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Equal Marriage for Same-Sex Couples: Affirming Religious Freedom

Q. How will same-sex marriage enhance religious freedom?
Some religions (e.g. United Church, Reform Rabbis, Unitarians, Metropolitan Community Churches) want to marry same-sex couples, but are not legally permitted to do so.

Allowing same-sex couples to marry will only enhance religious freedom: those religions that want to marry same-sex couples will be able to do so; those religions that don’t want to marry same-sex couples won’t have to.

 

Q. What about respecting religions that believe homosexuality is immoral?

As noted by Rev. Joel Crouse, a Lutheran pastor in Ottawa:
“This is a case of compatible, not competing freedoms. Giving same-sex couples the right to marry should not be seen as a threat to a church’s right to choose which couples it marries inside its doors. In fact, wherever we stand on this issue, this is the kind of diversity of opinion – and freedom of choice – that we should celebrate, and protect, in Canada.”

Orthodox Rabbi Steven Greenberg believes that Orthodox Judaism does not permit the marriage of same-sex couples. However he supports their civil marriage:

Civil marriage provides an umbrella under which we all can live, despite our very passionate differences. That civil marriage is permitted to persons who do not meet the criteria of one or more religions is not a cause for concern, but rather for celebration. That the two institutions can be different not only demonstrates the ability of civil marriage to be separate from religious practice, but also the ability of religious marriage to choose its own course. That is certainly a victory for freedom of religion.

 

Q. Could Churches lose their charitable status if they refuse to marry same-sex couples?

No. The right of churches not to marry same-sex couples is protected by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion. Government cannot penalize someone for exercising their Charter rights.

 

EQUAL MARRIAGE: YOU KNOW IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO