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In receipt of Royal Assent.

Queen of United Kingdom (as well as Canada, Au...

Queen of United Kingdom (as well as Canada, Australia, and other Commonwealth realms) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Below is a copy of the statement put out to the media by the Catholic Church of England and Wales on the new legislation passed in the Commons which allows for gay couples to be married in England. The original text is found here.

 

In receiving Royal Assent, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act marks a watershed in English law and heralds a profound social change. This fact is acknowledged by both advocates and opponents of the Act.

Marriage has, over the centuries, been publicly recognised as a stable institution which establishes a legal framework for the committed relationship between a man and a woman and for the upbringing and care of their children. It has, for this reason, rightly been recognised as unique and worthy of legal protection.

The new Act breaks the existing legal links between the institution of marriage and sexual complementarity. With this new legislation, marriage has now 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 unit, are no longer central. That is why we were opposed to this legislation on principle.

Along with others, we have expressed real concern about the deficiencies in the process by which this legislation came to Parliament, and the speed with which it has been rushed through. We are grateful particularly therefore to those Parliamentarians in both Houses who have sought to improve the Bill during its passage, so that it enshrines more effective protection for religious freedom.

A particular concern for us has also been the lack of effective protection for Churches which decide not to opt-in to conducting same sex marriages. Amendments made in the House of Lords though have significantly strengthened the legal protections in the Act for the Churches. We also welcome the Government’s amendment to the Public Order Act which makes it clear beyond doubt that “discussion or criticism of marriage which concerns the sex of the parties to the marriage shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred”. Individuals are therefore protected from criminal sanction under the Public Order Act when discussing or expressing disagreement with same sex marriage.

In other respects, however, the amendments we suggested have not been accepted. We were concerned to provide legislative clarity for schools with a religious character. This was in order to ensure that these schools will be able to continue to teach in accordance with their religious tenets. Given the potential risk that future guidance given by a Secretary of State for education regarding sex and relationships education could now conflict with Church teaching on marriage, we were disappointed that an amendment to provide this clarity was not accepted. The Minister made clear in the House of Lords, however, that in “having regard” to such guidance now or in the future schools with a religious character can “take into account other matters, including in particular relevant religious tenets”, and that “having regard to a provision does not mean that it must be followed assiduously should there be good reason for not doing so”. These assurances go some way to meeting the concerns we and others expressed.

We were disappointed that a number of other amendments to safeguard freedom of speech and the rights of civil registrars to conscientious objection were not passed. But Ministerial assurances have been made that no one can suffer detriment or unfavourable treatment in employment because she or he holds the belief that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

The legal and political traditions of this country are founded on a firm conviction concerning the rights of people to hold and express their beliefs and views, at the same time as respecting those who differ from them. It is important, at this moment in which deeply held and irreconcilable views of marriage have been contested, to affirm and strengthen this tradition.

Same-sex marriage: impact on education

Reblogged from the Hermeneutic of Continuity:

c4mbookletcover

The Coalition for Marriage have produced a booklet which indicates that if the “Equal Marriage Bill” is passed schools would have a legal requirement to teach about “same-sex marriage”.

Section 403(1A)(a) of the Education Act 1996 imposes a duty on the Secretary of State to “issue guidance” to ensure that pupils “learn the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and the bringing up of children” as part of sex education.

If the legal definition of marriage changes, the law will require that children learn about gay marriage as part of sex education…

This is obviously far more serious than the right of teachers to object on an individual basis. This would affect all the nation’s children. The C4M booklet gives a number of sample pages from books such as “Daddy’s Roommate”, “Hello Sailor”, “Josh and Jaz have Three Mums” etc. They are aimed at young children. Here is a link to download a copy of the booklet.

With materials that might be put before secondary school pupils, we are in a bind because some of it is too disgusting to detail. It is more important than ever that parents insist on seeing exactly what materials are shown to their children, whether in school – or outside school by agencies that have gained trust (and contact details of young people) by being invited into the school. From a link in Laurence England’s excellent post Schools and Same-Sex Marriage, I have just read a booklet from the Terence Higgins Trust which I wish I had never seen. “Called The Bottom Line. All you’ll ever need to know about your arse and his.” it gives detailed instructions on various forms of anal sex along with the diseases and injuries that commonly result from it – as though these are just hazards we have to accept in life.

The THT has a page asking “Why should Terrence Higgins Trust come to my school?” If you are a teacher opposed to same-sex marriage or a parent who wants their child protected from such instructional material, you may soon be unable to ask that question without legal consequences.

 

Men in black: Vanguards of the Faith.

Men in black.

Men in black.

This is the letter which appeared in today’s Telegraph from a thousand English priests:

Sir,
After centuries of persecution Catholics have, in recent times, been able to be members of the professions and participate fully in the life of this country.

Legislation for same sex marriage, should it be enacted, will have many legal consequences, severely restricting the ability of Catholics to teach the truth about marriage in their schools, charitable institutions or places of worship.

It is meaningless to argue that Catholics and others may still teach their beliefs about marriage in schools and other arenas if they are also expected to uphold the opposite view at the same time.

The natural complementarity between a man and a woman leads to marriage, seen as a lifelong partnership. This loving union – because of their physical complementarity – is open to bringing forth and nurturing children. This is what marriage is. That is why marriage is only possible between a man and a woman.  Marriage, and the home, children and family life it generates, is the foundation and basic building block of our society.
We urge Members of Parliament not to be afraid to reject this legislation now that its consequences are more clear.

The signatories are here 

I take my hat off to these leaders of the Faith, for having the courage to say what needs to be said in a united way. It gives me courage too. ‘Thank you’ to all of the signatories. We will follow by your example.

Attacked by Tolerance in America

I first watched this at Catholiclibertarian.com The volunteers at the Society of Tradition Family and Property are the victims here of public derision, violence and vitriolic hatred. The fierce attacks shocked me to my core. What really affected me deeply is the obvious hatred of Our Lord displayed by these attacks.