NewsWed Mar 14, 2007 - 12:15 pm EST
New Brunswick: Gay Adoption Ok But Religious Freedom for Marriage Commissioners Refused
By Gudrun Schultz
FREDERICTON, New Brunswick, March 14, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - New Brunswick’s Liberal government is poised to introduce legislation that would allow same-sex couples to jointly adopt children, the Fredericton Daily Gleaner reported March 9.
While the issue is being pushed as an essential protection for children in homosexual households, should their legal parent die, opponents say homosexual adoption is harmful to children’s mental and psychological development and should not be permitted under law.
An in-depth report on the effects of homosexual parenting on children, released by a coalition of Spanish organizations in 2005, found that children raised by same-sex couples showed disturbing increases in self-esteem problems, sexual identity confusion, mental illness, drug use, promiscuity and sexually transmitted diseases.
Attorney General and Justice Minister T.J. Burke is backing the legislation—Burke applauded the Liberals for being “pro-active” on homosexual rights.
The Attorney General’s support for the pro-homosexual legislation follows his about-face last week on a measure that would permit marriage commissioners to refuse to conduct marriages based on their religious beliefs.
While Burke at first spoke out in support of the measure, just days later he backed down, announcing March 7 that he would not support the proposed legislation. Private Members Bill 37 had been attacked by homosexual activists as discriminatory.
Burke had initially said the measure would not conflict with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on same-sex equality issues.
Burke told the Telegraph-Journal at the time, “We’re not going to oppose the bill. The bill provides preference in choice for individuals who wish to perform same-sex marriages and who wish to decline. There’s nothing really that’s going to change with respect to the amendment”
“As far as I’m concerned, until the Supreme Court of Canada says employment trumps an individuals’ religious rights, then the religious rights of the employee trump the position of employment.”
Later, however, the justice minister said upon further reading he would no longer support the measure.
MLA David Alward, who authored Bill 37, said the newly elected Liberal government was succumbing to outside pressure.
“You know, this shows that they’re bending to pressure,” Alward told the CBC. “It shows that they’re not ready to govern. I have questions about what’s changed in the last 48 hours.”
Karl Csaszar, head of Fredericton’s branch of the Canada Family Action Coalition, told the CBC he was doubtful the bill would withstand challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, given recent court decisions against religious freedom.
“The Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not seem to apply equally to people of faith or people who say ‘my conscience won’t allow me to go down that road,’" Csaszar said. "It just seems the courts are not willing to listen to that particular argument, especially if it comes from people of faith."
See related LifeSiteNews coverage:
Activists Fight Bill Permitting Marriage Commissioners to Refuse Homosexual "Marriages"