TORONTO, Sept. 8, 2004 – Catholic Civil Rights League today launched an online petition at in its ongoing campaign to support the traditional definition of marriage and uphold religious freedom.

“We want to make it as simple as possible for Canadians to express their support for the one-man-one woman definition of marriage that our society is built on,” commented Philip Horgan, vice president of CCRL. “We will forward their views to the minister of justice.”

The online petition extends CCRL’s defense of marriage campaign, which got a major boost last spring with our support of a post card initiative that saw 75,000 persons write to Prime Minister Martin in defense of the traditional definition of marriage. The campaign was organized by Senator Ann Cools. More than one third of these messages were generated by CCRL. Senator Cools’ office received several thousand more postcards after the original presentation to Mr. Martin June 21.

This fall the Supreme Court of Canada is expected to rule on a reference from the federal government seeking its opinion on draft legislation redefining marriage as the union of two persons. The reference questions include whether the traditional definition of marriage infringes on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and whether the provision that clergy would not be forced to perform same sex marriages is compatible with the charter.

Justice Minister Irwin Cotler told delegates to the Canadian Bar Association’s annual meeting in Winnipeg in August that the federal government will not oppose gays and lesbians in court battles for the right to marry. Prior to that, government lawyers had asked for adjournments pending the Supreme Court’s decision.

“The federal government clearly supports same sex marriage,” notes Mr. Horgan. “There isn’t much time remaining for Canadians who oppose this change to make their views known.”

Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and the Yukon now permit same-sex marriage. Three couples are currently challenging Nova Scotia Supreme Court to grant marriage licenses to gays and lesbians.

Prime Minister Paul Martin recently appointed Justice Rosalie Abella and Justice Louise Charron, (see CCRL press release) both known to support same sex marriage, to the Supreme Court of Canada.

In addition to the CCRL petition, Canadians are urged to contact their own Members of Parliament to express their views.
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