Redefining marriage to permit same-sex unions would trigger serious and unpredictable consequences
throughout Canadian society, Roman Catholic archbishop Aloysius Ambrozic told Canadian prime minister Paul Martin on Wednesday. The cardinal made his comments in an open letter to Martin, published in Toronto's The Globe and Mail newspaper, calling on Martin to abandon plans to legalize same-sex marriage across Canada. "The conjugal partnership of a man and woman is the beginning and basis of human society," Ambrozic wrote. "Tampering with marriage and family poses significant social risks."
Ambrozic, who heads the diocese of Toronto, which boasts 1.4 million adherents, argued that the voice of the people expressed through parliament and not judges should decide on an issue as fundamental as marriage, according to Agence France-Presse. Canada's supreme court last year gave the government the go-ahead to change the definition of marriage, and seven of the country's provinces and territories have authorized same-sex marriage. The government had taken the unusual step of asking for a supreme court ruling on draft legislation last year.
Government plans would see the definition of marriage changed to the "lawful union of two persons," rather than the "lawful union of one man and one woman." But Ambrozic called on Martin to invoke a constitutional override mechanism, which allows laws to operate for five years even if judges have ruled them in contravention of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canada's bill of rights. That, he said, would provide time for Canadians to engage in a debate on an issue he said could fundamentally change society.