TORONTO, May 5, 2005 – The Catholic Civil Rights League ( today said that last night’s second reading vote on Bill C-38, which passed 164 to 137, was predictable and disappointing, but not without encouraging signs.

Having passed second reading, the Bill, which would re-define marriage at the federal level as the union of two persons, will now go to a special committee for public hearings. Previous suggestions by this government of wide consultation with Canadians through these committee hearings may be shelved in favour of other back room deals.  The CCRL remains hopeful that the bill will die on the order paper when the widely expected election is called.

“A particular disappointment is that roughly three quarters of Catholic MPs voted in favour of this legislation.  We now have an accurate record of MPs, regardless of religious or party affiliation, who need to be replaced in the next election by Canadians who treat this issue as a primary concern,” said Phil Horgan, president of CCRL. “We are encouraged that support for the bill was far from unanimous, that there was an increase in opposition since the April 12 vote on the CPC amendment, and that others chose to abstain rather than vote against their party.  However, the real option to pro-marriage Canadians lies in the upcoming federal election.”

CCRL is a member of the Defend Marriage Coalition ( CCRL has pursued other initiatives of particular interest to Catholics during the marriage campaign. In the wake of the death of Pope John Paul II and the subsequent election of Pope Benedict XVI, the league reminded Catholic MPs of the 2003 statement issued by then Cardinal Ratzinger of their obligations as Catholic legislators. That statement was emphatic on how Catholic legislators should respond, and even discussed the option of abstention on votes where their political parties were at odds with Church teachings.

We provide a link to the voting results from last evening, to allow our members to take the appropriate action in their local districts.

“All indications are that Canadians will soon have another chance to let their voices be heard,” said Mr. Horgan. “Events of the past few months prove that there are pro-marriage MPs in all parties. We encourage our members and supporters to do what they can to return more pro-marriage MPs in the next Parliament.”

About CCRL

Catholic Civil Rights League ( assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.

For further information: Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244;