Christian groups respond to Canadian court's redefining of marriage
The Ontario Superior Court ruled yesterday that Canada's legal definition of marriage—"the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman"—is discriminatory, unconstitutional, and violates homosexuals' human rights guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"The restriction against same-sex marriage is an offense to the dignity of lesbians and gays because it limits the range of relationship options available to them," wrote Justice Harry LaForme. "The result is they are denied the autonomy to choose whether they wish to marry. This in turn conveys the ominous message that they are unworthy of marriage. … I find that there is no merit to the argument that the rights and interests of heterosexuals would be affected by granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry. I cannot conclude that freedom of religion would be threatened or jeopardized by legally sanctioning same-sex marriage."
The new definition of marriage, at least in Ontario, is now "the voluntary union for life of two persons to the exclusion of all others."
It's the latest in a series of Canadian court decisions supporting gay marriage. Last month, the British Columbia Court of Appeal also ruled that the definition of marriage must be changed, but gave the government until July 12, 2004, to do it. A Quebec Superior Court judge issued a similar ruling last fall. But yesterday's ruling in Ontario offered no grace period for the government—homosexual marriages were instantly legal. They took place almost as instantly, as dozens of couples raced to be among the first.
The court decision legalizes two homosexual marriages from January 2001 that occurred at a Metropolitan Community ...1
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