On Tuesday 29 January 2013 Catholic Bishops urged members of Parliament to oppose the Marriage (Same sex couples) Bill at Second Reading as they distributed a briefing to MPs and Peers.
Why Marriage matters
The briefing explains why the meaning of Marriage matters to everyone, reasoning that the Bill, for the first time in British legal history, “fundamentally seeks to break the existing legal link between the institution of marriage and sexual exclusivity, loyalty and responsibility for the children of the marriage”.
The briefing says: “But for children, there would be no need of any institution concerned with sex… It is through children alone that sexual relations become of importance to society, and worthy to be taken congnizance of by a legal institution.”
The briefing also explains why retaining marriage solely for opposite sex couples is not discriminatory.
No mandate for the Bill
The Bishops also say in the briefing that there is no mandate for this fundamental change to the definition of marriage: “The British public, as a whole, did not seek this change; none of the mainstream political parties promised it in their last election manifestos; there has been no referendum; there was no Green or White Paper and the Government consultation did not ask whether the law would be changed, but how the law should be changed."
The briefing also says that any proposed safeguards are inadequate, and that the wider legal consequences of the Bill have not been adequately addressed. This includes the unknown implications for public and private law, the impact on freedom of expression and freedom of religion particularly in education and an emerging gulf between religious and secular conceptions of marriage which will have profound implications for the future architecture of relations between Church and State.
To read the briefing in full either download the document under 'related files' above or visit the Bishops' Conference website