By: Lauren La Rose THE CANADIAN PRESS, Published on Wed Apr 02 2008   

TORONTO – Four decades after Hollywood’s first interracial kiss in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” shocked mainstream America, Canada’s multicultural society is increasingly showing signs that love is colour blind.

The latest census figures released Wednesday by Statistics Canada show that, on this side of the border, mixed unions are forming at unprecedented rates.  There were 289,420 mixed-race couples, married and common law, in 2006 – one third more than in 2001, the last time the data was collected.  Yet there was a time in North America’s not-so distant past that marrying someone of a different race wasn’t just taboo, it could land someone behind bars.  Before a 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled it unconstitutional, 16 states still had laws banning interracial marriage.

Since Sidney Poitier’s landmark smooch, Hollywood continued the tradition of big-screen portrayals of interracial romances. Kevin Costner hooked up with Whitney Houston in “The Bodyguard” and Spike Lee brought together a black man and white woman in the more gritty “Jungle Fever.”  Images of real-life interracial couples such as Halle Berry and Montreal model Gabriel Aubry, as well as Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean and Jean-Daniel Lafond rarely provoke a mention of their mixed-race makeup.

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