The United Church will intervene on behalf of equal marriage at the Supreme Court of Canada

 

 

 

 

 

Same-sex marriage and the seperation of church and state.

 

 

"The extension of marriage to same-sex couples recognizes same-sex relationships as no less deserving of societal recognition, dignity and respect than opposite-sex relationships. The United Church can put a human face on the equality aspect of the arguments before the court and on the impact on families of not recognizing the human dignity of same-sex couples and their families."

 

 

A database of clergy in support of same-sex marriage has been developed  by us, on behalf of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto for Canadians for Equal Marriage

 

 

"We do not believe that the faith stance of a congregation that supports equal marriage undermines the religious freedom of a congregation that does not. This is a unique perspective in the country. The United Church will argue that civil recognition of equal marriage can co-exist with religious freedom in much the same way as civil recognition of a person's right to marry after divorce currently co-exists with the right of religious officials to refuse to marry divorced persons."

 

 

Biblical Marriage - Why the Bible is a bad source for the same-sex marriage debate.

 

 

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Ten reasons why Christians should support same-sex marriage.

 

 

 

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Equality - In Our Faiths

April 23, 2004

United Church to appear in Supreme Court
Largest Protestant denomination supports equality

"Christian morality and religious principles require that same-sex couples have access to the same marriage rights as opposite-sex couples ... The United Church has embraced the challenges that have arisen from issues of sexual orientation over the last twenty years, and can bear witness that issues of sexual orientation can be resolved in a context of respect for different positions, with integrity, and can lead to principled decisions being made that are based on a commitment to justice and law for all. The United Church believes that such decisions result in a more inclusive community, where healing of past divisions can occur, and where the total community becomes healthier and more enriched."
United Church motion to intervene in the Oct. 2004 Supreme Court of Canada hearing on same-sex marriage legislation.


In its motion requesting the right to intervene in the Supreme Court of Canada hearing on same-sex marriage, The United Church of Canada has outlined the following positions on each of the four questions before the court.

Question 1: Is the Proposal for an Act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes within the exclusive legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada?

Yes. The legislation is within the exclusive authority of the Parliament of Canada under Section 91(26) of the Constitution Act, 1867. The term "marriage" as used in Save 86% on Time magazines.91(26) was not "frozen in time" as of 1867 but, rather, must adapt to changing circumstances.

Question 2: If the answer to question 1 is yes, is section 1 of the proposal, which extends capacity to marry to persons of the same sex, consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

Yes. Extending the right to marry to same-sex couples is consistent with the equality rights enshrined in s.15 of the Charter. The extension of marriage to same-sex couples recognizes same-sex relationships as no less deserving of societal recognition, dignity and respect than opposite-sex relationships. The United Church can put a human face on the equality aspect of the arguments before the court and on the impact on families of not recognizing the human dignity of same-sex couples and their families. As a community of faith reflecting a broad breadth of Canadian society, the United Church is aware of the wide range of theories and practices regarding marriage. Theologically and liturgically, the United Church understands both opposite-sex and same-sex couples as enjoying the same rights and responsibilities because all share the same human dignity of being made in the image of God. The United Church will make submissions regarding the impact that denial of the right to marry has on same-sex couples and families, and will argue that extending the capacity to marry to same-sex couples would send a positive message to all Canadians that, regardless of the sex of the person one loves, that love will be valued, honoured, and affirmed.

Question 3: Does the freedom of religion guaranteed by paragraph 2(a) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protect religious officials from being compelled to perform a marriage between two persons of the same sex that is contrary to their religious beliefs?

Yes. The right to religious freedom guaranteed by section 2(a) of the Charter does not permit legislation that would The Best Deals on Faith and Religion Magazinescompel religious officials to perform marriages that do not conform to their religious beliefs. The United Church itself recognizes that the decision whether to perform same-sex marriages must be made on a congregation-by-congregation basis within the Church. The United Church also believes that accommodation of these competing rights can co-exist within the framework of Canadian society. The United Church is also in a truly unique position to speak to the issue of religious freedom. As a community of faith, the United Church's polity acknowledges the religious freedom of congregations to determine their own practices regarding equal marriage, providing for the conscientious objection of those who do not wish to pursue this option at this time. We do not believe that the faith stance of a congregation that supports equal marriage undermines the religious freedom of a congregation that does not. This is a unique perspective in the country. The United Church will argue that civil recognition of equal marriage can co-exist with religious freedom in much the same way as civil recognition of a person's right to marry after divorce currently co-exists with the right of religious officials to refuse to marry divorced persons.

Question 4: Is the opposite-sex requirement for marriage for civil purposes, as established by the common law and set out for Quebec in s. 5 of the Federal Law - Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1, consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? If not, in what particulars and to what extent?

No. The opposite-sex requirement for civil marriage discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation contrary to section 15 of the Charter. Only the extension of full civil marriage to same-sex couples will remedy this breach. Any different or separate form of recognition of same-sex relationships would send the message that same-sex relationships are somehow less worthy than opposite-sex relationships and would debase and demean the inherent dignity of the individual that is the basis of the equality guarantee of the Charter. Moreover, dual systems of relationship recognition predicated on sexual orientation could provide the basis for more intense, focused and targeted group discrimination.

The above was released today by the United Church of Canada through Canada News Wire.


What you can do

  • Write to, or phone, Canada's Prime Minister and Justice Minister, and Members of Parliament in support of equal marriage.
  • Write to homophobic leaders of faith communities in your area, denouncing faith-based bigotry.
  • If your faith community is homophobic, withhold your financial support. Instead of dropping money in the collection plate, leave a note explaining your position.
  • Support gay-positive organizations and faith communities.

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