WOLFVILLE, NS, August 18, 2003 ( – At its 38th general council last week, The United Church of Canada, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, voted overwhelmingly to endorse homosexual ‘marriage’ and to encourage the government to legalize it.  The United Church’s new moderator, Peter Short, explained that the United Church was sticking to its ‘tradition’ by supporting homosexual ‘marriage’.  “In tradition, we extend the franchise. We widen the circle. Today we use the word inclusivity to talk about that. If we don’t [widen the circle], we live on the thin soup of the ideologies and the fads of our own times. Going to church is the one thing that can save you from the degrading servitude of being a child of your own times. So when we speak of inclusivity, we are speaking of our tradition,” he said.  However, cognizant of the dissent on the issue within the nearly 3-million strong United Church, Short appealed to those members opposed to homosexual ‘marriage’ to remain within the church.  “To those of you who want to keep marriage as it has been passed on, who make the cogent, compelling, and compassionate case for that important tradition, I want to say there is sorrow in my heart that you are named homophobic because you do that.  That is name calling. It is not fair. It is not right. It is not wise and it is not good. Speak your message. Be proud of who you are. Be part of this community and together we will find our way.”  When the United Church permitted practicing homosexuals to become clergy in the late 1980s, many members left the church.  See the CBC coverage and the release from the United Church at: