Ottawa, Canada, May 5, 2004 / 22:00 pm
A bill that religious groups fear could brand the Bible as hate literature and silence religious expression was passed by the Canadian government last week.
The Canadian Senate passed Bill C-250 April 28 by a vote of 59-11. The passage of the bill added homosexuals to the list of groups protected under Canada’s Criminal code. The bill extends hate-crime protections to homosexuals by including “sexual orientation” among the identifiable groups, which before only included groups that were distinguished by race, color, religion, or ethnic origin.
The bill was passed despite opposition expressed by several religious and family groups, including the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Civil Rights League, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Focus on the Family and the Canada Family Action Coalition.
In addition, thousands of Canadians attended a full-day rally on Parliament Hill on April 17 to express their opposition to the bill.