Ontario Christian minister forced to conduct same-sex ‘marriages’ or get sacked
CAMBRIDGE, Ontario, September 11, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Church of Christ minister who has been responsible for civic marriage ceremonies at Cambridge city hall for the past 15 years is facing the axe if she doesn’t agree to perform same-sex “marriages.”
Rev. Jay Brown told LifeSiteNews that city council voted 8 to 1 Monday night on a motion, brought forward by Councillor Donna Reid, that Brown be forced to officiate at homosexual “marriages” or they would issue a “request for proposal” to find a replacement.
Rev. Brown explained that as a minister of the Church of Christ she must follow the precepts of her church, which does not allow homosexual “marriage,” but that she was always ready to accommodate same-sex couples by recommending a designated minister who would be happy to perform the ceremony.
“I have nothing against gay people, in fact a member of my family is gay,” Brown said in an interview with LifeSiteNews, “but I represent my church, which does not allow same-sex marriage.”
“My church won’t allow me to. I haven’t had to make that decision,” she said, adding that in the years since homosexual “marriage” was legalized in Canada she has been asked only a few times to perform same-sex “marriages.”
“When this law came into being, I made sure that same-sex people could get married in Cambridge,” Brown said. “So same-sex ‘marriage’ has been available in Cambridge since 2005.”
She explained that 15 years ago she saw a need in Cambridge for civil marriage ceremonies because the service was not available in the area, so she approached city council with a proposal that she would offer the service. She has performed the civic ceremonies at city hall ever since, often bringing flowers and music at her own expense because she believes a wedding “shouldn’t be anything less then a special day.”
Brown was very clear that she is contracted by Cambridge to perform marriages at city hall and is not an employee of the city.
In defense of the use of a designated minister to perform same-sex weddings, Brown pointed out that, “just as someone may be contracted to build a bridge for the city, the contractor is free to subcontract aspects of the work that are better accomplished by someone else.”
Rev. Brown said it became apparent at Monday’s council meeting that although most councilors were satisfied with her work and couldn’t understand the outrage expressed by homosexuality advocates in attendance, only one, councilor, Nicholas Ermeta, voted against the motion to issue a “request for proposal”.
“Her record speaks for itself,” Ermeta is reported to have said. “I don’t feel right taking this away from her.”
In an earlier report by the Cambridge Times Councilor. Ermeta said he saw no need to put out a “request for proposal,” given the glowing testimonials the city has received from couples using Brown’s services.
Coun. Rick Cowsill asked, “We have two officiants on the payroll. One does one type of wedding. One does the other. Where’s the problem there?” but in the end voted for issuing the “request for proposal” as long as Rev. Brown was allowed to respond to it.
The Cambridge Record reports that Dana Christiaen of the region’s AIDS committee said that forcing ministers to perform same-sex weddings was a core issue for the gay and lesbian community, while homosexual activist Allison Rogers said allowing a different official to perform Cambridge’s same-sex weddings was “deplorable.”
Christiaen’s comment reveals that the heart of the issue of “gay marriage” may be more than forcing a Christian minister to perform a function that is expressly forbidden by her church.
Eric Metaxas of Breakpoint.org noted in an editorial that the push by homosexual activists for total acceptance of same-sex “marriage” is not about normalizing homosexuality but an attempt to destroy religious freedom and free speech rights.
“Christians are often asked by gay activists why they oppose same-sex “marriage.” “How does our marriage hurt you?” they ask,” Metaxas wrote.
“Well, I can think of one significant way it will hurt us: It will destroy religious freedom and free speech rights.”
Metaxas referred to the statement by Michael Coren of the National Review Online who said, “there have been between 200 and 300 [legal] proceedings … against critics and opponents of same-sex marriage. It’s becoming obvious that Christian people, leaders, and organizations are being targeted, almost certainly to create legal precedents.”
“This is what we need to tell our neighbors when they ask us, “How does gay ‘marriage’ hurt us?” It means that those hostile to our beliefs will attempt to bend us to their will to force us to not only accept gay “marriage,” but to condone it as well,” Metaxas said.
“You and I must demonstrate love to our gay neighbors, of course, remembering that we are ultimately engaged in spiritual warfare. But we should boldly stand up when our rights as citizens and the demands of our conscience are threatened,” Metaxas concluded.
Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig
City Hall, 50 Dickson Street,
Cambridge, ON N1R 8S1