On Wednesday, Canada’s House of Senate approved the same-sex marriage bill, making Canada the fourth nation in the world to legalize gay marriages.
Bruce Clemenger, president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), said: "Today our government has chosen to redefine the foundational institution of our society. The consequences of this massive social experiment have not been fully examined or understood."
The bill, drafted by Prime Minister Paul Martin’s minority Liberal Party government, was signed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverly McLahlin and later approved by the Senate late Tuesday night despite oppositions. The bill will grant homosexuals full rights as those in traditional unions; prior to the legislation, already eight of Canada’s ten provinces and two of its three territories have legalized the practice.
Ione Christensen, the 71-year-old senator from Whitehorse, said: "You have no idea what a difference it makes to the human spirit to know that you are treated equally under the law."
The bill was not passed without a severe debate among the House of Senate. The Liberals threatened to invoke closure and call a snap vote on C-38, before finally managing to call for the vote.
Tory Senator Gerry St. Germain said during the session: "Let the country speak at the next federal election. Let’s not pass this legislation now. Let’s wait. Let’s make (the election) a referendum on this bill."
Clemenger said that EFC firmly rejects the law, and he warned that the danger would be placed on children if such ideology is embedded through maturity. "With the passage of this legislation, the government has reconfigured marriage as a primarily adult-centered institution, and surrendered its ability to champion the rights of children to know and be raised by a mother and a father."
Other evangelicals have expressed the same disappointment over the approval. Charles McVety, a spokesman for Defend Marriage Canada and president of Canada christian College, said he was "very sad that the state has invaded the church, breached separation of church and state and redefined a religious word."
Rev. Thomas Wang, the president of Great Commission Center International, in an e-mail sent to Chinese christian leaders nationwide, stated, “With a heavy heart I am writing to inform you that Canada's Senate voted to legalize gay marriage… Let us continue to pray for Canada.”
The only way to prevent the bill from becoming law now is for the government to use the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause, which has so far never been used in the history of the Charter of Rights.
Netherland, Belgium, and Spain are the only other nations that have legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.