CCCB's President Asks the Federal Minister of Justice to Protect the Institution of Marriage

Thursday, July 18 2002

The Honourable Martin Cauchon, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
East Memorial Building, 4th Floor
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario

Dear Mr. Cauchon:

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is greatly troubled by the recent decision of the Ontario Divisional Court that the definition of marriage be changed to include same sex partnerships.

Three years ago, members of the House of Commons overwhelmingly affirmed: That in the opinion of this House, it is necessary, in light of public debate around recent court decisions, to state that marriage is and should remain the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, and that Parliament will take all necessary steps within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada to preserve this definition of marriage in Canada. In keeping with this resolution, we urge you to appeal the decision of the Ontario Divisional Court.

Marriage as a public commitment between a man and a woman has profound religious significance for all faiths. The State also has a fundamental interest in a social institution that continues to be the place where most children are procreated and nurtured and, according to recent statistics, continues to be the most stable environment in which to raise a family. In a case decided by the British Columbia Supreme Court last October, Mr. Justice Pitfield said: The state has a demonstrably genuine justification in affording recognition, preference, and precedence to the nature and character of the core social and legal arrangement by which society endures.

Please take whatever measures are necessary to respect the deeply held convictions of the majority of Canadians that marriage between a man and a woman is a unique institution that is deeply rooted in our history, culture and religious traditions. It has a vital social dimension and is essential to the future of society.


+ Most Reverend Jacques Berthelet C.S.V.
Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops