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Archbishops say marriage Bill poses ‘grave risks’ to religious freedom

By on Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Archbishop Vincent Nichols (Mazur)

Archbishop Vincent Nichols (Mazur)

The Archbishops of Westminster and Southwark have urged MPs to “think again” about the consequences of the same-sex marriage Bill being considered in Parliament next week.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Peter Smith said the change in the law is “far more profound than first appears”, and will change the meaning of marriage so that openness to children “is no longer central”.

The archbishops also said the Bill as currently drafted poses “grave risks to freedom of speech and freedom of religion”.

The full statement issued by Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Peter Smith on Marriage (same sex couples) Bill:

We urge members of the House of Commons to think again about the long term consequences of the Marriage (same sex couples) Bill in deciding how to vote at the report stage and third reading debates next week.

Many people within and beyond the faith communities deeply believe that the state should not seek to change the fundamental meaning of marriage. This proposed change in the law is far more profound than first appears. Marriage will become an institution in which openness to children, and with it the responsibility on fathers and mothers to remain together to care for children born into their family, is no longer central to society’s understanding of marriage. It is not too late for Parliament to think again and we urge MPs to do so.

Furthermore, the Bill as currently drafted poses grave risks to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. If the Bill is to proceed through Parliament we urge members to ensure it is amended so that these fundamental freedoms we all cherish are clearly and demonstrably safeguarded.