated that being able to marry had affected them in various ways relationally, political and socially. The quantitative analysis showed that the 26 couples had significantly higher levels of relationship satisfaction and significantly less attachment-related anxiety and avoidance compared to normative data for married heterosexual couples. Despite some challenges and struggles, the participants indicated that marriage had an overwhelmingly positive effect on their lives.


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