Challenging some Canadiands rights to access of government services is Manitoba resident Kevin Kisilowsky, a 36-year-old former marriage commissioner. Kisilowky refused to perform same-sex marriages as required by the Province of Manitoba (Setember 16, 2004 commissioners were informed that they were expected to perform same-sex marriages.) in his role as a marriage commissioner. Such commissioners are appointed by the province to perform civil marriage ceremonies. Kisilowsky refused to resign.
Kevin Kisilowsky says his freedom of religion rights have been trampled on as a result. He took his case to the Manitoba Human Rights Tribunal and lost, now he has taken his case to court.
Kisilowsky told the Legislative Committee on Bill C-38 on June 9, 2005,
"On September 15, 2004, I was a qualified marriage commissioner. On September 16 they were telling me to resign when, because of my religious rights and freedoms, I said I cannot accommodate homosexual couples. So my rights are already being stripped away, and this bill hasn't even been passed."
His case is that the government protects the rights of churches and clergyman but not an individuals religious freedom.
"If I were to marry homosexuals I would be making a public statement that I am willing to sacrifice communion with God in order to bow down to ungodly and worldly demands...The Manitoba Provincial Government picked this fight. The biker in me will shove back hard, but I did look to God's word when searching out what he would have me do. I found it in the book of 1 Samuel where we see the story of David and Goliath. It was there that God spoke and said "Kevin, when a giant picks a fight with you….throw a rock at his head". Bring it on!" - Kevin Kisilowsky in opening statement in ManitobaCourt of Queens Bench
The Kisilowsky case if successful would have huge ramifications on delivery of government services. Government employees could refuse to receive and or handle custody disputes or same sex adoptions, perhaps refuse to perform transactions paying for health services like HIV medications or counselling, social workers could refuse to provide benefits to same-sex couples and or unmarried spouses or their families.
No the Kisilowsky case should not succeed in court. Religious groups are free to refuse to marry same-sex couples, free to bar them from membership. Governments are not free from doing so and must uphold the rights of all Canadians including same-sex couples rights to marry.
South of the border blogger Marry in Massachusetts suggested ... Kisilowsky might exercise his Christianity by thumbling through the New Testament. He might even get to Matthew 22:21 or Mark 12:17 or Luke 20:25, all of which include, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."