Speaking notes of Most Rev. Marcel Gervais, Archbishop of Ottawa

Press Conference Declaration on Marriage

9 November 2006

Marriage is a most important state in life, because on it depends the future of the human race. Not only the procreation of offspring, but the quality upbringing of these offspring. Giving to the church and to the world children who have learned to love, is what marriage should provide.

The Lord gives us the model of a man and a woman, the model of self-giving love that unites them to each other, and for life. The two become one flesh in the child of their marriage. For the sake of the children born of their love, stability and fidelity is paramount. This is the model that our God has given us and that our Lord Jesus confirmed for us.

Now, today we are being asked to say to ourselves and to our children that this arrangement is interchangeable with the intimate relationship of two men or two women. It is first of all a question of universal human experience: a man and woman are potential parents, always identified by the unique designation marriage. The intimate relationship between two of the same sex cannot be marriage.

What do I think of the efforts of homosexuals to have their stable, loving relationships recognized? In terms of society, I think it is much better to encourage stable, loving relationship than not to encourage them.

No one disputes that same sex partners can truly love each other and wish to share their life together (Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Senate, 13 July 2005). For heterosexuals, marriage is one way to maintain and promote order in sexuality. Some kind of recognition of stable, loving relationship is better than no societal recognition of stability and fidelity in human relationships.

The Catechism of the Church teaches just this attitude: Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. (Catechism, #2333).

In the 48 years of my priesthood I have seen the ordeals, including hatred and bigotry, faced by people with same sex attractions.

The Church requires us to avoid every sign of unjust discrimination against people with same sex attractions.

I completely support this teaching. But lets call marriage what it is - marriage, and this other reality another designation.

Our appeal today is that law and public policy recognize the essential and unique importance of marriage as the union of one man and one woman for the security, nurturing and well-being of children. The best interests of the child must prevail over adults exercise of their liberty.