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Traditional groups call for marriage referendum

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OTTAWA - Groups opposed to same-sex marriage reacted swiftly to Thursday's Supreme Court opinion that Ottawa can legalize gay marriage, with one group saying the traditional definition should be enshrined in the constitution.

The country's highest court said that the federal government has the authority to change the definition of marriage to include gays and lesbians.

landolt gwenGwen Landolt with Real Women of Canada and Catholic Civil Rights League member Richard Bastien called for a referendum on the issue.

  • RELATED STORY: Supreme Court OK's same-sex marriage

"The people of Canada must have a say," said Landolt. "The time has come that we will restore democracy across Canada."

Landolt says the traditional definition of marriage should be enshrined in the constitution.

Bastien says he believes the majority of Canadians don't want same-sex marriage and that Liberal elites and their appointees are driving policy.

"This is a small elite of people and Canadians do not have to accept that," said Bastien.

Pastor Gordon Young of St. John's, Nfld., says he's saddened and shocked by the decision, despite the court opinion that churches opposed to gay marriage won't have to perform the ceremonies.

Young says if the definition of marriage is redefined to two persons, what is to stop a father and a son, or two brothers from marrying.

However, gay rights activists say the court decision takes a strong stand on the protection of religious freedoms.

Douglas Elliott, a lawyer for same-sex couples, said it is important that the court viewed the issue as a civil matter and has extended its strong support for religious freedoms.

"[Losing religious freedom was] the boogeyman trotted out by our opponents and the Supreme Court has said in the strongest possible terms that the courts and human rights commissions will extend their protection to religious groups who disagree with us," said Elliott.

Alex Munter, of Canadians for Equal Marriage, said the ruling protects the rights for lesbians and gays, and called on the government to introduce the legislation as soon as possible.

"We expect to see legislation introduced as soon as Parliament resumes sitting in January," said Munter.

Read more info on: CBC.ca

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Page last updated December 16 2004.

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