Article first published as Catholic Church Wages War on Gay Marriage on Technorati.
The Roman Catholic church in the UK has sent out letters to every parish church, informing them that they and their congregation need to do everything possible to fight, combat and prevent the government from changing the law that would allow same sex marriage from being passed in 2015.
Yes, over 2,500 parish churches were sent a letter, which according to the ludicrous hierarchy of the church, had be read out to the congregations today to urge them to fight against any change in the law. A change which the Church’s two most senior archbishops say would reduce the significance of marriage. Only last week Cardinal Keith O’Brien, (pictured) the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, said the “grotesque” plans were “madness” and would “shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world” if implemented. O’Brien claimed it was against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which defines marriage as a “relationship between men and women”. Although, to be clear, the section of the declaration to which he refers actually states, “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family”.
I am sorry, but I cannot see any full-on explicit reference that the marriage’s participants need to be of a different gender, or indeed the same gender. It certainly doesn’t include any mention of expressly limiting marriage on grounds of sexuality.
On Friday, in a speech to visiting American Catholic bishops, Pope Benedict XVI warned of “powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage”, in the wake of Washington and Maryland legalizing same-sex marriage.
Tony Blair has defied the Pope by making clear he “strongly supports” plans for gay marriage. According to The Independent on Sunday, the former prime minister and a Catholic since converting in 2007 backs same sex marriage and proposals by David Cameron for a new law allowing homosexuals to marry
Even Conservative party traditionalists have spoken out in favor of gay marriage. Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, not always known for his ‘acceptance’ of equality, said on Thursday: “I have to say I’ve changed my mind on this in recent years, and I’m rather in favor of gay marriage.”
UK Labour leader Ed Miliband is also a supporter of gay marriage, stating the separate civil partnership law was a significant law implemented by a former Labour government, but separate is not equal.
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of equality organization Stonewall, said: “At a time when 50,000 families in Britain are homeless and a billion people across the world live on less than a dollar a day, it’s extraordinary that Archbishops are worrying about the family arrangements of a few thousand gay people.”
However, to be fair to the Catholics that are fighting to prevent equality, it is also the wider “Christian” movement, starting petitions and campaigning to keep gay people as second class citizens.
Let’s be completely clear here, nobody is asking the church, any church to conduct same sex marriages, no law would force any church to hold them if they so didn’t which to, the law, should it be passed, would apply to civil marriages held in registry offices. A change in the law would also, hopefully, open up the current civil partnership law to heterosexual couples, which are not currently allowed.
Let’s be completely honest and open about this, is it really such a big deal? I mean really? Allowing same sex couples to cement and declare their love, their commitment, their bond with each other with a celebration and a joining together isn’t exactly going to turn the world upside down and paint it pink. This isn’t going to change the way of the world, the gates of hell are not going to open up and consume the population, the heavens are not going to open up and strike every sinner in the world dead. It is simply a step forward to true equality for a small number of same sex couples who want to celebrate their love. It is not like there are a massive number of gay people wanting to shout out “I do” either. Last year 5,804 same sex couples had civil partnerships.
The divorce rates in the UK are soaring,; in fact, more people stay with their bank longer than they do in their marriage these days, so why not let gay people join in. Could they do worse? I don’t think so; plus of course, all of those extra wedding ceremonies will help provide more work for wedding planners, caterers, venues, printers and limo companies at a time when the economy needs a little push.
There are some in the gay community that advocate doing nothing to combat the blatant homophobia and disregard for equality from the churches, believing that their own actions will alienate them from society as a whole. The constant gay bashing from the churches could well be more threatening the very existence of organized religion than anything else. In a recentSunday Times / You Gov poll over 58 per cent said that ‘generally speaking religion is more often the cause for evil in the world, compared to only 12% that claimed it was a cause for good. While 67% agree, that religion should be a personal choice and has NO place in public life. In this representative survey, some 38% believed there was a God, as opposed to 33% that did not believe in the existence of God.
Another YouGov poll, from October last year found that 46% of the British Population would support same-sex marriage, while 28% supported civil partnerships while opposing same-sex marriage. Only 17% oppose both civil partnerships and same-sex marriage. A more recent ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph found 45% of the public backed gay marriage, while 36% didn’t approve.
So really, why are the Catholics waging war against gay people? How is who marries who going to harm others? Besides, are we really willing to trust the Cathlic Church with the decision on whom can love whom? Does the Catholic Church really have the moral high ground to stand on? It isn’t like they have a great record on child abuse now is it? Case after case after caseafter case spills out about so ‘called’ Catholic men of God doing bad things to children. Despite this, almost without exception the Catholic Church sought to cover those crimes up, turning blind eyes to abuse on a gargantuan scale.
If they don’t want gay marriage, it’s simple: don’t marry a gay person then.