SUBMISSION BY THE EVANGELICAL FELLOWSHIP OF CANADA ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE TO A SENATE COMMITTEE
The following is the executive summary section of a submission made to the
Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs by Dr. Janet
Epp Buckingham. She is the director of law and public policy for the
Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC).
It concerns Bill C-38 -- a bill to make
same-sex marriages available across Canada. C-38 was signed into law on
2005-JUL-20. The full text is available online at the EFC web site.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) is deeply concerned about
the impact of the redefinition of marriage on the future of the institution of marriage, on
children and on religious freedom in Canada.
The EFC has a strong interest in issues related to the definition of marriage.
In Canada, the civil
and religious aspects of marriage have been fused. Seventy- five percent of
marriages in Canada
are solemnized by clergy. For our community, marriage will remain a religious
change to the civil definition of marriage changes the public meaning of the
institution and will
have direct and indirect effects on religious institutions.
The EFC has consistently urged Parliament to consider the policy implications of
redefining marriage. The redefinition of marriage denies children the right to
know and be raised
by their mother and father. It raises numerous issues of religious freedom, some
of which are
already the subject of litigation. The Supreme Court noted in the Marriage
potential for conflict with religious freedom given the new definition of
The guarantee of religious freedom for clergy, contained in s. 3 of the bill,
does not actually
provide any protection for religious freedom. The Supreme Court indicated that
clergy is a provincial jurisdiction.
The amendments adopted by the House of Commons will provide a measure of
religious freedom in areas of federal responsibility, but we would hope that the
further amend the bill to ensure protection for religious freedom and freedom of
federal employees in the Canadian Human Rights Act.
We continue to be concerned that religious freedom is not protected for clergy,
civic officials with respect to the solemnization of marriage. We call on the
Senate to amend the
bill to ensure that provincial governments have passed legislation to protect
religious freedom in
relation to the solemnization of marriage before this bill comes into force.
The EFC is further concerned that Bill C-38 is not limited to Canadian
residents. This has the
potential to create conflicts with laws of other countries.
Given these concerns, the EFC remains firmly opposed to Bill C-38. Should the
recommend its passage, the EFC has made some recommendations regarding potential
amendments that would strengthen protections for religious freedom and freedom
- "Submission to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and
Constitutional Affairs on Bill C-38 the Civil Marriage Act," Evangelical Fellowship of
Canada, 2005-JUL-13, at:
http://www.evangelicalfellowship.ca/ This is a PDF file. You may require software to read it. Software can be obtained free from:
- ":: Defending Marriage," Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, at:
"SSM" means "same-sex marriage"
It is our understanding that there is no copyright on this
document, as it was presented as a submission before a federal government
Originally posted: 2005-SEP-14
Latest update: 2005-SEP-14