AMERICA/CANADA - Bill C-38 to redefine marriage, recognising same-sex unions as marriages will divide the country, change the nature of marriage, have harmful effect on children and endanger freedom of conscience and religion: Catholic Bishops present Brief to Canadian Senate

Wednesday, 20 July 2005

Ottawa (Fides Service) - With regard to Bill C-38 to redefine marriage, recognising same-sex unions as marriages on July 13 two witnesses representing the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec and Primate of the Catholic Church in Canada, and Ms. Hélène Aubé, a lawyer and mother from Gatineau, presented a brief in front of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs to defend traditional definition of marriage as the exclusive union of a man and a woman.
The Brief presents reasons for defending marriage and rejecting Bill -38 which is a threat to marriage and will have unforeseeable negative consequences on Canadian society and says the move to redefine marriage is “based on a false understanding of the fundamental equality between persons, on an erroneous understanding of human dignity, on a spurious understanding of minority rights, on a faulty interpretation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and on a truncated understanding of freedom of religion. The law will have harmful effects on children and is a threat for freedom of conscience and religion .
The Bishops call attention to the fact that the law aims to change the nature of marriage and will have largely unforeseeable but assuredly negative consequences for Canadian society and it also threatens “The future of marriage as a fundamental social institution is also being challenged, as well as the importance for society of the irreplaceable role of a husband and wife in conceiving and raising children. Their union guarantees a stable environment for family life, continuity between generations and parental models involving a father and a mother.”. The redefinition proposed in Bill C-38 does not promote the evolution of marriage, but instead breaks irrevocably both with human history as well as with the meaning and very nature of marriage. We have no illusions: it implies a distortion of the natural institution of marriage”.
Furthermore, the argument of those promoting homosexual “marriage” in favour of equal rights is also based on a false notion of respect for human dignity. “The equality and dignity of persons do not depend on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or marital status. Their dignity and equality are based on the simple fact that they are members of the human race.”. The Bishops recall that “Laws are established to ensure respect for the social order. But a social order is valid only if it respects the order inscribed in human nature itself. When laws contradict this natural order, they become unjust and are liable to provoke division and dissension. The result is social disorder.”.
“We are also most concerned by the foreseeable impact of a redefinition of marriage on Canada’s most vulnerable citizens — its children” the Bishops say. “Issuing from the union of a man and a woman, children need a father and a mother; they have the right to know their biological parents and to be educated by them. We are only too aware of the suffering of those who are deprived of this possibility. Why then deliberately create other situations that are contrary to the well-being of children who need the double figure of a man and a woman, who represent for them the different, complementary roles that are crucial for their growth process and the structuring of their personalities?”.
“Furthermore, the educational impact of laws on attitudes is undeniable. If Canadian law must henceforth teach that marriage is the union of two persons, a majority of Canadians face the risk of a serious threat to their freedom of conscience, religion and expression through the imposition of an “orthodoxy” that is contrary to their values. The State must protect the primary right to freedom of religion not only for members of the clergy but also for the population as a whole. It must ensure that the rights and justice toward homosexuals and same-sex unions be respected, but without relinquishing to cultural movements that threaten the fundamental values of marriage and the family.” (RZ) (Agenzia Fides 20/7/2005 - Righe 45, Parole 635)