.- The redefinition of marriage in Canada to include homosexual couples has reduced marriage to “a mere sexual relationship,” says Fr. Raymond de Souza in a column published in the National Post yesterday. The chaplain at Newman House at Queen’s University in Kingston is a regular contributor to the national paper. Civil marriage in Canada at this point “is simply the conferring of legal recognition and benefits upon a conjugal relationship, with no reference in principle to permanence, progeny or public benefit,” he writes.
And he attributes this to the liberalization of divorce laws in Canada in 1967 with then-justice minister Pierre Trudeau’s Omnibus Bill.
The Omnibus Bill made divorce easier, he explains. This eventually led to no-fault divorce, “which renders marriage the only contract unilaterally breakable by either party, at any time, for any reason,” he says. Soon after common-law marriages were legislated, granting marital benefits without the marital commitment.
“When civil marriage is thus stripped of its permanence and its commitment, what is left to distinguish a married relationship from any friendship? Sex,” Fr. de Souza states. “Hetero or homo, it doesn't matter. Ergo, same-sex marriage.”
Fr. de Souza challenges the argument that had been proposed during the national debate that homosexual marriage would encourage monogamy and stability within the homosexual community and have the same “civilizing effects” on homosexuals that it has had on heterosexuals.
“It was an incongruous argument because we have been, post-1967, busily undermining all that makes marriage stable and monogamous,” the priest writes.
Fr. de Souza then suggests that marriage and divorce laws in Canada should be modified to include and favor these “the civilizing effects” by insisting on the aspect of “permanence” in marriage.
“Now that homosexuals have the ability to contract civil marriage, and no vestige of ‘discrimination’ holds, why shouldn't the government insist that marital benefits require marital promises?” he asks.
He suggests that divorce not be based on the unilateral decision of one spouse. Marriages, he suggests, should not be broken “unless the terms of the (civil) marriage contract have themselves been broke, or that the parties mutually agree to break the contract.”
“Why shouldn't marital contracts be at least as strong as, say, the contract to renovate the kitchen, where one party cannot unilaterally break it?”
He notes that these reforms are not on the political agenda, but says they should have the support of people on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate.
If the support is not there, he says, “it will be clear that the same-sex marriage debate had little to do with marriage, and everything to do with state-sanctioned homosexual sex.”