OTTAWA, August 12, 2003 ( – Margaret A. Somerville, Professor of Law at the McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, wrote in Friday’s Globe and Mail that the religious belief which holds homosexual behaviour as immoral “cannot inform law or public policy.”  Somerville, regarded by many as a conservative pro-religion commentator, did defend the “right to such a belief—as a matter of freedom of religion and conscience” and the right “to express that view”…“in the public square—as a matter of freedom of speech.”  Somerville, who accepts homosexuality and legal recognition of homosexual unions, but not the conferring of the word “marriage” on such unions, says religions may comment publicly on “marriage” since it involves religions but not on homosexuality or homosexual partnerships.  “Those opposing same-sex marriage”, she writes, “are wrong to do so in the public square (as compared with inside their religions) on the grounds of the immorality of homosexuality, or to lump in objections to the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships, as the Vatican has done.”  Thinking herself eminently wiser than the Church with its 2000 years of experience, Somerville imperiously writes, “Your Holiness, with respect, the Church should leave to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. A religion’s stance on the morality of same-sex civil partnerships, while it is relevant and should be heard, has no special status in the public square in a secular society.”  Somerville accuses the Vatican of adding “substantially” to the “already involved multiple confusions” around the same-sex ‘marriage’ debate.  Pointing to just such a disturbing mindset as Somerville’s, Pembroke Bishop Richard Smith, in a recent homily which touched on “the redefinition of marriage”, said, “This issue in particular reveals with alarming clarity the mindset of some of our leaders and citizens that should be of serious concern to all; a mindset that holds that religion and traditional religious values are of no consequence in the formulation of public policy; furthermore, a mindset that believes that the development and maintenance of our social fabric need have no recourse to natural law nor even to reason itself.”  The bishop warned, “This must be challenged, because any society that seeks to live without reference to the will of God and contrary to his purposes as known in the natural law is sowing the seeds of its own demise.”  He urged, “We must speak out. We cannot afford to remain silent.”  See the Globe and Mail column by Somerville: