Canadian bishops request to intervene in Supreme Court on same-sex marriage law

Canada’s Catholic bishops have asked the Supreme Court for permission to intervene in the case that could legalize same-sex marriage, reported Canadian Catholic News.

Last July, the Canadian government drafted legislation to legalize same-sex marriage across Canada and submitted it to the Supreme Court for judicial review. The court’s decision on the constitutionality of the draft legislation is not expected until late next year.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) says the government’s bill “breeches freedom of conscience and religion” and that the proposed definition of marriage is not constitutional.

The proposed bill, introduced by Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, is not intended to affect the “freedom of officials of religious groups to refuse to perform marriages that are not in accordance with their religious beliefs,” he said.

However, “the CCCB argued in its motion Nov. 26 that the proposed legislation would establish a social and moral order that would threaten freedom of conscience and religion,” said Canadian Catholic News.

“If Canadian law would compel that intimate sexual relations at the core of same-sex unions be shown the same public respect and approval as sexual relations at the core of heterosexual marriages, a risk is created that those who believe and publicly support the premise that homosexual conduct is immoral, could be considered anti-gay, homophobic, intolerant and no better than racists,” the bishops said in their motion. “It adds legitimacy to the charge – which is also being made – that those who teach or espouse these views are hate-mongers,” they added.

The CCCB application argued that the current definition of marriage as being between one many and one woman is constitutional and that there is “an obvious and compelling state interest in the institution of marriage, which is the creation and nurturing of the next generation of citizens.”

“There is no compelling state interest to protect and promote sexual relationships based on the sexual orientation, sexual preferences, personal preferences, individual tastes, cultural practices or religious beliefs of the individuals involved,” said the bishops. “There may be a state interest in recognizing these relationships for the purpose of regulating them but there is no state interest in institutionalizing them.”

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