The following statement was issued by Ontario’s 20 Catholic Bishops on October 1, 1986.
The Catholic Bishops of Ontario gathered in plenary session in Toronto (September 29-October 1) are opposed to the present form of omnibus Bill 7 now before the Provincial Legislature.
Much in this Bill is good and quite acceptable. However, section 18, nos. 105, to amend the Human Rights Code of Ontario prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of a person’s sexual orientation is unacceptable.
The Bishops support basic human rights for all members of society including those with a homosexual orientation. However, the Church and the Judeo-Christian traditional carefully distinguish between homosexual orientation and homosexual behaviour. For the Church, a homosexual behaviour or life-style is contrary to Christian morality, and any law that leaves the door open to such a life-style will cause great harm to society.
Bill 7 does not make this crucial distinction. Indeed, the very ambiguity of the phrase “sexual orientation” lends itself to totally unacceptable applications.
We believe that Bill 7 in its present form will have the social impact of promoting the recognition of homosexual unions as marriages and also seriously restrict the freedom of churches, government, societies, businesses and school’s to set criteria of conduct for their employees.
The demand for social support for homosexual couples has already surfaced in Toronto (see: Globe and Mail, September 30, 1986 – p.A15: “Family benefits should be offered to homosexual employees, City told”).
Bill 7, if passed as it is, will erode the status of normal families by equating their legal status with that of homosexual unions.
And we deplore the attempt to pass Bill 7 without that widespread consultation and discussion which will permit the citizens of Ontario to express their will concerning it.
Therefore, we urgently request the government to postpone any action on Bill 7 until such consultation has taken place. Moreover, we ask our fellow citizens to write or telephone at once their respective MPPs in order to register their deep dissatisfaction and displeasure.