VANCOUVER, July 23, 2001 ( – Starting today and until August 3, the Supreme Court of British Columbia will hear a landmark challenge to Canada’s marriage laws, brought by 3 homosexual activist couples (the “BC Partners Group”) and 5 further couples together with Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere, the national homosexual activist group. Intervening in the case, in defense of traditional marriage, is the Interfaith Coalition made up of the Archdiocese of Vancouver B.C., Council of Sikhs, B.C. Muslim Association, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Islamic Society of North America, Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ontario Council of Sikhs, and the Catholic Civil Rights League. Lawyers Iain Benson and Peter Jervis are representing the Interfaith Coalition.

In its submission to the court the Interfaith Coalition argues that the legally created concept of “spouse” is different from the institution of marriage which predates the constitution, and is regarded therein as a societal and religious institution conferring the title of “husband and wife.” The submission notes that “All major world religions confine the institution of marriage to men and women.” And clarifies that “The existence of some dissentient views, as evidenced by some of the affidavit material filed in this petition, does not alter the fact that major world religions do not and cannot accept a fundamental redefinition of marriage to include same-sex partnerships.” Moreover, the submission warns that a ruling in favour of homosexual marriage would lead to discrimination against religious beliefs. “Religious clergy in many denominations and faiths would be, by their religious principles, unable and unwilling to solemnize these redefined marriages between same-sex partners. This could require clergy to withdraw from the solemnization of marriage which could cause significant societal consternation and could also lead to legal and human rights proceedings against both the clergy and religious faiths who refuse to participate in the solemnization of certain redefined ‘marriages,’” said the submission.

The BC Coalition for Marriage and Family-comprised of Focus on the Family Canada, REAL Women of BC, and the Canadian Alliance of Social Justice and Family Values Associations- are also at the BC Supreme Court today supporting the federal government’s defense of the definition of marriage.

See the full Interfaith Coalition submission at: