Troubled by Same Sex Marriage?
Then speak up and contact your local MP
A Shepherd Speaks
By Bishop Fred Henry
Catholic Reporter, January 17, 2005
Many assume that we are powerless, the Charter of Rights
and Freedoms has been invoked and the Supreme Court has spoken and settled the
same-sex issue. However, such an assumption is erroneous. The Supreme Court
has said Parliament may redefine marriage; it has not said that it must
redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. The Supreme Court Justices talk
about reading the Constitution “expansively” and it is like a “living
tree which, by way of progressive interpretation, accommodates and addresses
the realities of modern life.”
Nevertheless, I would suggest that there are more roots
to the tree than simply the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. There are also
historical, cultural, philosophical, moral, and anthropological roots. The
failure to attend to the health of all the roots runs the risk of killing the
tree and destroying the public good.
Contrary to what is normally alleged, the primary goals
in seeking legalization of same-sex “marriage” are not financial or health
benefits associated with marriage; nor are the goals the search for stability
and exclusivity in a homosexual relationship. The principal objective in
seeking same-sex “marriage” is not really even about rights. The goal is
to acquire a powerful psychological weapon to change society’s rejection of
homosexual activity and lifestyle into gradual, even if reluctant, acceptance.
It is significant to note that 18 months after same-sex
marriage arrived in Canada (principally as a result of court decisions in
Ontario and British Columbia) some 95 per cent of adult Canadian gays have
chosen to ignore their new legal right.
The Supreme Court also refused to answer whether the
charter requires that marriage be redefined.
The majority of Canadians understand marriage to be the
union of a man and a woman, faithful in love and open to the gift of life.
Marriage and the family are the foundations of society, through which children
are brought into this world and nurtured as they grow to adulthood. As such,
the family is a more fundamental social institution than the state, and the
strength of the family is vital for the well-being of our whole society.
Since homosexuality, adultery, prostitution and
pornography undermine the foundations of the family, the basis of society,
then the state must use its coercive power to proscribe or curtail them in the
interests of the common good.
It is sometimes argued that what we do in the privacy of
our home is nobody’ s business. While the privacy of the home is undoubtedly
sacred, it is not absolute. Furthermore, an evil act remains an evil act
whether it is performed in public or private.
Personal choice is exercised both in opting for the
marital state and in the choice of one’s spouse. However, the future spouses
are not free to alter marriage’s essential purpose or properties. These do
not depend on the will or the sexual orientation of the contracting parties.
They are rooted in natural law and do not change.
The committed union of two people of the same sex is not
the same human reality as the committed union of one man and one woman.
A same-sex union is not a physical union that transmits
human life, producing children.
A same-sex union is not the joining of two complementary
natures that complete each other.
Simply stated, a same sex union is not marriage. The idea
that homosexuals can create same sex “marriage” through their individual
choice is false. All the packaging in the world doesn’t alter substance.
Some would allege that opposing same-sex “marriage”
is pure prejudice. This contention is also false. There are human rights laws,
which say: men and women must be paid the same wage for the same work; an
employer may not refuse to hire someone because of skin colour; landlords may
not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
These decisions uphold the rights of the individual and,
at the same time, strengthen Canadian society. They encourage us to recognize
the humanity of the other person.
Furthermore, a man and a woman wanting to marry may be
completely different in their characteristics such as: colour, ethnicity, in
wealth and social status, physical attributes, and educational background.
None of these differences are insurmountable obstacles to marriage. The two
individuals are still a man and a woman, and the requirements of nature are
Two individuals of the same sex,
regardless of their race, wealth, stature, erudition or fame, will never be
able to marry because of an insurmountable biological impossibility.
The denial of the social and legal status of marriage to
same-sex couples is not discrimination. It is not something opposed to
justice; on the contrary, justice requires such an opposition.
It is the right and the responsibility of all citizens
who are troubled by the proposal to reinvent the institution of marriage, to
enter into the debate and, with clarity and charity, to make their voices
heard by their fellow citizens and our political leaders.
If you object to the proposal to reinvent the institution
of marriage, please write, email and/or fax government leaders and your local
member of Parliament to register your objection.
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