NOM BLOG

Canada: Bishops speak out against marriage commissioner ruling

 

LifeSiteNews:

Two more Canadian bishops have joined their voices with that of Calgary Bishop Fred Henry in condemning a Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruling that denied marriage commissioners the right to refuse to perform same-sex “marriages.”

In a new pastoral letter, Archbishop Daniel Bohan of Regina, Saskatchewan has challenged the government to work [to] protect freedom of conscience rights.

“The threat of loss of one’s job and employment certainly raises the spectre of coercion upon a person if it is demanded of that person that he or she do something that they believe to be wrong in order to keep their livelihood,” Archbishop Bohan wrote. “It will take skillful action on the part of our government leaders to guarantee the freedom of conscience of its citizens.”

On the heels of the court ruling, the Saskatchewan government announced that commissioners who refuse to “marry” same-sex couples will be fired.

19 Comments

  1. Posted February 4, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    CHURCHES aren't being told who they must host weddings for ... but then again, the legal benefits of marriage don't come from the CHURCH. The Canadian wedding commissioners work for the government. They have an obligation to legally marry any couple who is eligible to marry. If you can't fulfill your job description, find another line of work.

  2. Lisa L.
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    If you're going to choose to perform civil ceremonies, you cannot discriminate against same sex couples, the same way a doctor who doesn't supports 'traditional family values' can't refuse to deliver a baby of a single mother.

    If you don't want to marry same sex couples because it is against your beliefs, then you must only perform religious ceremonies.

  3. Merry
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    They could use freedom of conscience laws up north. It'd go a long ways toward preserving freedom of religion.

  4. Analise Habra
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I bet the same atheistic liberals who rejoice at forcing people to abandon their principles, celebrate when a soldier disobeys commands on the same grounds.

  5. Sheryl Beckett
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    If a person were a clerk at a store where alcohol was one of the products sold and that person believed that drinking alcohol was wrong and refused to sell alcohol to clients, would you think that person should continue in that position or that the store owner would have the right to fire that person because they refused to perform all of their job duties. This is no different, when you accept a position and know all that the position entails and then refuse to perform all of those duties because you believe that some of them are wrong, yes, you deserve to lose your job or transfer to a job where those duties are not expected of you.

    I do not see where a civil servant having to perform the duties of his position is in anyway infringing upon religious freedom.

  6. ConservativeNY
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    False analogy, Sherll. If a store is in the business of selling alcohol, then the owner wouldn't hire someone who wouldn't sell alcohol in the first place.

    What we have here is a case in which a government has chosen to sponser the moral standards of a special interest group and is now in the process of coercing people into approving those moral standards in spite of their values and traditions that extend back for thousands of years, all in the service of an elite minority.

    I am hoping that this incident serves as an example of how the government enforced redefinition of marriage compromises civil and religious liberties.

  7. Kym
    Posted February 5, 2011 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    "False analogy, Sherll. If a store is in the business of selling alcohol, then the owner wouldn't hire someone who wouldn't sell alcohol in the first place."
    And if you decide to become a marriage commissionner then you cannot discriminate against same-sex couples. Or you chose another profession: you do something else with your life, just like the clerk in your view could have chosen anothe store. Or you become a bishop where you can keep your narrow definition of marriage in your church.

    Funny how the protests cited above come from BISHOPS whose rights are not taken away anyways, because churches in Canada retain the right NOT to perform marriages of same-sex couples, in respect of religious freedom. AGAIN we see bishops imposing their values everywhere.

  8. ConservativeNY
    Posted February 5, 2011 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    The sale of alcohol has been allowed and tolerated for centuries, Kym. The legalization of alcohol is not a recent thing done to please alcoholics who have managed to convince the government that alcoholism is a constitutional civil and human right that the state MUST impose onto society. It is something that is simply allowed and tolerated, not promoted and encouraged.

    No one who works for the government is expected to participate in the sale or the consumption of alcohol. But they are expected to participate in the promotion and and encouragement of homosexuality. Big difference, there.

    I don't blame the bishops at all for their protests. How can they be expected to be comfortable living under a government that officially recognizes their religious convictions as a tool for hate and bigotry? I can guess what the Canadian government's hostile attitude against the religious values that support the natural family could eventually lead to.

    Hopefully, what's happening to marriage comissioners in Canada will serve as a warning to all states of the consequences of government imposed SSM.

  9. Jones Macbeth
    Posted February 5, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    ConservativeNY,

    You are missing the point, on many levels.
    A) Prohibition was repealed in 1920, meaning it was made illegal, and then overturned. For no other reason I suspect than a bunch of people decided it was their right to drink, and made the government acknowledge that.

    Bishops aren't affected by this ruling, Marriage commissioners are.

    "Marriage Commissioners in British Columbia are private citizens appointed under the Marriage Act to perform civil marriage ceremonies, collect legislated fees and register a marriage with the Vital Statistics Agency. Marriage Commissioners are not employees of the provincial government but hold an appointment under the Marriage Act and receive a statutory commission of $50 for each ceremony that they conduct. Marriage Commissioners cannot perform a marriage
    ceremony without a valid marriage license provided to them by the couple to be married prior to the marriage ceremony."

    So the Bishops' protests are seated in religious beliefs, and are regarding things that do not affect them. If a marriage commissioner refuses to abide by the rules laid out by their employer, they can seek other employment. At $50 a wedding, I don't think their pockets are going to be hurting too much by refusing the role of "Marriage Commissioner". If they wish to perform Religious marriages, and not have to worry about "marrying gays", then all they need to do is devote the time to earn their cloth, and marry all the straight people they want.

  10. Mary Ann
    Posted February 5, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I don't get it. If SSM has enough supporters, why not let marriage commisioners opt out?
    If SSM supporters are confident that enough people will serve them, why the need for gov't force?

    People went into this line of work never expecting to be asked to 'marry' same sex couples. Why should they be forced to switch careers if there are other people willing to do it?

    It's the use of force I don't understand, and makes the SSM movement look like bullies. If they're really about 'live and let live' then this man's objections shouldn't bother them.

  11. Jones Macbeth
    Posted February 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Letting Marriage commissioners opt out was reviewed by the Canadian Government and determined to be discriminatory towards LGB members. Even in a single point system, where a couple would never have known they were being denied service by a particular commissioner and directed immediately to one that would perform the service.

    Marriage Commissioners are for secular members of Canada to receive weddings. If you do not want to perform SECULAR marriages, then study and become a member of the clergy and perform RELIGIOUS weddings to your heart's content.

    No one is saying a Bishop has to marry a gay couple that he doesn't want to. But a Marriage Commissioner, put in place by the State does not have that luxury. They were hired to do a job.

  12. Mary Ann
    Posted February 5, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    But there are lots of secular people who aren't comfortable with SSM. And this man was hired for a job he did faithfully long before SSM was even an idea.

    So this idea of govt force doesn't sit well with me. If SSM supporters really want respect, they wouldn't need to resort to such measures. They'd be honest in the claim that their 'marriages' won't affect others. As it's turning out, their choices do affect the liberties of others.

  13. Jones Macbeth
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    "But there are lots of secular people who aren't comfortable with SSM."
    Claim. Needs proof. Otherwise it is just speculation and immaterial.

    "And this man was hired for a job he did faithfully long before SSM was even an idea. "
    LGBT saw its first really vocal supporters around 1870 in England. First official Gay Rights Organization in the United States was in 1924 called the Society for Human Rights. Canada saw its first in 1964 called ASK. SSM is hardly a new idea.

    "If SSM supporters really want respect, they wouldn't need to resort to such measures"

    Look at some historic civil rights movements. Look at the tactics that Women and African Americans had to use to earn their rights. I just find it sad that after all that those two groups went through, they still have very low support for another group struggling through it.

    How many people were forced to swallow their pride and forced to do things they didn't agree with when women and african americans fought and won their rights? How many white men thought it shameful/wrong that women/african-americans were working white men jobs? How hard are women/african americans still fighting to try and earn equal compensation in the work force?

    "They'd be honest in the claim that their 'marriages' won't affect others"

    Nice attempt to spin, however the fact remains that 1 (very small) group here is complaining about new rules at their job, and the other is trying to find happiness with the person that completes them. Huge difference. And so far only 3-4 of the marriage commissioners have claimed they would quit the position, or about 1% of the 400 marriage commissioners within Saskatchewan. The main one being discussed is 73 years old, and has married 30-40 couples in the past decade, or about 3-4 a year. Additionally, this not only went through Appeals Court, but also Saskatchewan's Human Rights Tribunal. It was deemed by the Court as a waste of taxpayer's money.

    Just curious,
    If your boss presented you with a new set of rules to abide by in your company, that was designed and voted on by the board of directors, and you felt they conflicted with your personal beliefs, although they were all perfectly legal, would you feel at liberty to take the matter up with them? Honestly, how far would that get you?

  14. Sheryl Beckett
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    Okay, let me take this back to my alcohol example. Let's say that when the clerk started working at the store, alcohol was not sold. Then the owners decided to add alcohol to their product list and got the appropriate license. Now the store sales alcohol. Should the clerk be allowed to serve only customers who do not buy alcohol or should the clerk have to serve all customers?

  15. ConservativeNY
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    "so far only 3-4 of the marriage commissioners have claimed they would quit the position, or about 1% of the 400 marriage commissioners within Saskatchewan. The main one being discussed is 73 years old, and has married 30-40 couples in the past decade, or about 3-4 a year."

    So its OK to trample on the religious and civil liberties of a minority? Brilliant, Jones Macbeth. That means that you have no basis in supporting the 1% of the population who want to marry someone of the same sex.

  16. ConservativeNY
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    "If your boss presented you with a new set of rules to abide by in your company, that was designed and voted on by the board of directors, and you felt they conflicted with your personal beliefs, although they were all perfectly legal, would you feel at liberty to take the matter up with them? Honestly, how far would that get you?"

    You mean like the sale of alcohol? I suppose if the board of directors considered the consumption of alcohol to be a civil and human right, even though it is found nowhere in the constitution, and they also believed that refusing to sell alcohol was morally identical to promoting segregation and denying minorities the right to vote, then I would say that you wouldn't get very far at all in the face of such narrow minded prejudice.

  17. andrea
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    @conservativeNY

    Laws change. Alcohol may be legal and been around for ages, so was slavery. One is no longer allowed, the rules changed. Marriage commissioners cannot discriminate based on sex of the couple. The job description/rules have changed.
    ---------------------
    Mormons don't drink, neither do JW's. But if you want to work in our Gov't Liquor store its part of your job.
    --------------------
    I guess if I were a magistrate and Catholic, I would never grant a divorce, its against my principles.
    ---------------------
    @Mary: They'd be honest in the claim that their 'marriages' won't affect others. As it's turning out, their choices do affect the liberties of others.

    ME marrying another male doesn't affect any one else liberties. "Their" refusal to comply with the rules and doing their job duites, affects them. Strange, refusing to follow the law tends to affect rule breakers. I speed, I get tickets, I lose my license. The fools that set speed limits didn't take away my liberties, my actions did.

  18. Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Recall there was a Justice of the Peace, Keith Bardwell, in Louisiana a year ago who refused to perform a civil marriage ceremony for a biracial couple.

    Marriage equality is the law of the land in Canada. Just as a commissioner or justice of the peace cannot deny a marriage license to biracial couples, they cannot violate the responsibilities of their office and deny a marriage license to gay couples.

    This has little to do with religious liberty. Religious liberty does not mean a person can break the law by way of ignoring his or her legal duties.

  19. Sean
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Once again the judges in Canada ignore the very Charter that they quote. Freedom of religion. These commissioners are supposed to have this freedom but are being denied because of personal bias from the judges. It is so hard to fight against such corrupt people. The people have no recourse as they are appointed not elected like here in the states. Relgious freedom has taken a back seat to everything in Canada. Liberty is gone.

    Some people claim marriage equality. There is nothing equal about 2 men or 2 women. Neither of them can pro-create, neither of them have any clue what it would be like to be a man or a woman as they are not from that sex. A mother and a father provide complimentariness for their children and to society as a whole.