Dark days if gay marriage legalized, Hutterites warn

Vancouver Province   -   Thu 17 Feb 2005  -  Page: A11

SASKATOON -- Canada could become the next Sodom and Gomorrah if Canada legalizes same-sex marriage, warns the church representing 31,000 Hutterites in B.C. and the Prairies.

The Hutterian Brethren Church of Canada has sent a letter to Prime Minister Paul Martin making reference to the ancient biblical sister cities and how God rained down burning sulphur to punish the sexual wickedness of the inhabitants.

A similar fate awaits Canada should same-sex legislation be passed, the church suggested.

"We will be classed as traitors in God's eyes, and we will live the darkest day in all of Canada's history," said the letter.

Mike Stahl, a preacher at the Riverview Hutterite Colony north of Saskatoon, said he can't recall any other time in his 69 years when his community stepped forward to voice an opinion on a political matter.

"We have to say something," he said. "It doesn't take the kids long to find out about the birds and the bees. They know there's got to be a bull with the cows, that there's got to be a stallion with the horses and that when you're raising rabbits, there's got to be a boy rabbit and a mother rabbit."

Hutterites fled oppression in various countries for hundreds of years, arriving in North America in the late-1800s.

The sect prides itself on political neutrality. Its members usually don't vote in elections.