For Immediate Release – January 18, 2011: Ottawa, ON – David Anderson, MP (Cypress Hills-Grasslands) today opposed the Saskatchewan Government’s announcement that it will accept the Court of Appeal’s ruling requiring marriage commissioners to perform civil marriage ceremonies for all couples, including same-sex couples.
“The court’s conclusion that forcing Commissioners to perform marriages was appropriate because it did not threaten their private religious beliefs or their right to worship, guarantees that religious/faith rights will be treated as a second tier human right in the future. This decision will ensure the ongoing denigration of a right that has played a major role in creating the country we have today,” Anderson said.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, January 18, Saskatchewan Justice Minister Don Morgan said of the province’s decision to support the ruling, “We understand that among our civil marriage commissioners are people of strong beliefs who live their faith daily. We had hoped there might be some way to reconcile their right to religious freedom with the right of same-sex couples to marry …We have not found any workable options that would achieve the government’s original intent for reasonable accommodation.”
In response, Anderson questioned Minister Morgan’s rationale for the decision. “No person who has an active faith perspective keeps that as ‘private’ and separate from all other areas of their life. The idea is laughable – to live with one set of beliefs and to act in a way contrary to them has a name in our society – hypocrite. Had this perspective been in place in past centuries the slave trade would still exist, child labour would be common, women would still be second class citizens and there would be no public school system.
“It is because people of faith actively engaged in their culture that these situations were changed. It is also ludicrous to even imagine the judges’ applying this rationale to the other side of the argument, that is ‘Sorry, but you can do what you want as long as it is done only in private and only with people of like mind. That is sufficient to ensure that your rights are protected’.
“The court’s attempt to privatize all religious/faith perspectives must be opposed. I am very disappointed that the Province chose not to challenge it. We must demand better and insist on equality of rights,” concluded Anderson.
Ottawa Swift Current
ARPA Note: Mr. Anderson’s contact information is here. Consider sending him a thank-you note.