UK Archbishops: Meaning of marriage matters

2012-12-11 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The British government said today it will introduce a bill next year to legalise so-called same-sex marriage.

Opponents of the plans say that the decision to raise the issue has been made without proper consultation.

Both the Catholic Church and the Church of England have announced their opposition to the proposed bill. In response to Tuesday’s announcement London’s two Catholic Archbishops, Vincent Nichols of Westminster and Peter Smith of Southwark, released a statement strongly opposing the bill. “The meaning of marriage matters,” they said. “It derives that meaning from its function as the foundation of the family.”

Noting that “The government has chosen to ignore the views of over 600,000 people who signed a petition calling for the current definition of marriage to stay,” the Archbishops went on to criticise the process undertaken to advance the Bill.

Archbishops Nichols and Smith concluded their statement with an appeal to “everyone who cares about upholding the meaning of marriage in civil law to make their views known to their MPs clearly, calmly and forcefully, and without impugning the motives of others . . . It is not too late to stop this Bill.”

Read the full statement of Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Peter Smith:

The meaning of marriage matters. It derives that meaning from its function as the foundation of the family. The union of one man and one woman for love and mutual support and open to procreation has over the centuries formed a stable unit we call the family. Marriage is the enduring public recognition of this commitment and has been rightly recognised as unique and worthy of legal protection.

The government has chosen to ignore the views of over 600,000 people who signed a petition calling for the current definition of marriage to stay, and we are told legislation to change the definition of marriage will now come to Parliament.

We strongly oppose such a Bill. Furthermore, the process by which this has happened can only be described as shambolic. There was no electoral mandate in any manifesto; no mention in the Queen’s speech; no serious or thorough consultation through a Green or White paper, and a constant shifting of policy before even the government response to the consultation was published today.

We urge everyone who cares about upholding the meaning of marriage in civil law to make their views known to their MPs clearly, calmly and forcefully, and without impugning the motives of others. We urge all parties to ensure their Members have a free vote. It is not too late to stop this Bill.