From the Worldwide Faith News archives

UCC to Appear Before Supreme Court of Canada on Same-Sex

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Fri, 23 Apr 2004 13:10:34 -0700

For Immediate Release -- Friday, April 23, 2004


Toronto:  Canada's largest Protestant denomination, The United Church of
Canada, announced today that it has been granted the right to intervene
in the Supreme Court hearing on same-sex marriage that is scheduled for

In its request to appear, the United Church argued that as one of only
three Christian churches that perform same-sex marriages, it had a
direct interest in the issues being raised.  It also said that the
United Church would offer a unique perspective by bringing
philosophical, religious, social, theological, and moral arguments that
support equal marriage for people regardless of their sexual

The United Church's request for intervener status also suggested that in
a debate that is too often characterized as pitting people of faith
against each other or secular equality values, the Supreme Court needed
to hear the perspective of a mainline Christian church that sees
same-sex and opposite-sex couples as being equal in the eyes of God.

The United Church believes that, "Christian morality and religious
principles require that same-sex couples have access to the same
marriage rights as opposite-sex couples."

The United Church's request to appear before the Supreme Court also
argued that its own experience demonstrates that equality for same-sex
couples can be balanced with religious freedom.

"The history of the United Church in dealing with issues relating to
sexual orientation, same-sex families, and religious belief demonstrates
that, through discussion and understanding, the rights of equality and
religious freedom can be balanced.  The United Church has balanced these
rights with respect to same-sex marriage in the way proposed by the
legislation: by making same-sex marriage services generally available
but allowing congregations to refrain from offering such services as a
matter of conscience."

In the conclusion to its motion, the United Church offered a note of

"The United Church has embraced the challenges that have arisen from
issues of sexual orientation over the last twenty years, and can bear
witness that issues of sexual orientation can be resolved in a context
of respect for different positions, with integrity, and can lead to
principled decisions being made that are based on a commitment to
justice and law for all.  The United Church believes that such decisions
result in a more inclusive community, where healing of past divisions
can occur, and where the total community becomes healthier and more

For further information, please contact:
Mary-Frances Denis
Communications Officer
The United Church of Canada
416-231-7680 ext. 2016 (business)
416-766-0057 (residence)


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