Following the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal to overturn the historic definition of a legal marriage, Liberal MP John McKay pointed to the obvious conclusion: “We apparently have judge-made law in this country, and we’re just here for decoration.”

McKay is right. Why, then, do most Canadians still think Canada is a democracy? Why can’t they see that while our elected representatives go through the motions of debating and enacting laws, it’s the courts that impose all crucial laws under the pretence of upholding the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

Nothing better illustrates this judicial subversion of democracy than the gay “marriage” dispute. In 1999 and again in 2000, an overwhelming majority in the Commons affirmed that, “Marriage is and should remain the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.” Among the backers of these motions were Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Justice Minister Martin Cauchon and the Liberal leadership candidates, Paul Martin and John Manley.

In brazen defiance of these parliamentary declarations, a three-judge panel of the Ontario Divisional Court proceeded last year to strike down the traditional, legal definition of marriage as endorsed by the Commons. The court held that this law, which has stood the test of centuries, violated equality rights for homosexuals that the courts have read into the Charter.

Instead of denouncing this judicial attack on the authority of Parliament, Cauchon asked McKay and his colleagues on the justice committee to revisit the issue of gay marriage. To this end, the committee has criss-crossed the country for the past three months, holding public hearings. Hundreds of Canadians showed up to express their feelings about marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

All these efforts were a complete waste. On June 10, just as the committee was preparing its report for the Commons, a three-judge panel of the Ontario Court of Appeal flouted the democratic process, by unilaterally reformulating the legal definition of marriage as “the voluntary union for life of two persons to the exclusion of all others,” and ordering the registrar-general for Ontario to issue marriage licences to gay and lesbian couples.

If Canada were still a genuine parliamentary democracy, our MPs would have responded to such a scandalous affront to their rights by instructing the speaker of the Commons to bring the judicial culprits before the bar of the House on charges of contempt. As it is, Parliament should at least promptly rewrite the traditional definition of marriage into law and invoke Section 33 of the Charter to declare that this law shall operate notwithstanding the court-imposed equality rights for homosexuals in section 15.

Appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada for a definitive ruling on gay marriage will accomplish nothing. Like their counterparts on the Ontario Court of Appeal, the judge-politicians on Canada’s top court have time and again manifested their resolve to write their personal ideological preferences for gay rights into law in contemptuous defiance of the express will of Parliament.

Nonetheless, the Commons justice committee is planning to hold hearings on Bill C-250, legislation introduced by New Democratic Party MP Svend Robinson that would stifle even reasonable debate on homosexual issues, by including sexual orientation in the hate propaganda section of the Criminal Code. Why is the committee wasting its time on this bill? Why do the honourable members persist in a charade of law-making when it’s clear that no matter what our elected representatives in Parliament might prefer, the Supreme Court of Canada is bound sooner or later to read sexual orientation into the hate-propaganda law on its own?

Meanwhile, the Ontario Court of Appeal insists its ruling “is not about the religious validity or invalidity of various forms of marriage.” Coming from our ideologically driven courts, such assurances are worthless. McKay has good reason to warn: “As sure as God made little green apples, gay activists will take clergy to court if they refuse to marry gay couples.”

Clergy who refuse to conform their thinking to the corrupt pattern of the world should take heed: if they do not soon bow down to the courts and embrace the judge-imposed orthodoxy of gay rights, they could end up in jail as prisoners of conscience.