Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 20, 2006
Ask Canadians what they think about same-sex marriage
In U.S., voters in 27 states have stood for traditional marriage
A Shepherd Speaks
By BISHOP FRED HENRY
Prohibiting same-sex marriage is
By their pledge of lifelong fidelity, they provide the most stable conditions for bringing children into the world and raising them. By their sexual difference, they provide their children the full range of human nurturing that comes by being raised by a mother and a father.
The stable, loving relationship of a mother and father found only in marriage provides the ideal conditions for raising and socializing children.
Quite understandingly, however, those conditions do not always exist. Many single parents do an exemplary job of raising children and deserve recognition for the extraordinary sacrifices they make in their daily lives. Supporting such families, as a just and compassionate society must do, is far different than deliberately creating motherless and fatherless families by establishing same sex unions.
Marriage as the life long union of a man and a woman is not one model among many options of equal public significance. It is rather the very building block of the family and society.
On Nov. 8, our neighbours in Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin all approved bans on homosexual marriage. For example, in Virginia, the marriage amendment reads as follows:
"That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this commonwealth and its political subdivisions.
"This commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effects of marriage.
"Nor shall this commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."
The amendment in no way precludes individuals from being designated in wills, powers of attorney or advance medical directives.
The amendment does not affect hospital visitations. The amendment does not change benefits. A company's provision of health benefits to non-employees need not be limited to relationships that fit Virginia's definition of marriage.
To date, the electorate in 27 states have approved such bans. In addition to those mentioned above, the following states have approved the measure: Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Nebraska, Missouri, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama.
Prohibiting same-sex marriage is not unjust discrimination. Most Canadians agree that homosexual persons must be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity because all human beings are equal in their intrinsic dignity. It is wrong to discriminate against persons, but it is right and necessary to distinguish between different kinds of relationships.
It should be noted that our government already does this. For example, in the case of marriage, federal legislation prohibits people from marrying if they are related linearly or as brother and sister, whether by whole blood, half blood or by adoption. Specifically: a woman may not marry her grandfather, father, grandson, son or brother. A man may not marry his grandmother, mother, granddaughter, daughter or sister.
Such prohibitions, however, are not viewed as unjust discrimination against relatives, married people or children.
It's time to ask Canadians what they think. Ask the people, Stephen!
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