VANCOUVER, October 3, 2001 (LSN.ca) – In a ruling yesterday from the British Columbia Supreme Court, marriage was upheld as the union between a man and a woman – barring homosexual unions from the institution. Mr. Justice Pitfield stated in his decision that the common law definition of marriage, which is the union between a man and a woman only, cannot be extended to include same-sex relationships. Both the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) and REAL Women of Canada, interveners in the case as part of the Interfaith Coalition, told LifeSite they were very pleased with the decision.
Janet Epp Buckingham, general legal counsel for the EFC, explained, “Justice Pitfield took a three-fold approach to the case.” He first found that it would not be appropriate for him to judicially redefine marriage. Secondly he ruled that the constitution upholds the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. Finally, addressing the Charter challenge pursued by the homosexual activists who brought the case, he determined that it does not stand up since it would pit one part of the constitution against another.
The statements of Justice Pitfield in the EGALE Canada Inc. et al. v. The Attorney General of Canada et al. are particularly clear. “Parliament may not enact legislation to change the legal meaning of marriage to include same-sex unions,” he said. And in another place he said: “I concur in the submission of the Attorney General of Canada that the core distinction between same-sex and opposite-sex relationships is so material in the Canadian context that no means exist by which to equate same-sex relationships to marriage while at the same time preserving the fundamental importance of marriage to the community.”
Gwen Ladolt of REAL Women told LifeSite that the decision will be most helpful in a similar upcoming case in Ontario. She said however, that a similar case in Quebec finished arguments in September and is awaiting a ruling.
The Interfaith Coalition was 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.