By Paul Tuns
The British Columbia government filed a petition in the BC Supreme Court July 20 asking the federal government to allow same-sex marriages, becoming just the latest legal challenge along with the City of Toronto, six separate Ontario same-sex couples and a Montreal couple seeking societal approval of homosexuality.
Although marriage is a federal responsibility, provinces and municipalities issue marriage licenses. The City of Toronto is ostensibly seeking a clarification of the legal status quo, but B.C. is actively pushing the homosexual agenda.
The July 21 Vancouver Province reported B.C.’s NDP Attorney-General Andrew Petter as saying, “For both constitutional and social considerations I think this is the right thing to do. If the institution of marriage is a positive and beneficial institution for society and works for heterosexual couples, it should work for same-sex couples.”
But Peter Stock, national affairs director of the Canadian Family Action Coalition (CFAC), toldThe Interim he is concerned that the attorney-general, who is sworn to uphold the law, is challenging it. “If he wants the laws changed, he should run for federal government.”
Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE), a homosexual lobby group, is joining B.C. in its challenge. EGALE lawyers have been at the center of most important court rulings on homosexuality including the M vs. H and Vriend decisions which greatly expanded same-sex rights in Canada.
EGALE’s website is calling for homosexuals to sign up for their Equal Marriage Campaign, in an attempt to inundate the courts with challenges seeking same-sex marriage. As Laurie Aaron, a Toronto lawyer with EGALE, says, homosexuals are not going to wait for Parliament to act when the courts have been eager allies in the fight for same-sex rights. Indeed, Supreme Court of Canada Justice Claire L’Heureux-Dubé told a London, England audience last year that the court is ready to act when Parliament won’t.
Jim Sclater, coordinator of church relations and the Christian Citizenship Initiative of Focus on the Family (Canada), told The Interim he is concerned that homosexuals are using the courts and not Parliament to get what they want. “The mandate of the courts,” he said, “is not to create laws but to give direction. Redefining marriage goes way beyond giving direction.”
Pro-family groups have questioned the sincerity of the government’s defense in previous court challenges. But Stock says the lawyer being used in a similar challenge to the definition of marriage in Ontario is sincere, and is the same one the federal government used in its successful defense of Section 43 (the Criminal Code section allowing the corporal punishment of children) earlier this year.
REAL Women vice-president Gwen Landolt, however, told The Interim that her concern right now is with the Ontario government’s desire to defend the traditional definition of marriage. “We don’t know what their intentions are,” Landolt says pointing to the Harris government’s support of the complete radical homosexual agenda short of marriage, including adoption rights.
The challenge is coming just months after Bill C-23 was passed. C-23 was federal legislation granting same-sex partners the same rights as common-law couples but which explicitly stated marriage is the “lawful union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.” Pro-family groups are pointing to the folly of trying to placate the homosexual lobby with partial measures, saying marriage was the goal all along.
Among the couples named in the B.C. petition are lesbians Cynthia Callahan and Judy Lightwater. Lightwater said, “Cynthia and I want to get married. Like every other couple, we want the right to choose.”
Attorney-General Petter thinks it’s time for same-sex marriages. “Why would we want to deny to same-sex couples the opportunity to affirm and strengthen their relationships and by doing so strengthen the bond not just for themselves and their families but also for society as a whole?”
But Landolt says seeking the right to marriage is not about gaining equal benefits or strengthening their relationships but seeking social and legal recognition. And CFAC’s Stock says the radical homosexual agenda depends upon “breaking down this barrier” on way to its ultimate goal of allowing pansexualism – “sex with anyone, anywhere at anytime.”
“If there can be a marriage of two men, why not three men?” he asks.
On the need to defend marriage, Stock calls on pro-family Canadians to “place a flag on the hill and defend it,” warning of the dire consequences of failing to do so. Marriage is the foundation of the “natural family and social order that has sustained western society for thousands of years.”
“This is a defensible hill,” he says.
Still, pro-family opinion is mixed about the chances of a successful defense of marriage in the courts. Stock says the NDP government in B.C. will likely be defeated in the upcoming provincial election by the Liberals, who may not want to continue the fight. A previous challenge in Ontario (the Leyland case five years ago) was thrown out quickly and “there has been no change in the law to warrant a different ruling.” He is guardedly optimistic the challenges will fail, although it could be some time until everything is sorted out.
But Landolt is concerned that the egos of Canada’s Supreme Court justices could motivate them to break new ground and lead Canada to become the first country to sanction same-sex marriage.
It is by no means clear all homosexuals want marriage rights and even some who do are less interested in it for what marriage entails than the symbolism. The National Post quoted homosexual Crown attorney Michael Leshner on August 5, saying he wants marriage “more for a yearning for civic rights than for any intrinsic qualities that marriage brings.” He recognizes that marriage provides a societal sanction or approval of his lifestyle.
Landolt, Sclater and Stock all say pro-family Canadians must end their complacency and write letters to the editor, contact their elected representatives at the provincial and federal level and support pro-family groups that are defending marriage in the courts including Real Women, Focus on the Family (Canada) and CFAC.
As Landolt noted, pro-family groups depend on grassroots Canadians while EGALE receives funding from taxpayers through the federal Court Challenges Program.
Endless federal funding allows endless challenges. Homosexual lawyer Leshner says, “We will spring up, couple after couple after couple, every ten years, until its done. Our fight for marriage rights might be delayed, but it can’t be lost.”
To stop the homosexual lobby from using the courts until it gets its way, Landolt says Parliament should pass “a marriage act defining marriage, with a notwithstanding clause so the courts keep hands off it.”