(LifeSiteNews.com) On February 17, 2005, the Canadian government began the debate in Parliament over same sex 'marriage' legislation. On the same day, Marc Cardinal Ouellet, the Primate of the Catholic Church in Canada warned that Canada was toying with basic religious freedom and was falling into juridical chaos in the determination to impose same sex'marriage'. He said that the civil foundation of Canadian society was being undermined by 'subjectivism', the idea that rights are not based on objective, external reality, but upon personal desires.
The Cardinal said in a telephone interview with the US bishops' Catholic News Service, that with the imposition of homosexual 'marriage', "everything becomes arbitrary and you have no foundations for civil rights or civil marriage."
The government and the Canadian press are making much of the so-called religious protections in the bill. Prime Minister Martin has repeatedly stated that no religious minister will be forced to perform the unions. But the Cardinal warned that the law is no guarantee in a legal atmosphere where meanings can be arbitrarily changed. He said, "If the words can be twisted in this way, so religious freedom, too, or any other thing can be twisted in any way according to the arbitrary power of pressure groups."
The basic fact of marriage, said Ouellet, is "that a man is a man and a woman is a woman, and their union is marriage." He said, "If you take (conjugality) out, you don't have marriage. You have something else. You have a generic sort of union, but you don't have marriage." His comment summarizes the objections made by Canadians supporting the traditional meaning of marriage, that the issue is not one of human rights, but of making the definition of 'marriage' so broad as to effectively eradicate it.
The Cardinal echoed the warnings from many Christian and Jewish and Muslim leaders that the legislation will do nothing to protect religious ministers. "It will divide the country deeply and for a long time, and it will put religious freedom under attack in the very near future," he said. The law also makes no provision for lay religious citizens or groups that might fall afoul of the gay hate crime law as well. "There is a sort of abusive interpretation of discrimination and the fundamental right to marriage," said Ouellet.
The Cardinal said he knew that the next step in the process would be to force total acceptance of homosexuality and gay sex upon religious persons. "They will be forced to teach that homosexuality and heterosexuality are the same thing, that they are equally acceptable, even if contrary to their convictions," he said.
Cardinal Ouellet said that the restriction of religious freedom to the right to refuse to perform the ceremony was narrow and inadequate. There is more to religion and to religious freedom than what goes on inside the Churches on Sundays. He said he was concerned with the conscience rights of Canadians who work in government or in the public school system.
"If they bring me to the court because I am teaching against homosexuality as part of the doctrine of the Catholic Church, I will be accused of homophobia," he said. "Those things are very serious, and it's on the way. We are very concerned, very concerned with the future," he said.