Archbishop regrets social impact of new UK same-sex law
The new Civil Partnerships Act in Britain will have a "significant and lasting cultural and social impact," according to the spokesman for the bishops of Britain and Wales.
As of Monday, gay couples in the UK and Northern Ireland have been able to have their relationships recognised in law, giving them rights similar to heterosexual marriage.
"The government has effectively established same-sex marriage in all but name," said Archbishop of Cardiff, Peter Smith. "As a result, there is a real danger that the deeply rooted understanding of marriage as a permanent and exclusive relationship between a woman and a man, and as the best context for raising children, will be eroded."
catholicireland.net reports that in his statement, Bishop Smith said that the government needs to be promoting marriage rather than undermining it.
"Civil partnership is not based on natural complementarity of male and female and the natural purpose of sexual union cannot be achieved by same sex partnerships, nor can a same sex couple co-operate with God to create new life. For centuries, the legal recognition of marriage, including the benefits associated with it, reflected not only the personal commitment of the couple but also about the social commitment that husband and wife make to the well being of society through the procreation and education of children," he said.
The relationships will be ratified in law under the terms of the new UK Civil Partnership Act. In Britain 15 days' notice must be given of such unions but just 14 days notice is required in Northern Ireland, which means the first unions will be registered in the North.
Meanwhile in Ireland, the Minister for Justice has signalled that the government is likely to introduce a new civil partnership law, but it would not be equivalent to marriage.
"Attempting to mimic marriage is not the way forward," he said. "A measure which effectively provides for all the attributes of marriage for people who are not married would fall foul of the Constitution. That is the advice of the Attorney General . . . What we can do is address the real unfairness that people experience," he said.
Civil Partnerships Act is same sex marriage in all but name: Archbishop (catholicireland.net 7/12/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Statement on Civil Partnerships from Archbishop Peter Smith (The Catholic Church in England and Wales 6/12/05)
Ban on gays subject to seminary practice (National Catholic Reporter 9/12/05)
Editorial: For what it's worth, our condolences (National Catholic Reporter 9/12/05)
Mary E Hunt: Time for a Catholic Stonewall (The Advocate 6/12/05)
Vatican to Boston archdiocese: stop gay adoptions (Catholic World News 7/12/05)
Bishops' statement on civil partnerships (Independent Catholic News 7/12/05)
UK Catholic Bishops warn of social effects of homosexual civil partnerships (The Universe 7/12/05)
Britain Braces for Homosexual Civil Partnerships (Zenit 6/12/05)
The Psychology Behind Homosexual Tendencies (Part 2) (Zenit 6/12/05)
8 Dec 2005