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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA
(ON APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF APPEAL OF ONTARIO)
BETWEEN:
INTERFAITH COALITION ON MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
Applicant (Party Intervener)
-and-
HEDY HALPERN and COLLEEN ROGERS
MICHAEL LESHNER and MICHAEL STARK
ALOYSIUS PITTMAN and THOMAS ALLWORTH
DAWN ONISHENKO and JULIE ERBLAND
CAROLYN ROWE and CAROLYN MOFFATT
BARBARA McDOWALL and GAIL DONNELLY and
ALISON KEMPER and JOYCE BARNETT
(the “Respondent Couples”),
-and-
METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCH OF TORONTO
Respondents/Moving Parties (Respondents)
-and-
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ONTARIO
Respondents (Appellants)
-and-
EGALE CANADA INC.
Respondent (Party Intervener)
-and-
THE ASSOCIATION FOR MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY IN ONTARIO
Respondent (Party Intervener)

AFFIDAVIT OF TIM RYAN

I, Tim Ryan, of the City of Toronto, in the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, MAKE OATH AND SAY:

1. I am a Catholic priest who has worked extensively with the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered community for almost thirty years.

2. I completed theological studies leading to ordination in 1962 at St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ont. and St. Augustine’s seminary in Toronto. After several years of ministry in Brazil, I did post-graduate studies in Theology in France and Germany, receiving my Licentiate in Theology from the Facultes Catholiques de Lyon. I completed a Doctorate in Theology at St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto in 1983. Among many other ministries I have served in over forty years, for many years I was a Lecturer in Theology, mostly in the area of Social Ethics in Brazil and at the Toronto School of Theology.

3. I remain a Roman Catholic priest and am an active member in good standing of the Scarboro Foreign Mission Society.

4. As someone with many decades of experience in ministry to the gay and lesbian community, I welcomed the decisions of the Ontario Court of Appeal, British Columbia Court of Appeal and Québec Superior Court reformulating the common law definition of marriage as “the voluntary union for life of two persons with the exclusion of all others.”

5. It is my opinion that freedom of religion, as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights, requires that a definition of marriage be extended to same-sex unions.

6. I agree that freedom of religion includes the right of the churches to marry two individuals with accordance to its own beliefs and rituals.

7. I also strongly also believe (and am willing to undertake to support the position) that no church or other religious authority will be forced to conduct marriages ceremonies that are not in conformity with its beliefs and rituals.

8. I strongly support the position of the Government of Canada not to appeal the decisions of the Ontario and B.C. Courts of Appeal and instead propose a legislation that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. I also believe that the Reference to the Supreme Court is the most appropriate way of dealing with the issue of freedom of religion in the context of the proposed legislation on same-sex marriage.

9. In addition, I understand that the process of passage of the Bill will give Canadians of all political and religious denominations further opportunity to express their views with regard to the Bill.

10. I therefore oppose the leave to appeal to the Supreme Court by other religious groups as it is an unnecessary step duplicating the efforts of the Government to resolve the issue of freedom of religion by the way of the Bill and the Reference.

11. I am well aware of the Vatican’s recent pronouncement against the legal recognition of same-sex marriage and the fact that the Catholic Bishops are seeking to pursue this appeal. As with various issues touching on matters of sex and sexuality many Canadian Catholics do not share the views of the hierarchy, including myself.

TIM RYAN


SWORN before me at the City of Toronto, in the Province of Ontario, on the th day of August, 2003. 

A Commissioner for Taking Affidavits

Toronto priest backs same-sex marriage
- Views outlined in court affidavit
- Catholic Church opposes draft law

LESLIE SCRIVENER, FAITH AND ETHICS REPORTER
Toronto Star
February 5, 2004

Father Tim RyanThe definition of marriage should include same-sex couples, says Tim Ryan, a Toronto Catholic priest who has worked for 30 years with the gay and lesbian community. And he supports redefining marriage as a union for life of two people. The court is to deal with four questions submitted by the federal government next fall.

In his statement (here in right column), Ryan stands in direct opposition to a recent document from the Vatican that condemns homosexual unions.

"There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family," it says. "Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law," reads the document from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, released last July.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has asked to intervene in the reference question being put by the federal government before the Supreme Court of Canada. The bishops argue that the traditional definition of marriage, between a man and woman, is constitutional and the draft bill supporting same-sex unions breaches freedom of conscience and religion.

Last month, the conference released a 12-page document, called "Marriage Matters," using a question-and-answer format to explain the Church's opposition to same-sex marriage. Among the questions addressed: "What difference does it make to traditionally married couples if same-sex partners are allowed to marry?" and "What is the point of trying to save an institution when fewer and fewer people are choosing it ... ?"

The bishops argue that by permitting same-sex marriage, future generations may believe that the primary purpose of marriage is to protect a sexually intimate adult relationship, and that all else — creation of children and a wider family life — is secondary.

Ryan's sworn statement was taken last August as part of court materials prepared by Toronto's Metropolitan Community Church. He urged Ottawa not to appeal decisions by courts in Ontario and British Columbia to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

No religious authority should have to conduct marriages that do not conform to its beliefs, his affidavit reads.

Ryan, 67, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, has one of the "sharpest theological minds" in the Scarboro Missions, said a member who asked not to be named. One of his most successful innovations was to open the community of priests to include lay people in missionary work. "He tried to create something totally new in a church that tends to be hierarchical. ... And it's still going on, though not in the numbers we'd hoped," the member said. "Tim has always taken the side of those whose rights are not recognized."

Tom Reilly of the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops said the Church understands that people make mistakes. "In the judgment of the Church at the moment, Fr. Ryan is wrong."

Leaders of the Scarboro Missions had only recently learned of Ryan's affidavit. It had been on an equal marriage Web site for some months, along with statements from other clergy supporting same-sex marriage, but this week appeared on a pro-life, family Web site. Ryan was acting without the knowledge or approval of the society, said Vicar-General Mike Traher. "The Scarboro Missions does not in any way endorse any other position than the official teaching of the Catholic Church regarding the definition of marriage."

Ryan's work in the gay and lesbian community, he said, was a "personal ministry, not something we assigned."

(within a few weeks of this article's publication, Father Ryan was suspended by the Archdiocese of Toronto and may no longer celebrate mass in public or preach in a church.)


see also:
Gay Catholics Outraged with Suspension of Priest

Published articles by Father Ryan:
- The Troubling Tone and Tactics of the Canadian Bishops
- Same-sex marriage: A Catholic priest dissents

Dignity Canada Dignité is Canada's organization of Roman Catholics who are concerned about our church's sexual theology, particularly as it pertains to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons. We work in collaboration with other Catholic organizations seeking reform in our church's leadership and teachings. Dignity Canada Dignité