c. 2003 Religion News Service Faith Groups Address Same-Sex Marriage OTTAWA (RNS) The world’s major faiths all understand marriage as being between one man and one woman, an interfaith coalition has told Ontario’s Court of Appeal. In one of three legal cases challenging the traditional definition of marriage, the Interfaith Coalition on Marriage and Family told Ontario’s top court last week that the world’s largest faith groups “do not and cannot accept a fundamental redefinition of marriage to include same-sex partnerships.” In its factum (brief) to the court, the coalition, which includes evangelical Protestant, Catholic, Sikh and Muslim representatives, said clergy in nearly all denominations would be unwilling or unable to solemnize same-sex marriages. The court is hearing an appeal of a lower court ruling last summer which held that the traditional definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. A Quebec court arrived at the same conclusion last year, while a British Columbia court last year upheld the traditional nature of marriage, and said Parliament could not redefine marriage.
c. 2003 Religion News Service South African Archbishop Says Church Cannot Avoid Same-Sex Unions (RNS) The Anglican archbishop of South Africa said his church cannot avoid the controversial subject of same-sex unions, even though U.S. Episcopal bishops advised their church against sanctioning rites for gay couples. A report submitted to Cape Town Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane by a panel of lay and clergy leaders said same-sex marriages, while “infrequent,” can be found throughout African cultures and are “considered far from abnormal.” The report is significant because most other Anglican bishops in Africa strongly oppose homosexuality, an issue that has strained relations with more liberal Western churches, including the Episcopal Church in the United States. It also stands in contrast to a March 17 recommendation by U.S. bishops that the church not move to allow gay unions “because at this time we are nowhere near consensus in the church regarding the blessing of homosexual relationships.” The Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion, will vote this summer on whether to authorize marriage-like rites for same-sex couples. Conservatives have vowed to fight the measure.