Heritage Park Alliance Church
Declaration on Marriage
We affirm that the institution of marriage is the public covenanting together (the example of the wedding at Cana in John 2) of a man and a woman in a loving, enduring and exclusive relationship through which our society may be enriched (Ephesians 5:22-33). Marriage bridges and celebrates sexual difference and is the primary relationship within which children are begotten and nurtured.
The institution of marriage ensures children their birthright to know and be nurtured by a mother and a father in the most stable type of relationship (Ephesians 6:1-4). As Supreme Court Justice La Forest wrote as part of the majority decision in Egan v. Canada: the definition of marriage is “firmly anchored in the biological and social realities that heterosexual couples have the unique ability to procreate, that most children are the product of these relationships, and that they are generally cared for and nurtured by those who live in that relationship. In this sense, marriage is by nature heterosexual.”
Marriage as a life-long covenant between a man and a woman is older than our oldest democratic and parliamentary arrangements, older than our court systems, and is more universally accepted than any code of law ever promulgated (Genesis 2:18-25). Marriage is society’s real and symbolic affirmation of and commitment to a child’s right to know and experience a mother and a father, as recognized in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Canada. Though not every marriage brings new children into the world, it is the context in which most children are born. Thus it is the state in which a woman and a man become responsible co-parents together, embodying the differences and complementarity of the sexes, and labouring in love to entrust the best that they are and have to their offspring.
As a social institution, marriage is primarily concerned with the common good and not individual rights. The marriage of a woman and a man therefore merits deferential government protection and social recognition. The interest of the state in the institution of marriage has always been, and should continue to be, the union of one man and one woman, for the good of society. The recognition of this distinctive relationship in law and public policy is vitally important for the stability and security of our country and its children. As the recent report commissioned by France’s National Assembly has acknowledged: “The best interests of the child must prevail over adults’ exercise of their liberty.”
Changing the definition of marriage involves a repudiation of millennia of history and experience. Redefining marriage as being “between two persons” eclipses the essence and full purpose of marriage; the inner connection between marriage, the complementarity of the sexes, procreation and the raising of children is lost. When severed from its nature and purpose, marriage becomes simply a euphemism for a committed relationship between two consenting adults. Such an understanding diminishes both the sacred and civil dimensions of marriage and fails to promote the common good of society.
Definition of Marriage: We resolve that as a matter of belief, doctrine and religious practice, our congregation reserves the term “marriage” for the covenant relationship between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others (Matthew 19:4-6).
Staff Participation in the Solemnization and Celebration of Marriage: We resolve that members of our leadership, staff or clergy will be allowed to arrange for, officiate at or take part in the solemnization or celebration of a marriage only when it conforms to our denominational and/or congregational statement(s) on marriage.
Use of Facilities: Heritage Park Alliance Church reserves the right to rent or allow use of these premises only by individuals or groups not incompatible with our goals, values and statements and for purposes which are not incompatible with our goals, values and statements.
Approved by the Board of Elders
May 28, 2007