Gay activists pledge churches have nothing to worry about,
but pro-family leaders are leery
Religious and pro-family organizations are defending traditional marriage before the House of Commons Justice Committee, which is acting on Justice Minister Martin Cauchon’s request to consider options in adressing how the federal government should recognize same-sex relationships.
The committee has been forced to examine the issue after the Ontario Superior Court ordered Parliament to rectify what it considered an unconstitutional form of discrimination by not allowing homosexuals to marry. Cauchon has indicated he is open to a redefinition of marriage to include homosexual couples.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and REAL Women of Canada all addressed the committee, as well as concerned pro-family citizens. Focus on the Family Canada is scheduled to address the committee later this month.
Bruce Clemenger, director of the EFC’s Centre for Faith and Public Life, said, “Marriage is not simply what a man and woman do, it is an institution that provides an enduring and exclusive sexual bonding of male and female that has the capacity to procreate and provides the biological tie between children and parents.”
Clemenger added that, “The difference and uniqueness of marriage should be recognized in law and public policy.”
Archbishop André Gaumond of Sherbrooke presented a brief in the name of Canada’s bishops, saying, “Married couples perform a role within society which is of service to all and distinct from all other forms of human relationships. We strongly urge you to maintain this distinction for the good of all Canadians.”
Homosexual activists say that they should be allowed to marry on libertarian grounds. They say the state should not favour one form of consensual relationship over another but churches, if they oppose homosexual “marriage,” will not be forced to accept them.
Appearing before the committee were John Fisher, of Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere, and Keith Norton, a homosexual activist and chairman of the supposedly neutral Ontario Human Rights Commission, who provided not very reassuring assurances that churches will not be forced to bend to a possible new definition of marriage.
When asked by MP Monte Solberg (CA-Medicine Hat), “Can I have your personal guarantee that you will not oppose the rights of religious institutions?” both Fisher and Norton responded that churches would have nothing to fear.
“The rules set by particular faiths are protected by freedom of religion,” said Fisher. “It would still be discrimination, but it would be lawful,” said Norton.
But just last year, both supported a homosexual student in his fight against a religious school when Marc Hall, a 17-year-old male student at an Oshawa, Ont., Catholic school, sued for the right to bring his same-sex date to the school prom.
EGALE backed the case and Norton took the unusual step of commenting on a case before the courts, saying that Hall would win a human rights challenge if it was brought before his commission.
Norton told the Toronto Sun it “might be difficult” for faith-based schools to argue religious freedom as a reason to discriminate against someone simply because they’re openly gay: “An individual may well be able to invoke the protection of the human rights legislation.”
Meanwhile, gay activists are attempting to direct the course of the hearings by limiting the input of pro-family witnesses.
Homosexual MP Svend Robinson (NDP, Burnaby-Douglas) is equating any disagreement with the gay agenda as hateful, in an attempt to censure such views.
“The hearings have too often been steeped in an atmosphere that is abusive, hateful and full of, in a number instances, really disturbing allegations about gay and lesbian people,” the Globe and Mail reported him saying.
Robinson called upon the committee to “take action” against the “hatred spewed” by those who oppose same-sex “marriage.” Robinson was offended that Rita Curley said “the family is under attack” by homosexuals who practise a sexual dysfunction comparable to bestiality or pedophilia. Curley said reproduction is an essential part of marriage: “To take away any part of marriage is to take away marriage.”