Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 6, 2006
Poll shows most Canadians want religious freedom protected
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
A new poll indicates that Canadians want Parliament to ensure religious freedoms are protected following legislation redefining marriage to include same-sex couples.
According to a COMPAS survey commissioned by the Institute for Canadian Values, 64 per cent of Canadians said Parliament should review existing legislation to ensure the protection of religious freedom, vs. 24 per cent opposed.
Among women, support for a review was slightly higher at 67 per cent vs. 21 per cent opposed.
Though francophone support was slightly lower, a solid majority of 59 per cent support a review vs. 25 per cent opposed.
"Canadians of all backgrounds cherish freedom of religion," said the institute's executive director Joseph Ben-Ami in an Oct. 30 news release.
"They are concerned with the impact that same-sex marriage legislation is having on religious freedom, and they - quite sensibly - want Parliament to act to protect it."
The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) cited the study in a news release urging MPs to reopen the marriage issue when a vote is held later this fall in Parliament.
"These results show that Canadians want real assurance that freedom of religion is upheld, not only in the application of marriage legislation, but (also) in the numerous other issues that have arisen in freedom of speech and freedom of association," said League President Phil Horgan.
Important free vote
"We hope all MPs will recognize the upcoming free vote in Parliament on re-visiting the legislation as an ideal opportunity to create a forum for studying how religious freedom has been impacted by same sex 'marriage,' and take appropriate measures to strengthen religious freedom."
The poll, conducted Oct. 18-27, showed 57 per cent of Canadians favour the rights of marriage commissioners to refuse to officiate at same-sex marriages (vs. 37 per cent opposed); 68 per cent favour the rights of teachers to express opposition to same-sex marriage by writing letters to the their local newspapers (vs. 28 per cent); and 61 per cent support the right of business owners to refuse to do business that promotes same-sex relationships in violation of their religious convictions (vs. 33 per cent opposed).
"These examples are significant in that they represent cases where the courts and human rights bodies have actually ruled against religious rights," said Ben-Ami.
"In view of this, no one can have confidence that the judiciary alone will be able to protect religious freedom - that's why Parliament must act."
The entire study is posted at www.canadianvalues.ca.