SASKATOON, SK, November 23, 2004 ( – Conservative Members of Parliament from Saskatchewan and Manitoba have written provincial Justice Ministers demanding that the religious rights of marriage commissioners in the province be respected.  The Saskatchewan Justice Marriage Unit and the Manitoba’s Vital Statistics Agency have instructed provincial marriage commissioners that they are required to perform same-sex marriages or resign from their positions.  Federal Conservative Justice Critic Vic Toews, who represents the Provencher riding in Manitoba, wrote the provincial Justice Minister saying, “Such an ultimatum is not only morally repugnant to many Canadians, but I believe as a matter of law it is wrong.”  He explained that “Under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Manitoba Human Rights Act, an employer must take reasonable measures to accommodate religious beliefs and practices.”  Similarly, Saskatchewan federal Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott, representing Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, said that forcing marriage commissioners to act against their consciences regarding homosexual ‘marriage’ was unacceptable.  “By analogy, it would be unacceptable if an employer would be allowed to dismiss an Orthodox Jew or a Seventh-day Adventist who refused to work for an employer on the Sabbath,” he said.  Both Toews and Vellacott warned that, should the provincial ministers fail to protect the religious rights of marriage commissioners in this regard, they would request that the provincial Human Rights Commissions look into the matter to remedy the religious discrimination.  Jhw


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