Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 16, 2005
Speak out against same-sex marriage
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Catholics are being urged to hold members of Parliament accountable in the next election for their stance on same-sex marriage.
Catholic bishops and the Catholic Civil Rights League urge Catholics to voice their concerns to a special legislative committee now that Bill C-38 has passed second reading.
Bloc Quebecois, New Democratic and Liberal members of that committee have indicated they would like to get the bill through committee as soon as possible, even suggesting compressing hearings into four hours a day, so the bill would zip through the committee stage in two weeks.
"I would think Paul Martin would have something to answer to if this bill doesn't get a full fair vetting," said Conservative committee member MP Rob Moore (Fundy Royal), who is a member of the steering committee working on the parameters for the hearings.
Moore says the Tories want the committee to travel and hear from a wide range of groups and individuals.
Bill C-38 went to the committee after passing second reading in the House of Commons May 4 by a vote of 164 to 137.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed concern and disappointment after the vote.
"In proposing to redefine the nature of marriage, Bill C-38 if approved would mean that society and the state no longer support the unique partnership of a man and a woman in marriage, and no longer recognize the importance of the committed relationship of a mother and father for future generations of children," said CCCB President Archbishop Brendan O'Brien.
The CCCB president pointed out that the bill was able to pass second reading because the Liberals forced cabinet ministers to support the bill, and the New Democratic Party forced all members to do so.
"The failure of political parties to respect freedom of conscience and religion is an ominous sign for the future," O'Brien said.
The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) warned backroom dealings may result in the legislative committee's not giving the bill a full and fair hearing. "A particular disappointment is that roughly three quarters of Catholic MPs voted in favour of this legislation," said CCRL President Phil Horgan.
"We are encouraged that support for the bill was far from unanimous, that there was an increase in opposition since the April 12 vote on the CPC amendment, and that others chose to abstain rather than vote against their party.
The Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops (OCCB) suggested renewals of marriage vows, blessings of married couples, prayers for successful marriages at Masses, homilies on marriage and the family.
"The failure of political parties to respect freedom of conscience and religion is an ominous sign for the future."
- Archbishop Brendan O'Brien
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