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Marriage & Family
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Tax Policies

One of the primary tasks of the family is the care of its members, including dependent children. Tax policies do little to acknowledge the financial expense and the benefit to society of raising children. Currently, single income families with dependent children pay more taxes than dual income families with dependent children based on equal family income. In a 1998 COMPAS poll, 82% of respondents said the government should make it a priority to change the tax law to make it easier for parents with young children to afford to have one parent at home.[1]

The Road to Redefinition

The cases that ultimately determined that the heterosexual definition of marriage is discriminatory started in 2000 in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. The first decision was that of Justice Pitfield of the B.C. Supreme Court. He ruled in October 2001 that marriage was by its nature between a man and a woman and that the Charter cannot be used to challenge that definition.

On July 12, 2002, however, the Ontario Division Court overruled its 1993 decision upholding the heterosexual definition of marriage. It ruled instead that the restriction that marriage be between a man and a woman was discriminatory against gays and lesbians and gave the federal government 24 months to pass legislation to remedy the discrimination. The B.C. Court of Appeal made a similar ruling on May 1, 2003.

The major change to marriage was the Ontario Court of Appeal decision on June 10, 2003 which redefined marriage to “between two persons” effective immediately. The federal government decided not to appeal this ruling so this became the law in Ontario. As cases came up in other provinces, the courts ruled that because this decision had not been appealed and applies to an area of federal law, it must be considered the law in all provinces. 

In June 2004, the House of Commons passed Bill C-38, the Marriage for Civil Purposes Act, which redefines the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, and in July, 2005 the Senate approved the bill.  On June 20, 2005, Bill C-38 received royal assent as became law.

In December 2006 the federal government fulfilled an election promise by tabling a motion in the House of Commons as follows:

That this house call on the government to introduce legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage without affecting civil unions, and while respecting existing same sex marriages."

The motion was defeated by a vote of 175 to 123. Prime Minister Harper announced after the vote that he would not bring the issue back before Parliament again. 


Same-Sex Marriage is the Law - Where do we go from here?

We feel a profound sense of loss – the loss of the shared societal understanding of marriage. However, our commitment to the gospel of Christ is not shaken:

  • We will continue to support efforts to recognize the historic definition of marriage;   
    We will promote marriage as a covenantal relationship before God of one man and one woman, in accordance with Scripture;
  • We are urging provincial governments to pass legislation to protect religious freedom in relation to the solemnization of marriage for clergy, churches and civil marriage officials;
  • We encourage churches to have written policies on their religious beliefs and practices of marriage and have resources available to assist;
  • We are advising people as to their rights to religious freedom: civil marriage officials and those involved in the wedding business (caterers, florists, photographers and musicians);
  • We are gearing up to deal with issues in the education system, in particular, religious freedom for teachers and students who are committed to the historic understanding of marriage.


[1] Chris Cobb, "Canadians want government to give more help to families," National Post, November 25, 1998.

Issue: Marriage & Family

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Protecting Religious Freedom 
Federal/Provincial Jurisdiction

Helpful Links

Marriage Declaration signed by 50 Evangelical, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox Christian as well as Muslim Leaders in defense of the traditional definition of marriage. Disponible en francais.


EFC Statement "What Is Marriage?"

Developing Church Policies on Marriage Handbook

EFC President Responds to Civil Marriage Act

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