Catholic Archbishops urge discrimination against gay couples
Opposition to gay marriage shows perverse moral priorities
Same-sex marriage does not detract from heterosexual marriage
London - 11 March 2012
“Given the many grave problems in the world - war, hunger, poverty and dictatorship - it is bizarre that the Catholic Archbishops have chosen to focus on blocking gay marriage. They have a perverse sense of moral priorities, said Peter Tatchell, national coordinator of the Equal Love campaign, which is seeking to overturn the twin bans on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships. Equal Love seeks equality for all.
Mr Tatchell was responding to a letter from Catholic Archbishops, Vincent Nichols and Peter Smith, which was read out in Catholic churches in England and Wales today, Sunday 11 March 2012. The letter opposes government plans to legalise same-sex civil marriages in register offices.
“The Archbishops are preaching a gospel of division and discrimination. They want the law to discriminate against gay couples. Discrimination is not a Christian value,” added Mr Tatchell.
“If the church genuinely supports love and commitment, why do Catholic leaders oppose gay couples showing their love and commitment by getting married?
“Gay marriage is about love. By opposing marriage equality, the Archbishops are denigrating, demeaning and devaluing love between two people of the same sex.
“Opening up marriage to same-sex couples does not detract from heterosexual marriage.
“Given that the Archbishops support the institution of marriage, surely they should welcome
the fact that many lesbian and gay couples want to get married?
“Catholics are entitled to believe that same-sex marriages are wrong, but they are not entitled to demand that their opposition of gay marriages should be imposed on the rest of society and enforced by law.
“No one is proposing that religious bodies should be compelled to conduct gay marriages. The government’s proposals concern gay civil marriages in register offices - not religious marriages in places of worship.
“The church has no legitimate reason to block same-sex civil marriage ceremonies. What happens in a register office is no business of the church. It is outside their jurisdiction,” said Mr Tatchell.
The Equal Love campaign is seeking to overturn both the ban on same-sex civil marriages and the ban on opposite-sex civil partnerships. It seeks full marriage and partnership equality.
In February 2011, four gay couples and four heterosexual couples, sponsored by the Equal Love campaign, filed a historic joint appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). See here:
“Our appeal argues that Britain’s twin legal bans on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships amount to illegal discrimination, contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights. The bans violate Articles 8, 12 and 14 - respectively the right to privacy and family life, the right to marry and the right to non-discrimination,” said Mr Tatchell.
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