Last edited: February 16, 2005

Troubled by Same Sex Marriage?

Then speak up and contact your local MP

A Shepherd Speaks
By Bishop Fred Henry

Western 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.

Hidden agenda

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.

Fundamental difference

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.

Nature’s law

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 respected.

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.

[Home] [Editorials] [Canada]