Following the government's proposal to allow married rights to same-sex couples, Bishop John Hine, chairman of the Committee for Marriage and Family Life, issued the following statement today: He said: "Marriage, which is a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman, is the foundation and cornerstone of the family and society. Consequently, it is elevated to a position which is different and special compared to any other human relationship. Our hope is that this would always be recognised in the legal framework of our country. "There are other issues arising from long-term relationships other than marriage which may need consideration. However at this stage, it is not clear why the focus of the Government proposals is on same-sex unions, when there are many other long-term relationships of a non-sexual nature which face exactly the same issues and deserve the same attention. "It is also not clear whether it is purely a proposal about same-sex couples or whether it is also about giving them some social recognition. If it is the latter, then our Church's view is very clear about the particular and special status of marriage. "The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has formed a working group to formulate a more considered response to this proposal from the Government." Source: CCS
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