Canadian Council of Churches unable to take a stand on same-sex marriage

Posted: Friday, October 22, 2004

TORONTO (AP) The Canadian Council of Churches announced it was unable to take a position on legalization of same-sex marriage as the nation's Supreme Court held hearings on the issue.

The council's president, historian Richard Schneider, stated that ''given the wide spectrum of positions and theologies across the member churches there is at present no possibility of consensus.''

The council includes 19 Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox and Roman Catholic denominations.

The United Church of Canada told the Supreme Court it ''unequivocally supports the rights of same-sex couples to have access to civil marriage'' and equally, the right of religious groups to refuse to perform such ceremonies, Ecumenical News International reported.

But lawyers representing the Roman Catholic Church, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Islamic congregations and others testified that legalization could cause legal jeopardy for religions that teach against homosexual practices.

The Western Catholic Reporter commented that the majority of council members oppose same-sex marriage and the organization has spoken on issues like Iraq, ballistic missile defense, patenting of life forms and national health insurance.

Courts in British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Yukon territory have allowed same-sex marriage; a Saskatchewan ruling is pending.

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