Canadian Bishops say marriage bill hurts shared values

The successful passage of Canada's same-sex marriage bill this week in the country's House of Commons shows "that Canadians are witnessing a dangerous deterioration of their communal values," according to the president of the Canadian bishops' conference.

Catholic News Agency reports that Archbishop Brendan O'Brien (pictured) said Canadians are taking "another unfortunate step toward eliminating civil and social recognition and appreciation for the unique importance of the committed relationship of a man and a woman in marriage".

The passage of the bill, he said, puts the future of marriage and the irreplaceable role of a husband and wife in conceiving and raising children at risk.

Bill C-38 was passed by a vote of 158-133 on Tuesday evening local time. The Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc Québécois largely supported the bill, leaving only the Conservatives and some Liberal backbenchers voting against it.

Archbishop O'Brien commented on the "political manoeuvering" that took place in order to pass the legislation quickly.

"Members of Parliament were forced to follow a political deadline and to vote along party lines on an issue which deeply divides and troubles Canadians," said Archbishop O'Brien.

The archbishop called this political hardball "an ominous sign" of what can be expected in future debates on the application of bill C-38 with regard to human rights legislation, the solemnization of marriage, and school policies on moral and social questions.

He also said the amendments to bill C-38 are not enough to "diminish significant concerns about protecting freedom of conscience and religion."

While the House passed the bill, it is not yet law. It will now move to the Senate. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging the Senate to give the proposed legislation "prudent consideration" and to order public hearings on the matter.

Meanwhile Spain's parliament gave final approval yesterday to a law legalising gay marriage, overriding strong opposition from the Catholic Church. Spain becomes only the fourth country after Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands to permit same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage bill 'dangerous deterioration' of shared values, say Canadian bishops (Catholic News Agency 29/6/05)
Spain's parliament approves gay marriage law (Reuters 30/6/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops | Comment by the President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Passing of Bill C-38 by the House of Commons (28/6/05)
Conferencia Episcopal Española | Ante la eliminación del matrimonio del Código Civil, en cuanto unión de un hombre y una mujer, y su reducción a mero contrato rescindible unilateralmente (30/6/05)

500,000 march against same-sex marriage (CathNews 20/6/05)
Cardinals attack Spanish Bill on same-sex marriage (CathNews 27/4/05)
Adelaide Archbishop backs equal rights for gay couples (CathNews 17/3/05)
Bishop has 'no difficulty' with civil recognition for gay couples (CathNews 27/10/04)
NZ gay law 'to make moral wasteland' (CathNews 29/6/04)
Bishop says gay marriage advocates flattering "real" marriage (CathNews 3/3/04)
Boston archbishop supports gay couples to protect children (CathNews 27/10/03)
Pope speaks out against gay marriage (CathNews 11/6/03)
Judge apologises to gay activists on behalf of Catholic Church (CathNews 3/2/03)

Huge protests against Madrid gay bill (The Age 19/6/05)
Raphael's secret (The Age 19/6/05)
Vatican Web Page Has New Connections (Catholic Online 18/6/05)
Kiev patriarch says Orthodox Church and Vatican should work together (Catholic News Agency 17/6/05)
Vatican to tackle growing problem of trafficking, sex trade (Catholic News Agency 17/6/05)

Canadian Parliament passes same-sex marriage bill (Catholic News Agency 29/6/05)
Alberta may drop Marriage Act, leave marriage to churches (Catholic News Agency 29/6/05)
Churches split as Canada moves to legalise same-sex marriage (Ecumenical News International 29/6/05)
Spain Legalizes Same-Sex Marriages (The Guardian/Associated Press 30/6/05)
Same-Sex Marriage Advances In Canada (Washington Post 29/6/05)
Canada a Step Closer to Same-Sex Marriage (Zenit 29/6/05)
Canada legalises gay marriage (Seven News/Australian Associated Press 29/6/05)

31 Jul 2005