LifeSite.net has an interesting article called Conservative Leader’s Proposals to Protect Marriage Puzzles Canadian Conservatives which is worth reading.
OTTAWA, December 16, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s press conference Tuesday outlining his three proposed amendments to the upcoming legislation on same-sex ‘marriage’ left Canada’s social conservative groups scratching their heads.
The first proposal, to amend the legislation so that it “Recognizes the traditional definition of marriage, i.e. one man and one woman”, was welcomed by conservative groups.
The second proposal has caused conservative groups considerable bewilderment and serious concern. The amendment, to ensure the government legislation “Protects the rights of non-traditional unions so that they are afforded the same benefits as married couples,” has raised concerns that Canada’s only Conservative Party is once again ignoring its large core constituency – supporters of the traditional family.
The third amendment, proposing to ensure that the legislation “Provides substantive protection for religious institutions to be free from performing gay marriages,” is being seen as an inadequate offer to protect religious freedom on the issue.
Regarding the third item, Focus on the Family Canada senior policy analyst Anna Marie White told LifeSiteNews.com she was concerned that religious freedoms should be ensured for more than just religious institutions. She indicated the upcoming legislation should provide explicit protection from discrimination for all Canadians who object to same-sex ‘marriage’ for moral reasons. Canada Family Action Coalition Vice President Brian Rushfeldt concurred.
However, in an interview with LifeSiteNews.com, Conservative MP Jason Kenney explained that the party’s proposals were not set in stone. The proposals are “objectives regarding the type of amendments we’d like to see”. It’s a statement of intent,” said Kenney. “The important thing here is for the Conservative Party to use the bill to fight for religious freedom and to acknowledge the traditional definition of marriage,” he added. Specific wording of the amendments will come after the bill is introduced and debated this Spring. Kenney suggested that Harper is keen to protect religious freedom.
Several conservative leaders were most concerned with Harper’s second proposal. Focus on the Family’s White agreed that doling out the benefits of marriage to other relationships would devalue marriage – the institution to which society looks for its future. CFAC’s Rushfeldt said that the Conservative proposal was confusing especially since the Supreme Court has ruled that relationships other than marriage fall within provincial rather than federal jurisdiction. However, according to Kenney, that federal-provincial distinction was not lost on Harper.
LifeSiteNews.com questioned Kenney as to the significance of the second question. Asked, “What impact will such an amendment have since the Supreme Court has already determined that relationships other than marriage are the sole jurisdiction of the provinces?” Kenney replied, “Well it won’t have much of an impact. Its really a political statement that we acknowledge the political reality across the country. Provinces have provided the benefits of marriage to same sex couples. Harper’s proposal is simply an acknowledgement of that reality.”
Kenney portrayed Canadians as being divided into three camps on the issue, with a third supporting the traditional definition of marriage, a third supporting homosexual ‘marriage’ and a third in the middle looking for ‘equality’ for all relationships but not wanting to redefine marriage. He described the controversial proposal as “a political statement which is, quite frankly, an effort to enlist that middle group.”
Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition told LifeSiteNews.com that Canadians are looking for high standards, consistency or integrity in a Conservative leader. “The Tories are attempting to play political strategies to widen the tent to gain more support, however they risk alienating their base,” said Hughes.
All the pro-family leaders LifeSiteNews.com spoke with are urging their supporters to lobby Canada’s MPs to defeat the Liberal’s homosexual ‘marriage’ legislation which is expected to be introduced very soon after Parliament returns from its Christmas recess.
Posted with permission