The Doug Ford government Bill 213 contains two sections that are a direct attack on freedom of religion and church marital practices, and I object!
I am alarmed by the details of Bill 213, as introduced by Premier Doug Ford’s government in the Ontario legislature on October 6th, 2020. Two sections in the proposed legislation pose a direct attack on freedom of religion and the marital practices of Ontario churches.
Schedule 8 of the bill proposes to amend Ontario’s Marriage Act to give a single government cabinet minister two new powers over those who perform marriages in the province.
These new powers would give a single politician the ability to:
- create – behind closed doors – a “Code of Practice” that must be adhered to by anyone authorized to marry couples in Ontario; and
- cancel the license of any marriage officiant – including a church official – if their marital practices do not comply with the new “Code of Practice” or if that politician believes that cancelling the marriage license would be “in the public interest.”
The contents of the “Code of Practice” and the exact definition of “in the public interest” are not included in Bill 213. This would be decided at a later date – behind closed doors – without a debate or vote in the Ontario legislature.
Another section of Bill 213 – Schedule 3 – proposes to amend the Change of Name Act. As a result, any woman choosing to take on her husband’s surname after marriage would be forced to go through the burden of legally changing her surname by submitting an application that consists of 21 different sections.
These proposed changes are an unprecedented attempt to impose the provincial government on the marital practices of our churches and other places of worship.
They were introduced during Premier Ford’s prolonged use of emergency powers and his mishandling of COVID-19 – a period where all of Ontario is preoccupied by the state of our economy and the health of our neighbours.
This gives the impression that Premier Ford’s government was hoping none of us would notice these proposals included in Bill 213. However, I caught the sinister changes when I was reading every single clause of the bill, line-by-line.
I voiced my objection.
And I will continue to voice my objection until these sections of Bill 213
are shelved, permanently.