Letter to Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada: The Catholic Bishops of Canada encourage Stephen Harper to maintain his position on the definition of marriage

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Mr. Stephen Harper
Official Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

Dear Mr. Harper:

The Roman and Eastern Catholic Bishops of Canada stand united in their opposition to legislation that would redefine marriage in such a way that it is no longer recognized as the unique, essential and fundamental relationship of a man and a woman.

The conjugal partnership of a man and a woman constitutes a unique good for society, providing a stable and positive environment for children and thus for future generations.

As the spiritual leaders of Canada’s 13 million Catholics, together with millions of other Canadians of different faith traditions and of no religious affiliation, we have called on the Government of Canada and all political parties to implement legislation that will recognize, protect and reaffirm the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Mr. Harper, we strongly encourage you to maintain your position on the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and to ensure that all members of your party can vote according to their conscience on the draft legislation being presented before the House of Commons. Such a free vote would be in keeping with the recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada which confirmed that the proposed redefinition of marriage is not to infringe on freedom of conscience and religion. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in its second article, clearly guarantees freedom of conscience and religion as well as freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression (Art 2).

We hope this debate, which is important for all Canadian society, will result in the protection of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.


Most Reverend Brendan M. O’Brien
Archbishop of St. John’s
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

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