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Letter to Prime Minister of Canada


Re: Same Sex Marriage


February 10, 2005

The Right Honourable Paul Martin
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

Together with other religious groups in Canada, Mennonite Church Canada has followed with interest the public debates, the various court actions, and now the parliamentary debate regarding the changing legal definition of marriage.

Our understanding of God’s intention for marriage is defined in our denominational Confession of Faith: “We believe that God intends marriage to be a covenant between one man and one woman for life. Christian marriage is a mutual relationship in Christ, a covenant made in the context of the church.” We understand that the societal and legal definition is changing, and that there may come to be distinctions between our religiously-based definition and the civil definition of this institution. It is our intention to retain the practice of blessing and sanctifying marriages according to our convictions.

We are encouraged by the intention of your government to protect religious leaders who refuse to sanctify same-sex marriages, understanding the jurisdictional questions that have been raised. We believe this is a significant issue where religious liberty appears to clash with civil liberty (which we also value), and it will undoubtedly be tested in the courts.

Mennonites, like many other people of faith, have a long and often painful history of following our conscience even when it conflicts with socially-approved and legally-sanctioned expectations.

We pray that God will grant wisdom and courage to you and other legislators who carry the burden of leadership on this and many other weighty matters.


Dan Nighswander
General Secretary