kinds of families, including those with same-sex partners, are capable of fulfilling
Jewish family values."
The Canadian Coalition of Liberal
Rabbis for Same-Sex Marriage
here to buy posters!
Legal Canada - Ontario
words of the living God
The Canadian Coalition of Liberal
from the factum written by:
Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
question of moral right and wrong and the relationship of judgment to religious
decision is a matter of conscience and decision-making. Jewish tradition recognizes
that differences will emerge. An oft-cited Talmudic maxim is 'eilu v'eilu divrei
Elohim chayim,' ' These and those are the words of the living God.'”
of Rabbi Elliot Stevens, paras. 4, 14
a people and a church, we reflexively want to catch hold of God. Like children
snapping the lid on a jar of fireflies, we want to trap God in doctrine, hold
God fast so we may examine God behind the clear glass of tradition. This seems
to be a universal impulse from the beginning of recorded history. But if God is
to be God, the first thing God must do, as Peter found out, is to shatter what
we think we know about God. Because, if God doesn’t, we come to place our trust
in what we know about God — in our doctrines and our traditions themselves — and
not in God."
God not trapped behind tradition, York Daily Record, Mar.
Liberal Coalition is made up of rabbis from across Canada who, as described by
Chief Justice McMurtry, "have been actively involved in the theological discussion
of same-sex unions and who have dealt with the practicial reality of the difficulties
encountered by gay and lesbian congregants in Jewish religious life."
is the Liberal Coalition's position that the religious freedoms and equality reights
of the clergy and congregations it represents are impeded by the continued prohibtion
of same-sex marriage. Another intervenor in the case at bar, the Interfaith
Coalition on Marriage and the Family (the "Interfaith Coalition"),
states that religious Jews in Canada view the prospect of the recognition of same-sex
marriage as "destablizing" to their religious freedoms and are "extremely
concerned about the impact of the redefinition of marriage in a manner inconsistent
with their fundamental religious beliefs." This concern is not shared by
all religious Jews. Judaism is far from monolithic, embracing substantial diversity
in practices and interpretation.|
broad range of views in a secular society
with all other religions, there is a broad range of views and interpretations
within Judaism. There is certainly no single spokesperson for Jewish law ... Contrary
to assertions made by the Interfaith Coalition, Jewish law on the subject of same-sex
unions is subject to change, and contemporary
Jewish leaders speak with a variety of voices on the subject.
Liberal Coalition represents those who view it as a religious duty to correct
the misunderstandings and resulting injustices of the past towards gays and lesbians
... Support of gay and lesbian families helps to strengthen the Jewish family
in its diversity, and allows all community members to participate in the committed
and loving relationships fostered by the Jewish faith.||"The
values that underlie our political and philosophic traditions demand that every
individual be free to hold and to manifest whatever beliefs and opinions his or
her conscience dictates, provided inter alia only that such manifestations
do not injure his or her neighbours or their parallel rights to hold and manifest
beliefs and opinions of their own."|
Dickson, J., R.
v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., (1985)
the Liberal Coalition does not represent a "dissentient" view of Judaism,
as described by the Interfaith Coalition ... Indeed, the Interfaith Coalition's
narrow conception of Judaism does not reflect the
values and beliefs of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the governing
body of the Reform movement (the largest branch of Judaism in the United States,
representing a majority of American Jews, and one of the major branches in Canada).
opposition to equality is unjustified
Interfaith Coalition has submitted that the termination of the common law prohibition
on same-sex marriage will seriously and negatively impact religious communities
across Canada, including the Jewish community. Further, the Interfaith Coalition
suggests that such a change would cause clergy in various religions to withdraw
from the solemnization of marriage altogether, in order to avoid being "required"
to recognize a same-sex marriage or being subject to a human rights challenge
for failing to perform one ... there is no merit in such a submission ... no such
negative impact will be felt; indeed religious freedom is augmented by the inclusion
of same-sex partners within the definition of marriage.
the Liberal Coalition's view, a change in the law regarding same-sex marriage
is not, as the Interfaith Coalition puts it, equivalent to an "attack"
that would fundamentally undermine the values and beliefs of the Jewish commuity.
The Jewish faith has always been capable of accommodating itself to the secular
legal system, even where the law does not accord with Jewish norms. The fact,
for example, that Canadian society permits the sale and consumption of non-kosher
food is not an "attack" on Jewish values, despite the fact that Orthodox
Jewish law contains numerous dietary restrictions; likewise, the fact that Canadian
marriage laws permit marriage between Jews and non-Jews is not an "attack"
on Jewish values, despite the fact that Orthodox Jewish law prohibits such marriages.||"Human
dignity means that an individual or group feels self-respect and self-worth. It
is concerned with physical and psychological integrity and empowerment. Human
dignity is harmed by unfair treatment premised upon personal traits or circumstances
which do not relate to individual needs, capacities, or merits."|
J., Law v. Canada, (1999)
of conscience and religion
common law rule prohibiting same-sex marriage creates a barrier to freedom of
conscience and religion of both Jewish and non-Jewish gays and lesbians, and those
who support their commitments.
it is the Liberal Coaltion's submission that the differential treatment contained
in the impugned rule serves no ameliorative purpose in that it does not improve
the situation of any other group. Writing in the Gosselin case, L'Heureux-Dube,
J. concluded that if a law is to be understood as having an ameliorative purpose,
it "must be for the benefit of a group less advantaged than the one targeted
by the impugned distinction." While the rule prohibiting same-sex marriages
does not improve the lot of the people who do not care to enter into or officiate
at such unions, it certainly discriminates against those who do.|
from the hearings in
Ontario divisional court:
Nov. 5, 2001
Nov. 6, 2001
Nov. 7, 2001
Nov. 8, 2001
Nov. 9, 2001
July 12, 2002
Liberal Coalition supports the Respondents in their request that his Honourable
Court declare as follows:
the common law prohibition of same-sex marriage infringes the section 2(a) right
to freedom of religion;
the common law prohibition of same-sex marriage infringes section 15(1) equality
rights on the grounds of religion and sexual orientation; and
the common law rule restricting marriage to heterosexual couples be reformulated
to permit marriage between two persons regardless of the sex of those persons.