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. Michaelle Jean and Jean-Daniel Lafond rarely provoke a mention of their mixed-race makeup.Statistics Canada began looking at mixed unions in 2001 as yet another indication of Canada's diversity and the way in which different ethnicities are integrating, analyst Tina Chui said."If they tend to live in neighbourhoods where there are a lot of other people from their own group around them, that can contribute to more marriage within their own group," she said.Tina Fong, 27, a teacher originally from Abbotsford, B.
Roth said low levels of interracial marriage often has to do with tradition and culture, but can also relate to where the visible minority groups settle.– a largely white community east of Toronto where he was raised."I found that people looked at me and I always felt they didn't approve of it, just from the way they looked," Fong said."It was difficult at the beginning but it got easier.Now, they're totally fine with it." But it wasn't always that easy."I couldn't see not being with Tina because of any reason other than who she is or her character, and that comes from values that were given to me by my parents," the 32-year-old Ottawa lawyer said.Open-minded attitudes regarding interracial relationships have also extended into the domain of professional matchmaking services."We say we can't promise that because that's not what we do. It's very much (along) cross-cultural lines." Susan Semeniw of Divine Intervention, a Vancouver matchmaking service, said she will always ask clients if they're open to a partner of a different race.The extent to which an individual has been exposed to different cultures can play a role in their willingness to consider an interracial relationship, she said.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. Supreme Court decision ruled it unconstitutional, 16 states still had laws banning interracial marriage.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. Since Sidney Poitier's landmark smooch, Hollywood continued the tradition of big-screen portrayals of interracial romances.