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Gay and Lesbian Catholic Groups Applaud Same-Sex Marriage in Canada

Contact Information: 

Norman Prince, Dignity Canada Dignité, 514-954-4408   
Debbie Weill, DignityUSA, 202-861-0017 (office), 202-725-5894 (cell)

Call on Church Leaders to Welcome Homosexual Families into the Church

Montreal, Quebec – Organized gay and lesbian Catholics in the United States and Canada applaud the government of Canada in legalizing same-sex marriage after much debate and bitter opposition from the Canadian Catholic Bishops and the Vatican.

“Canadians can be proud that their members of Parliament have taken a stand in favour of equality and have affirmed once again our world-wide reputation as a country that is open, inclusive and welcoming,” commented Norman Prince, president of Dignity Canada Dignité. “If only we could say the same of our church.”

While making civil marriage available to same-sex couples across Canada, the new law emphasizes that church or religious officials will not be forced to perform marriages that are contrary to their beliefs.

In several documents distributed to Catholics, the Canadian Bishops have praised marriage as a cornerstone of society that must be protected but consistently failed to explain how same-sex couples threaten the institution or ought to be excluded from civil marriage. In some dioceses, individual bishops have refused the sacraments to politicians who favoured equal marriage.

The new Canadian law has been condemned by Pope Benedict XVI as “pseudo-matrimony” and a “violent attack aimed at the natural family,” and the Canadian Bishops have instructed Catholics to “continue to oppose” same-sex marriage notwithstanding Canada’s traditional separation of church and state.  Canada’s leading Cardinal, Marc Ouellet adds that the Church will refuse to baptize the children of gay and lesbian families.

“The Catholic church has always married whom it wished and refused others according to its own rules,” added Prince.  “Canadians have said no to the church’s attempt to impose its rules on citizens of all faiths.”

Several mainstream churches, including the United Church of Canada, have endorsed the new law and will perform marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

“We congratulate Canada in recognizing the many contributions made by same-sex families and how they strengthen Canadian society,” observed Debbie Weill, Executive Director of DignityUSA.  “There is growing momentum for same-sex marriage around the world. We call upon our church leaders to see how God’s love is manifest in gay and lesbian families and call upon our own political leaders to support same-sex marriage.”

Dignity Canada Dignité is Canada’s organization of Roman Catholics who are concerned about our church’s sexual theology, particularly as it pertains to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons. They work in collaboration with other Catholic organizations seeking reform in our church’s leadership and teachings. Membership is free and open to all who share our concerns.

DignityUSA is the United States’ foremost organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, their families, friends and supporters. Founded in 1969, it is an independent nonprofit organization with members and chapters across the country.  DignityUSA works for full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the life of the Church and society.