In May of this year, the Justice Committee of the Ontario Legislature recommended placing “sexual orientation” under the Ontario Human Rights Act. The proposal is buried in an omnibus bill with a variety of proposed changes to Ontario Legislation in order to bring these laws in harmony with the 1981 Charter of Rights.
A copy of the letter from the president of the Catholic Bishops of Ontario to Premier Peterson was forwarded to The Interim.
Dear Mr. Premier:
It has come to our attention that the Justice Committee of the Legislature is recommending that “sexual orientation” be included in the Ontario Human Rights Code.
The Catholic Church can in no way agree to such an inclusion that would recognize in law homosexual activity as perfectly normal and acceptable. No matter how good its intentions, the Justice Committee is supporting a change in law that is definitely at odds with the constant Judeo-Christian moral teaching and runs counter to the common good.
A few years ago this same issue was discussed by a legislative committee. At that time, the Executive Committee of the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops submitted a short statement that clearly defines the Church’s position on homosexuality as a moral and social issue. I shall include it here and I would ask you to read it, Mr. Premier, so that you may understand our vigorous opposition as a Church to the inclusion of the term “sexual orientation” in the proposed omnibus bill. We reiterate that the moral issue is also linked with the common good and the rights of the majority.
As you know, this same issue of homosexual rights and protections is being studies by the Federal Government. The Bishops of Canada, through their president Bishop Bernard Hubert of Saint-Jean, Quebec, have expressed in the enclosed letter both the gravity of the issue and the need to defer any pertinent legislation to the fore.
I cannot be more emphatic, Mr. Premier, in asking you to forestall at this time such a proposal by the Justice Committee. I am raising the issue on behalf of all the Bishops of Ontario. We trust that you will be able to respond to our pressing concerns.
John A. O’Mara
Bishop of Thunder Bay
President, Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops