OTTAWA, Dec. 7, 2006 – The Catholic Civil Rights League commented on the results of today’s vote on introducing legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage. MPs voted 175 to 123 against a government motion to introduce legislation restoring the traditional definition of marriage.
“The issue remains an important one, and one that will continue to emerge in many contexts,” said League President Phil Horgan. “Even though much of the civil rights damage done by re-defining marriage is likely to remain with us, a vote to restore the traditional definition as a matter of law would have lessened much of this impact, and helped support the needs of children for a stable home environment and upbringing by their father and mother.
How the motion was worded:
“That this House call on the government to introduce legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage without affecting civil unions and while respecting existing same-sex marriages.”
The civil rights damage done by the present legislation includes intrusions into the public school system, where homosexual relationships must be given equal recognition with heterosexual marriage regardless of parental views; challenges to marriage commissioners who wish to decline to solemnize same sex ceremonies; challenges to business owners and managers who on religious or conscientious grounds do not wish their property to be used for the solemnization or celebration of same sex ceremonies; the use of mandatory union dues to promote same sex rights. The League has provided assistance to people facing all these situations and will continue to do so.
“Perhaps even more serious,” noted Mr. Horgan, “is the marginalizing effect the so-called ‘gay rights agenda’ has had on people and institutions who disagree with it. Church representatives, including Bishop Henry of Calgary, have been told to tone down their statements or risk losing their charitable status. Individuals such as B.C. teacher Chris Kempling and Saskatchewan’s Hugh Owens have been penalized by human rights tribunals and courts for publishing their views; Dr. Kempling also suffered professional damage. We may not agree with every statement made in opposition to same sex marriage, but the right to non-violent expression should never have been in question. Even when it’s no more than bad manners on the surface, such as when Margaret Somerville was booed at Ryerson’s convocation last spring, there’s no question that powerful signals are being sent that belittle ‘ the opposition’.
“The League will continue to express its support for traditional marriage in our work with Parliament, courts and the media, and we will continue to help those who find themselves penalized for the peaceful expression views on marriage that were considered mainstream until only a decade ago, and that continue to be the norm in most of the Western world.”
The Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) 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 and has chapters across Canada. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information: Joanne McGarry, 416-466-8244