Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Gay Marriage Appeals Begin (February 12)

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
While politicians in Ottawa debate whether to change the definition of marriage to include homosexuals, the first of three constitutional challenges aimed at achieving that same goal resumed this week in a Vancouver courtroom. Eight British Columbia gay and lesbian couples asked a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal to overturn a ruling by BC Supreme Court Justice Ian Pitfield in which he upheld the traditional definition of marriage. In October 2001, Pitfield stated that while the law prohibiting same-sex marriages violates the equality provisions under Section 15 of the Charter, the discrimination was legally justifiable. On Monday--the opening day of arguments--Queen's University law professor Kathleen Lahey, representing three of the couples, argued that Pitfield erred in permitting this form of discrimination. "As more and more gay and lesbian couples have children, an entire generation in Canada has grown up as second-class citizens," she told the court, according to the Vancouver Sun. But Focus on the Family Canada president Dr. Darrel Reid warns that redefining marriage will ultimately do Canadian society much more harm than good. "We need to be very careful as a society," he said in an interview, "not to undermine the special, tangible, long-term benefits of marriage as an institution. The heterosexual definition of marriage is one that needs to be defended, maintained, protected--and encouraged." Reid says he agrees "100%" with Conservative MP Peter MacKay, who remarked recently that there are many more pressing issues than allowing homosexuals to marry. "When you talk to Canadians at large," Reid says, "most are concerned about raising their kids, earning a living, taxes, making their communities better. Where does same-sex marriage fit in? It's nowhere. This [debate] has been driven by a small minority of very plugged-in and very motivated people that want to see the abiding social institutions of Canada changed. And the only way that's going to be arrested and maybe driven back is by Canadians jumping out of their comfort zones a little bit and getting into a discussion of what really is important. Because while we're concerned about all those other things, we could have our society changed forever and be the worse for it." But Reid is also convinced that as Canadians learn more about what is at stake here, they are becoming increasingly motivated to speak out in defence of marriage. "This concern is growing and deepening. It's a concern that something precious is being eroded. It's beyond their comprehension to think that somebody is out there making changes of such a breath-taking scope," he says. (From Focus on the Family)

Keep an eye and an ear open for how things will proceed, and voice your protest by the proper channels.

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