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Religious Tolerance logo


Year 2005

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As the year 2005 opens, most of the developments in same-sex marriage (SSM) is happening in Canada:

bullet2005-FEB-01: Canada: Federal government introduces SSM bill: The federal government introduced: "An Act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes." Its short title is: "The Civil Marriage Act." The text states, in part:
bulletWHEREAS marriage is a fundamental institution in Canadian society and the Parliament of Canada has a responsibility to support that institution because it strengthens commitment in relationships and represents the foundation of family life for many Canadians;
bulletAND WHEREAS, in order to reflect values of tolerance, respect and equality consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, access to marriage for civil purposes should be extended by legislation to couples of the same sex;
bulletNOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows.....Marriage, for civil purposes, is the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others. It is recognized that officials of religious groups are free to refuse to perform marriages that are not in accordance with their religious beliefs. For greater certainty, a marriage is not void or voidable by reason only that the spouses are of the same sex.

The bill will also make minor amendments to nine other federal laws in order to give all married couples -- whether same-sex or opposite-sex -- exactly the same rights and obligations. 1,2 More details

bullet2005-FEB-04: NY: Judge decides that ban on SSM is unconstitutional: Mary Jo Kennedy and Jo-Ann Shain a lesbian couple who have been together for 23 years, attempted to buy a marriage license in 2004-MAR. They were refused. They and four other gay and lesbian couples sued New York City for the right to marry. State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan ruled for the plaintiffs. If the case is upheld on appeal, same-sex couples will be able to marry throughout New York State. Kennedy and Shain said they were thrilled by the ruling. They believe that it will give them and their 15 year-old daughter increased legal protection. Shain said: "We're just overjoyed. We didn't think it would ever happen." Kennedy said she wants to marry Shain as soon as possible. "I can't wait. We went to buy a (marriage) license in March 2004 and couldn't get it. That's what started this whole thing." The city Law Department commented: "We are reviewing the decision thoroughly and considering our options." 3
bullet2005-FEB-12: Canada: Poll results announced: A poll conducted between FEB-07 and FEB-09 indicates a remarkable shift in support for SSM: 59% of Canadian adults either favor allowing SSM or don't care. 40% are opposed to SSM.

Another fascinating result is that: 50% felt that "Endorsing same-sex marriages rights would be a positive signal to the world about Canada's values and beliefs." 42% felt the opposite; 8% did not express an opinion.

There are very strong regional, sex, and age differences among Canadian adults. More details
bullet2005-FEB-14: MA: Appeal to overturn Supreme Judicial Court's 2003 ruling: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will hear an appeal -- perhaps during 2005-APR -- to reverse its 2003 ruling which authorized same-sex marriage in the state. The appeal is based on a clause in the state constitution that requires "all causes of marriage are to be determined by the Legislature." Attorney Chester Darling of Citizens for the Preservation of Constitutional Rights said "Ignoring that mandate in the constitution four justices went ahead and radically declared that marriage could occur between same-sex couples." Referring to the upcoming referendum, Robert Muise of the Thomas More Law Center said that the state should: "...stop the issuance of these marriage licenses because in a year or two, when the vote will come to the people, you're going to have people who were at one time married who will no longer be married." 4
bullet2005-FEB-22: Vatican: Pope John Paul II attacks same-sex marriage: The pope has published a new book titled "Memory and Identity," dealing with the nature of good and evil. Referring to pressures on the European Parliament to extend same-sex marriage beyond Holland and Belgium, he wrote: "It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if this is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man." 5
bullet2005-JUN-06: Vatican: Pope Benedict XVI attacks same-sex marriage: In a move that probably surprised noone, Pope Benedict XVI condemned same-sex marriage as anarchic and "pseudo-matrimony." He said that marriage is not just a "casual sociological construction" that is subject to change. It is an institution that had its roots "in the most profound essence of human being." 6
bullet2005-JUN-17: Canada: Bill C-38 expected to be voted upon: As of 2005-JUN-07, same-sex couples are able to marry in seven out of ten Canadian provinces and one out of three Canadian territories. Lawsuits are underway to extend this to the province of New Brunswick and the Northwest Territory. Bill C-38, which would make same-sex marriage a reality in the remaining provinces and territories is expected to reach the third reading in the House of Commons. If passed, it will be sent to the Senate who has allegedly agreed to delay its summer recess until the bill is voted upon. More details.
bullet2005-JUN-19: MA: Reformed Church in America suspends minister: In 2004-JUN, Rev. Norman Kansfield, 65, officiated at the marriage of his daughter, Ann, 29, in Massachusetts. Leaders of his denomination, the Reformed Church in America, (RCA) voted to suspend him. He has also been stripped of his standing as a professor of theology in the RCA. The problem is that his daughter married a woman. The church alleges that he intentionally acted against Bible teachings and the constitution. 7
bullet2005-JUL-04: USA: United Church of Christ endorses SSM: The most liberal of the major Protestant Christian denominations in the U.S., the United Church of Christ, endorsed same-sex marriage. The resolution at their General Synod was overwhelmingly approved by about 80% of the delegates. The resolution calls on its congregations to consider wedding policies "that do not discriminate on couples based on gender." They also ask its congregations to support changes in state marriage legislation to give equal rights to same-sex couples. An alternative resolution which would have defined marriage as being between one man and one woman was rejected. Although the resolution is not binding on individual congregations, some conservative congregations are expected to leave the denomination because they don't want to be part of a denomination that endorses equal marriage rights for all. 8 More details.
bullet2005-NOV-08: TX: Constitutional amendment passed: By about a 74% majority, Texas voters approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Texas became the 19th state in the U.S. to pass such an amendment.
bullet2005-DEC-13: IA: Lawsuit by six same-sex couples who want to marry: Six same-sex couples attempted to obtain marriage licenses in Iowa. All were refused. With the help of Lambda Legal, they launched a lawsuit to challenge the marriage act in the state which restricts marriage to one man and one woman. The lawsuit has reinvigorated support for the Iowa Marriage Amendment which is a constitutional amendment to prevent same-sex couples from marrying in the state. It was passed in the house during 2004, but has not yet passed the Senate. 9
bullet2005-DEC-19: UK: Civil Partnerships become available in Northern Ireland: Grainne Close and Shannon Sickles, a lesbian couple in Northern Ireland, became the second same-sex couple to enter into a civil partnership in the UK. Another couple had married earlier; they were given special dispensation by the government because one spouse was terminally ill. By DEC-22, an estimated 687 couples were "partnershipped." The government estimates that 4,500 couples will be "partnered" in the first year. Information on civil partnerships and public reaction in late 2005-DEC when they became available in the UK.
bullet2005-DEC-20: UK: Civil Partnership ceremonies unavailable in the Western Isles: When same-sex couples enter into civil partnerships throughout the UK, they go to their registry office and sign  a basic registration in the presence of two witnesses. They are then offered a ceremony similar to that given to opposite-sex married couples. However, in one of the UK's remotest reasons, the Western Isles, no such ceremony is being offered. According to the Universe Catholic Newspaper: "Western Isles Councils policy committee has decided not to offer such ceremonies after local registrars said they would be unwilling to carry them out."

Christian church leaders of all denominations had organized a campaign against civil partnersips. Father Malcolm MacLellan of St Michaels parish on Eriskay said that: "Catholics here are loyal to the Churchs teaching that only a man and a woman may marry. There is a danger in speaking out against the civil partnership because you are immediately accused of being homophobic. That is not the case." Not only is the Church opposed to same-sex marriage, they are against recognizing same-sex relationships in any formal way.  An anonymous priest added: "The Western Isles is not some Brigadoon backwater. Its just that here politicians listen to the will of the people and people oppose these so called gay marriages."

The Western Islands are also known as the Inner and Outer Hebrides. They are located in the North Atlantic Ocean, off of western Scotland.  10

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  1. "C-38: An act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes," LEGIS Info, Library of Parliament, at: http://www.parl.gc.ca/
  2. Printed copies can be obtained from: Publishing and Depository Services, PWGSC, Ottawa, ON K1A 0S5.
  3. "N.Y. ban on same-sex marriage struck down," Earthlink, 2005-FEB-04, at: http://start.earthlink.net/
  4. Keith Peters, "Massachusetts Marriage Ruling Challenged," Focus on the Family, 2005-FEB-14, at: http://www.family.org/
  5. Philip Pullella, "Gay marriage, abortion new forms of evil: Pope," The Toronto Star, 2005-FEB-23, Page A14.
  6. "Pope denounces same-sex marriage as 'pseudo-matrimony'," The Toronto Star, 2005-JUN-07, Page A11.
  7. "Minister suspended for officiating at daughters 2004 lesbian wedding," Associated Press, 2005-JUN-20, at: http://www.fortwayne.com/
  8. "United Church of Christ backs gay marriage," Associated Press, 2005-JUL-05, at: http://www.usatoday.com/
  9. "Call to Action," Iowa Family Policy Center, 2005-DEC-16.
  10. "Western Islander priests back gay weddings ban," The Universe Newsroom, 2006-JAN-08, at: http://www.totalcatholic.com/

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Copyright 2004 to 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2006-JAN-11
Author: B.A. Robinson

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