Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Same Sex Marriage: The Next Amendment

Yesterday in debate, the Bloc MP for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, Richard Marceau, successfully moved another amendment for Bill C-38, the Civil Marriage Act:

11.1 Section 149.1 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (6.2):
(6.2.1) For greater certainty, subject to subsections (6.1) and (6.2), a registered charity with stated purposes that include the advancement of religion shall not have its registration revoked or be subject to any other penalty under Part V solely because it or any of its members, officials, supporters or adherents exercises, in relation to marriage between persons of the same sex, the freedom of conscience and religion guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Mr. Marceau said, during the debate, that personally he didn't think the amendment was necessary, but the fact that it got unanimous consent tells me that it is.

Remember that the big fear from churches or other quasi-religious organizations is that they would be penalized for refusing to perform an SSM ceremony or allow one to take place on their property. This amendment is the explicit guarantee that's needed to discourage a court challenge by any gay couple snarky enough to try to gouge the local church for not letting them use their chapel.

Looking at the amendment, the definition of "religious organization" is wide enough to cover a church, or church-affiliated club, any members, officials, etc.

Will it be enough to satisfy the social conservatives? No, because the so-cons want the bill to be dropped altogether. But it might be enough for the rest of Canadian society to live with.