The Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Rev Peter Smith, spoke of a desire to “mobilise” opposition in the Church. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religio ... s-now.html
He urged them to capitalize 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”.
A million postcards, designed for Catholics to complete and send to their MP asking them to vote against the Government’s plan, were distributed at masses over the weekend.
The issue to due to come up for a vote in the Commons as early as February 5.
Already there is an unintended consequence, a rather bizarre one at that -
The Government’s “Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill” was published on Friday outlining details of how a raft of existing marriage laws are to be amended to include same-sex couples.
The only surprise in the bill was 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 he abolition of the centuries-old concept of adultery.
It came after Government legal experts failed to agree what constitutes “sex” between people of the same gender.
Gay couples will also be barred from having their marriage annulled on grounds of non-consummation for the same reason.
Previously the Coalition had signalled that the matter would be left to the courts to decide, potentially leaving the issue uncertain for years.
But officials drafting the bill sidestepped the issue saying simply that adultery would only apply to people of different sexes.
Opponents say the decision shows how gay marriage could open the way for a wider reassessment of marriage laws, something they claimed could be a potential “Pandora’s Box”.
People still laugh at the apocryphal joke about the PM being too embarrassed to explain to Queen Victoria... What then will future generations make of this
From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
It is deeply regrettable but not unexpected that the Government has chosen to proceed with introducing a Bill to change the definition of marriage. Alongside many people of all faiths and none we will be vigorously opposing the Bill.http://www.news.va/en/news/same-sex-mar ... ommon-good
Marriage has an identity distinct from any other relationship, no matter how much love or commitment may be involved. Marriage is and always has been the union of one man and one woman, for love and mutual support, open to procreation. Marriage has, over the centuries, been the enduring public recognition of this commitment and it has rightly been recognised as unique and worthy of legal protection. It furthers the common good of society because it promotes a unique relationship which benefits children. The fundamental problem with the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is that it will radically alter the meaning of marriage for everyone and therefore undermine the common good. This is what is at stake. The Bill also raises very serious questions especially about religious freedom and freedom of expression, the effect on teaching in schools, and the work of chaplains and others with religious convictions involved in the delivery of public services.
There is no electoral mandate for this Bill and last year’s consultation process was shambolic. We welcome the promise of a free vote for MPs, and hope the Bill will be defeated. We will be producing a briefing on the Bill once we have studied it in detail with our legal advisers.
Since it has now been agreed by all to allow a conscience vote, there is now a reasonable chance this Bill may be defeated.