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T)pe has say on marriage

but govt has final word - PMO

C<tttW»at News Service
A spokesperson for Prime Minister
Paul Maitm respectfully rebuffed Sat-
urday the latest criticism by Pope John
Paul H of the Liberal government's plan
to introduce legislation supporting
same-sex marriage.

"The government respects and is fuJ-
ly aware of the Pope's position on the
matter of same-sex marriage and any
decision on that issue vriU be taken by
the Parliament of Canada," Melanie
Gruer, Martin's spokeswoman, said
when informed of the Pope's cridosm
during a meeting with Canada's new
ambassador to the Vatican.



Law risks 'false understanding,' Pope says

• Continued from Al
Gnier, however) added that she did not
know what, if any) impact the Pope's crit-
icism might have on individual MPs) who
will have to vote on legislation the Lib-
eral have promised to introduce.
The government has asked the
Supreme Court of Canada to vet its draft
legislation, which is opposed by the

Roman Catholic Church, as well as by
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper
and many other MPs.
Donald Smith, Canada's new ambas-
sador to the Vatican, met the pontiff Sat-
urday. Pope John Paul used the meeting
to reiterate the church's opposition to le-
galizing same-sex marriage.
"The institution of marriage necessar-
ily entails the complementarity of hus-
bands and wives who participate in

God's creative activity through the rais-
ing of children," the Pope reportedly
"Spouses thereby ensure the survival
of society and culture, and rightly de-
serve specific and categorical legal recog-
nition by the state."
He warned Smith that same-sex unions
create a "false understanding" of the in-
stitution of marriage.
"Any attempts to change the meaning
of the word 'spouse' contradicts right rea-
son: legal guarantees, analogous to those
granted to marriage, cannot be applied
to unions between persons of the same



sex without creating a false under-
standing of the nature of marriage."
The criticism is only the latest of sev-
eral attempts by the Roman Catholic
Church to deter Ottawa from allowing
same-sex marriages.
In June, Ottawa's Roman Catholic
archbishop had a private phone con-
versation with Prime Minister Paul Mar-
tin) a Catholic, about the conflict be-
tween his religion and his political stand
on same-sex marriage and abortion.
Archbishop Marcel Gervais, who the
archdiocese says is the prime minister's
personal pastor) followed up on the

phone call with a letter to Martin.
Gervais has criticized former prime
minister Jean Chreden, also a Catholic,
and other former cabinet ministers over
their support for same-sex marriages
and abortion.
The archbishop, who was visiting with
family in London, 0nt was not available
for comment Saturday.
While three provinces — Quebec) On-
tario and British Columbia — already al-
low same-sex marriage, Canada's rela-
tions with the Vatican have been strained
over Ottawa's plan to legalize same-sex

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Posted 2004 09 06