Canadian Bid to Pursue Homosexual-Marriage Raises Fears

Family Advocates in U.S. Wary of Move by Chrétien

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OTTAWA, JUNE 18, 2003 ( The Canadian government’s declaration that it will change the definition of marriage to include homosexuals should be a warning for the United States, says a family-advocacy group.

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien on Wednesday said the federal government won’t appeal recent court rulings in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec that said the banning of homosexual marriages is unconstitutional.

«Rather, we will be proposing legislation that will protect the right of churches and religious organizations to sanctify marriage as they define it,» Chrétien said in a statement, reported by the Globe and Mail.

When the legislation is drafted, it will be referred to the Supreme Court. After that, it will be put to a free vote in the House of Commons, Chrétien said, according to the Toronto newspaper.

South of the border, in Washington, D.C., the private Family Research Council sounded a warning about the Canadian development.

«Marriage is the foundational institution of civilization,» said council president Ken Connor. «It transcends cultures, religions and nationalities. Yet, as a member of the Canadian Parliament put it, a 5,000-year-old institution that is the best arrangement for raising and nurturing children is being systematically deconstructed.»

He added: «Unless the American people rise up to defend this indispensable institution, we could lose marriage in a very short time. What’s happening in Canada is a warning to America.»

A bill has been introduced in the U.S. Congress by Senator Hillary Clinton that would provide many of the rights of marriage to same-sex couples. The California State Assembly is considering a similar bill.

The Netherlands and Belgium are the only countries that currently grant legal status to same-sex marriages.

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