Speaking on behalf of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, Archbishop Peter Smith has welcomed the launch of the ecumenical Coalition for Marriage (C4M) which is petitioning Prime Minister David Cameron to stop the introduction of same-sex marriage.
Currently the UK government plans to legislate for gay marriage by 2015.
Archbishop Smith said: “The government’s imminent consultation on changing the definition of marriage is of great concern to many people in our society, and we will encouraging Catholics to participate in the consultation and to make their objections known.
"We welcome the formation of the 'Coalition for Marriage' as a grass-roots movement to campaign for the current definition of marriage to remain in English law. A change is not needed because the Civil Partnerships Act provides for the civil rights of same-sex couples already. Nor is a change desirable because it would fundamentally change the legal purpose of marriage by removing any reference to the begetting and rearing of children.
"Marriage is a fundamental social institution and neither the State nor the Church has the right to redefine its meaning. Together with the Church of England and the new 'Coalition for Marriage' we will be encouraging people to sign the petition registering their opposition to a change in the law on marriage.”
Source: Archdiocese of Southwark/ICN
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