The Conservative Party Position – Pro-Marriage or Not?
OTTAWA, February 2, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Although the Reform and Alliance parties have faithfully opposed the Liberal’s on-going advancement of homosexuality “rights”, the current official opposition’s position on the same-sex ‘marriage’ bill is a mystery to many political observers. Undoubtedly, questionable compromises extracted to bring about the merger of the Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties is a major factor in the schizoid Conservative strategy.
At his press conference Monday Conservative Party Justice critic Vic Toews deftly exposed the mile-wide holes in the Liberal’s claims that Bill C-38 protects religious freedom. He called the claim a “sham”. Toews also convincingly emphasized that a change in the definition of the word “marriage” will likely have broad, negative social ramifications, given the social importance and history of the institution of marriage.
Toews exposed the Liberal’s duplicity in that they made no effort in their bill to change the income tax act and amend charitable status regulations to protect organizations conscientiously opposed to same-sex marriage. This, he noted, was fully within their jurisdiction unlike the government’s empty assurances about matters not within their jurisdiction.
Finally, the Conservative Justice critic warned that “The Liberals are trying to force this Bill through Parliament with as little debate as possible” and are even “proposing to restructure the committee system” to facilitate their scheme.
Other than the above, however, there were serious questions about the Conservative strategy and where the party really stood. More than one reporter at MP Toew’s press conference expressed sincere confusion about the Conservative’s exact position.
Toews stated, “The Conservative party will be proposing amendments to provide clear recognition of the traditional definition of marriage”, but then continued that they would also, “provide full recognition of same-sex relationships as possessing equal rights and privileges.”
The Conservative leadership seems to have completely rejected warnings by some pro-marriage leaders that marriage would be further devastated and Canadians robbed of religious freedom and conscience rights whether homosexual couples are given marriage rights under the word “marriage”, “civil unions” or any other terminology.
Boston’s Archbishop Sean O’Malley stated last year on behalf of the Massachusetts bishops, “We are concerned with proposals to give same-sex couples identical benefits and protections to those given to husbands and wives that pose a grave threat to religious liberty and the freedom of conscience.” Robert Knight of the US Culture and Family Institute wrote last year, “Civil unions are a Trojan horse for gay marriage — and more. They are just gay marriage by another name.”
A reporter asked Conservative Party critic Toews, “I hear you saying you want to extend all the rights, benefit, obligations of marriage to same-sex couples, except the right to use the word marriage, is that correct?
“That’s essentially the point”, replied Toews, on behalf of his party.
He also added that the Conservative’s amendments would “provide substantive protections in the context of federal law for religious institutions, and I might add, public officials, who for reasons of conscience have concerns about the direction in the law.” But then a reporter stated his observation to Toews that “the only way to prevent those cases is not to have this bill because there is no way you can add an amendment to protect the churches and the groups. The only way according to you is to remove the bill that has been presented today.
Toews replied, ‘Absolutely.” He stated a few moments later, “Federal common law and federal statutes, those are the types of amendment that we will address if we fail to….”. It was notable that he avoided stating, “if we fail to defeat the bill”, but rather stumbled with a reference to Harper’s strategy.
The reporter gave him an opportunity to state the bill should be defeated but the Conservative spokesman was obviously given instructions to avoid such a statement.