The president and vice-president of the Catholic bishops’ conference of England and Wales have urged MPs to consider the impact of the same-sex marriage Bill when they vote on its third reading next week (20-21 May).
Urging MPs to consider the “long-term consequences” of the Bill, Archbishops Vincent Nichols of Westminster and Peter Smith of Southwark have sent them a wide-ranging series of proposed amendments which they say are necessary to preserve religious freedom in the event that the Bill becomes law.
The Archbishops tell MPs:
Many people within and beyond the faith communities deeply believe that the state should not seek to change the fundamental meaning of marriage. This proposed change in the law is far more profound than first appears. Marriage will become an institution in which openness to children, and with it the responsibility on fathers and mothers to remain together to care for children born into their family, is no longer central to society’s understanding of marriage. It is not too late for Parliament to think again and we urge MPs to do so.
Furthermore, the Bill as currently drafted poses grave risks to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. If the Bill is to proceed through Parliament we urge members to ensure it is amended so that these fundamental freedoms we all cherish are clearly and demonstrably safeguarded.
Download the archbishops’ briefing here: http://www.catholicnews.org.uk/content/download/35396/263115/file/report-stage-briefing.pdf