A Catholic Reverend is calling for the Government to rethink their decision to change the definition of marriage to include same-sex partnerships.
The Coalition will present a consultation paper to encourage equality and help to prevent discrimination against same-sex couples, civil partnerships and marriage, in the same week as Manchester Cross Street Chapel became the first in England and Wales to receive a civil partnership licence.
However, the President and Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have challenged the decision as a relationship between a man and a woman is ‘written into [human] nature’.
A letter from The Most Reverend and Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, and The Most Reverend and Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith, said: “Changing the legal definition of marriage [as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, and for the creation and upbringing of children] would be a profoundly radical step. Its consequences should be taken seriously now.”
They added: “A change in the law would gradually and inevitably transform society’s understanding of the purpose of marriage. It would reduce it just to the commitment of the two people involved.
“There would be no recognition of the complementarity of male and female or that marriage is intended for the procreation and education of children.”
Manchester’s Cross Street Unitarian Chapel became the first in England and Wales to be granted the civil partnership licence.
Rev Jane Barraclough, minister of Cross Street Chapel, received an ‘overwhelmingly positive’ response from the public as her church received the licence.
Rev Barraclough said the Catholic church was ‘hiding away from change’ and that they should ‘embrace people as human beings’ as the LGBT community has always been welcome in her chapel and that the licence fulfils a basic human right.
“The question that needs asking is whether marriage is primarily about children? Is it about procreation? There are many straight couples who get married and do not have children, and gay or lesbian couples that are raising children.”
The Archbishops added: “We have a duty to married people today, and to those who come after us, to do all we can to ensure that the true meaning of marriage is not lost for future generations.”