REAL Women of Canada President Gwen Landolt believes Canadians ought to remember the words of former U.S. president Thomas Jefferson, who wrote that: “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” Unbeknownst to most Canadians, the federally funded Law Commission of Canada released a report titled Beyond Conjugality to the minister of justice in late December that endorses the idea of same-sex marriage, and Landolt is not pleased. “This report is plain and simple propaganda,” she says. “It is fundamentally flawed, ignores all the evidence that children are better off with a mother and a father, and was written to demolish the institution of marriage, and do an end-run around Parliament.”

The report, which was tabled in the House of Commons in late January, claims: “There is no justification for maintaining the current distinctions between same-sex and heterosexual conjugal unions in the light of current understandings of the state’s interests in marriage,” and that “if governments are to continue to maintain an institution called marriage, they cannot do so in a discriminatory fashion.” Among other recommendations, Beyond Conjugality calls on Parliament and the provincial/territorial legislatures to remove the restrictions on marriages between persons of the same sex. The report even suggests opposition to same-sex relationships can be overcome through a gradual, step-by-step approach, “by first enacting a registration scheme to permit same-sex couples to have access to a legal framework to organize their affairs and, as the population becomes more receptive to it or as they become pressed by international or judicial developments, governments could then press legislation that would allow same-sex couples to marry.”

Interestingly, the LCC says the purpose of Beyond Conjugality is not to broaden the definition of marriage to include same-sex relationships, but to “re-evaluate the ways in which (governments) regulate personal adult relationships,” and increase the range of relationships by which Canadians can claim rights and benefits. The report mentions various non-sexual partnerships, such as caregiving relationships, and non-conjugal relationships between both relatives and non-relatives. It notes that because of high birth rates in the 1950s and an aging population, society could see a significant increase in the numbers of siblings taking care of each other over the next 20-30 years, and they may wish to register their relationships with the state to collect benefits.

To accomplish this re-evaluation, the LCC proposes the government ask itself four questions regarding any law that affects personal adult relationships. Question one asks: “Does the law pursue a legitimate policy objective?” If it does not, “the law ought to be repealed or fundamentally reconsidered.” The second question reads: “If the law’s objectives are sound, do relationships matter? Are the relationships that are included important or relevant to the law’s objectives?” Question three: “If the relationships do matter, could the law allow individuals to choose which of their own close personal relationships they want to be subject to the law?” Finally, the fourth question asks: “If relationships do matter, and public policy requires that the law delineate the relevant relationships to which it applies, can the law be revised to more accurately capture the relevant range of relationships?”

The report is not legally binding, but could be influential in the sense that the commission generates media attention, and its findings are often cited in Supreme Court of Canada decisions.

The LCC was originally established by the Trudeau government in the 1970s, then defunded by the Mulroney government in the 1980s for budgetary reasons, and brought back by the Chretien Liberals.

Noting that “the law is often outdated in its assumptions, its policies and its prescriptions,” the LCC’s self-described “mission” is “to ensure that (the law) is relevant, responsive, effective, equally accessible to all, and just.”

Landolt, on the other hand, argues the LCC is unaccountable to Parliament, staffed with out-of-touch left-wing intellectuals, and has long been a source of Liberal newspeak. In the past it has spoken out in favour of abortion on demand, and lowering the age of consent for homosexual activities from 18 to 14.

“In all the years I’ve been watching the Law Commission of Canada at work, I’ve never seen them advocate anything sensible or rational,” says Landolt. “These people are appointed and well-paid, yet their intellectual context is terribly limited. They want to change the social values of the country, and they give an aura of respectability to the left’s agenda.”