UK churches launch attack on conservative government’s gay-marriage plan
The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England will be the latest church leader to try to ambush the prime minister’s attempt to legalise same-sex marriage when he launches his “no” campaign from the pulpit this weekend.
Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols has written a pastoral letter to be read out during Mass in the London diocese’s 214 parishes over the weekend of March 10 -11, warning about the dangers of changing the legal definition of marriage.
Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron is already facing a religious backlash from many in the Anglican mother church, the Church of England, which is sometimes called “the Conservative Party at prayer.” Its head, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, has said a new law for gay couples would amount to forcing unwanted change on the rest of the nation.
The argument echoes others elsewhere in Europe and beyond. On Friday, Pope Benedict denounced the “powerful political and cultural currents” seeking to legalise gay marriage in the United States, where Maryland has just become the eighth state to allow it.
The British government is planning this month to launch a formal consultation document on allowing homosexual couples to marry, spearheaded by a minister from the Liberal Democrats, the junior partner in the government coalition. Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone argues churches do not “own” marriage law.