BY SCO Admin | February 1 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


A final push to protect marriage

— Church in England and Wales implores parishioners to lobby their MPs ahead of vote

The Church has launched a final push against the UK Government’s plans to legalise same-sex ‘marriage’ before MPs vote on the issue next week.

Parliament, including Scottish MPs, could vote on the issue as early as Tuesday and the Catholic Church in England and Wales is mobilising parishioners and lobbying MPs to try and stop marriage being redefined legally.

Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark (above), wrote to all parishes on behalf of the English and Welsh bishops urging Catholics to capitalise on the decision by all three main party leaders to allow free votes on the matter and increase pressure on their local MPs to halt such a ‘fundamental change in the law.’

Archbishop Smith, the second most senior active Catholic cleric in England and Wales, says Catholics must act now if they are to have any change of stopping marriage being devalued.

“It is therefore particularly important at this time for all MPs to be made aware of the strength of feeling on this issue among their own constituents, and the bishops have received requests from a number of laity about mobilising further action,” he said. “The first key vote is likely to take place in early February so the time to act is now. We need to encourage as many people as possible to get involved. Please do all you can.”

The Church distributed a special briefing to all MPs and Lords from the bishops of England and Wales on Tuesday urging them to oppose the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

The briefing explains why the meaning of marriage matters to everyone, reasoning that the bill, for the first time in British legal history, ‘fundamentally seeks to break the existing legal link between the institution of marriage and sexual exclusivity, loyalty and responsibility for the children of the marriage.’

The government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was published on Friday January 25, outlining details of how a raft of existing marriage laws are to be amended to include same-sex couples. The bill includes a clause making it impossible for gay or lesbian people who marry to divorce on grounds of adultery.

Lawyers and MPs said the distinction created inequality between heterosexual and homosexual couples in the divorce courts and could ultimately lead to the abolition of the centuries-old concept of adultery.



—This story was reported in full in the February 1 print edition of the SCO


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