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Canada Goes Ahead with Same-Sex Marriage Bill despite Christian Protest

Canada Goes Ahead with Same-Sex Marriage Bill despite Christian Protest

May 6, 2005

On the evening of the 4th May, the Canadian parliament approved the same-sex marriage Bill C-38 proposed by the Liberal government in the second reading by a vote of 164-137. The result has come just a few days after a massive multi-faith rally against gay marriage on Sunday. It is expected to spark a huge dispute among pro-family groups and conservative Christians.

Over the past few months, the proposed same-sex marriage Bill has provoked heated debate in Canada. A liberal and open stance towards homosexuality and related issues has been observed. The Diocese of New Westminster of the Anglican Church of Canada even has allowed the blessing of same-sex unions which have caused a massive division within the Anglican Communion worldwide.

Even though the wrestling between the opposite sides of the argument is very strong, a Catholic Bishop Frederick Henry is standing firm on comments he made in a January pastoral letter denouncing homosexuality and calling for "coercive" government action to stop it.

In the January Pastoral letter, the bishop said, "Since homosexuality, adultery, prostitution and pornography undermine the foundations of the family, the basis of society, then the State must use its coercive power to proscribe or curtail them in the interests of the common good."

On Sunday 2nd May, various religious groups including Christians, Muslims and Hindus united together in a rally to oppose same-sex marriage and urge people to stand up for heterosexual unions.

Calgary Bishop Frederick Henry told the crowd, "The time has come for the government of Canada to use its coercive power to legislate that a couple being married must be a man and a woman."

"This is not a fascist statement ... this is not anti-homosexual, but it is the Christian teaching on the primordial status of marriage and family life." His declaration seemed to point to the recent complaints from the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC) which said his speech might bring "hatred or contempt" against homosexuals.

As soon as the second reading of the same-sex marriage Bill C-38 had passed the second reading, it automatically went to a special committee for review. However, many are worried that it is already too late to stop the legislation because the review committee is made of a majority of MPs who strongly support same-sex marriage.

It is expected that the committee will try to significantly limit public submissions and attempt to conclude its proceedings as quickly as possible to allow the bill to receive its third and final reading vote.

Two weeks ago, the federal Government House leader Tony Valeri said his government hopes to get Bill C-38 through the committee stage and into final passage by 23rd June.


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