TORONTO, Jan. 12, 2012 /CNW/ - In a statement released today, The United
Church of Canada has called on the Canadian government to reassure
non-resident same-sex couples, and the clergy who married them, that
Canada recognizes their marriages as valid.
"The legitimacy of the love expressed in the covenant of marriage is not
dependent on where a couple lives," says the church's Moderator, Mardi
Tindal. "Canada recognizes same-sex marriage in its legislation, and
therefore, all such marriages that are duly licensed should be
Tindal adds that she's very concerned about the shock and pain that
today's news headlines may have caused, given how long a struggle it
has been for same-sex couples to be recognized in the first place.
"I have been married for several decades to a man I deeply love. I
cannot even imagine how it would feel to be told my marriage is no
longer valid," says Tindal.
The United Church of Canada is well-known for its advocacy in support of
same-sex marriage. In a submission to the Supreme Court of Canada in
2004, the church argued that same-sex couples should have the right to
be legally married. When the Canadian government introduced same-sex
marriage legislation in 2005, the church called it a "win-win"
At that time, the church said, "Marriage will be enhanced, not
diminished, religious freedom will be protected, not threatened, and
Canadian society will be strengthened, not weakened, as a result of
Tindal adds, "If Canada is prepared to marry non-resident same-sex
couples, then we must be prepared to work with them when a relationship
ends and a couple seeks a divorce."
She explains that many United Church ministers have officiated in good
faith at weddings for same-sex couples, providing a spiritual blessing
to a legal commitment. It would be a significant disappointment, not
only to the couples involved but also to the ministers who have
performed these marriage ceremonies, to be told that some of these
marriages are not valid.
"As followers of Jesus Christ, The United Church of Canada believes that
God calls us foremost to an expansive love that crosses boundaries and
borders," says Tindal. "We look forward to the government's
confirmation that irrespective of the willingness of other states or
countries to recognize same-sex marriage, Canada has and will stand by
SOURCE United Church of Canada
For further information:
The United Church of Canada
416-231-7680 ext. 2016 (office)