Canadian Evangelical Christians React to Homosexual ‘Marriage’ Law - We “Cannot Accept”

OTTAWA, July 20, 2005 ( - The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) is deeply saddened by the passage of Bill C-38, the Civil Marriage Act, and its implications for family and religious freedom in Canada.“Today our government has chosen to redefine the foundational institution of our society,” says Bruce Clemenger, president of the EFC. “The consequences of this massive social experiment have not been fully examined or understood.”

“With the passage of this legislation, the government has reconfigured marriage as a primarily adult-centered institution, and surrendered its ability to champion the rights of children to know and be raised by a mother and a father,” says Clemenger.

By reason of faith, conscience, practice and teaching, the EFC cannot accept this new definition of marriage,” says Clemenger. “Evangelical pastors and congregations will continue to celebrate and promote marriage as the exclusive and enduring union of one man and one woman.”

“Further, we will continue to use the language of husband and wife and promote marriage as the real and symbolic affirmation of, and commitment to, the child’s right to know and experience a mother and a father.”

The EFC has been working to preserve the historic definition of marriage, both in the courts and before Parliament, for over a decade.

“The unique, distinct nature of heterosexual marriage is no longer recognized in our law and public policy, but we will continue to promote and teach the biblical understanding of marriage in our families and churches.”

The EFC’s director of law and public policy, Janet Epp Buckingham, says, “There is little doubt that religious freedom will be compromised by this change in the definition of marriage. The amendments to the bill will provide some measure of protection for religious freedom, but they are not sufficient and cannot address the consequences of this legislation in areas of provincial responsibility.”

Since marriage is primarily a religious institution with civil and social consequences, it is inevitable that conflicts will arise. Buckingham says, “Despite the very real threats to freedom of conscience and religion, we will not allow fear of recrimination or prosecution to dictate what our faith community believes and teaches in this regard. Marriage was not created by the state but was recognized by the state for certain purposes. Therefore, it cannot be changed by the state.”

Buckingham says, “The EFC will continue to press for the freedom to dissent from the new legal definition of marriage and its consequences, and work to ensure the provinces and territories enact legislation to protect freedom of religion and conscience in this regard.”

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