Churches slate gay marriage plans12 June 2012
The Government's plans to legalise gay marriage will have unforeseen consequences that will be damaging to the common good, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales say today in their response to a Home Office consultation.
In their response also issued today the Church of England is equally critical, saying several major elements of the proposals "have not been thought through properly and are not legally sound".
The Catholic bishops in a 10-page document take issue with the very premise of the consultation, which they say is concerned with how legislative change could best be achieved, and not with whether or not such change should happen.
"There has been no Royal Commission, no manifesto commitment, no Green Paper and no White Paper," points out Archbishop Peter Smith in a covering letter to the Home Secretary, Theresa May.
The bishops argue that marriage is the foundation of the family, saying research shows that children do best with "two parents, one of each sex, who are bound to each other in marriage", who teach them "what it is to be male or female, and how each sex relates to the other".
The Church of England bishops, meanwhile, express concern that if the legislation were passed, gay couples wishing to wed in a church could go to court to force the C of E to allow a same-sex marriage on its premises because government assurances that such cases would not arise "cannot be relied upon".
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