Calgary Bishop Calls for Public Input on Same-Sex Marriage Decision

By Gudrun Schultz

CALGARY, Alberta, November 15, 2006 ( - Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary wants a federal commission to carefully examine the potential impact of same-sex marriage on Canadian society, before a free vote is held in the House of Commons on the issue.

“Prime Minister Harper has said repeatedly that he is keeping his campaign promise to hold a free vote in the House of Commons on whether the issue of “same sex marriage” should be revisited,” said Bishop Henry in a letter to the Calgary diocese, to be released this week.

“Prior to doing so, following the initiative of the National Assembly of France, to ensure an intelligent and responsible vote, he should create a task force or commission to produce a Parliamentary Report on the Family and the Rights of the Child.”

While Bishop Henry said the government’s rumored plan to introduce a “Defense of Religion Act” ensuring greater protection for the religious freedom of those who oppose the homosexual lifestyle was “laudable”, he said such an act would not go far enough in addressing the needs of Canadian society.

“We need to draw a clear distinction between the public institution of marriage and other voluntary relationships. The marital bond is different because of its stability, the environment it provides for the development of families, and the protection its accords spouses and children.”

Bishop Henry acknowledged the “extraordinary sacrifices” that many single parents undertake in order to raise their children, saying a “just and compassionate” society must support such families, but he said such support “is far different than deliberately creating motherless and fatherless families by establishing same sex unions.”

“Prohibiting “same sex marriage” is not unjust discrimination. Most Canadians agree that homosexual persons must be treated with respect, compassion, and sensitivity because all human beings are equal in their intrinsic dignity. It is wrong to discriminate against persons, but it is right and necessary to distinguish between different kinds of relationships.”

Bishop Henry pointed to marriage amendments ratified by 27 U.S. states as examples of legislature that protects the traditional societal structure of marriage while permitting for employment benefit-sharing, hospital visitation rights, and other non-family related issues to be extended to relationships other than heterosexual.

Furthermore, Bishop Henry said, Canadian laws already place restrictions on marriage by preventing close family members from marrying one another, a limit that includes adoptive family members.

“Such prohibitions, however, are not viewed as unjust discrimination against relatives, married people, or children.

“It’s time to ask Canadians what they think.”

See related LifeSiteNews coverage:

Calgary Bishop Henry Argues Gay “Marriage” Legislation is a “Betrayal of Children”

Bishop Henry on Why He’s Not Afraid to Speak out on Homosexuality, Abortion

Canadian Bishop Fred Henry: “Homosexual Lifestyle . . . is Unwholesome and Immoral”

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