The Mt Rev Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark and Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of Christian Responsibility and Citizenship, has made the following comment on the launch of the ‘Coalition for Marriage’:
“The government’s imminent consultation on changing the definition of marriage is of great concern to many people in our society, and we will be encouraging Catholics to participate in the consultation and to make their objections known. We welcome the formation of the ‘Coalition for Marriage’ as a grass-roots movement to campaign for the current definition of marriage to remain in English law.
“A change is not needed because the Civil Partnerships Act provides for the civil rights of same-sex couples already. Nor is a change desirable because it would fundamentally change the legal purpose of marriage by removing any reference to the begetting and rearing of children.
“Marriage is a fundamental social institution and neither the State nor the Church has the right to redefine its meaning. Together with the Church of England and the new ‘Coalition for Marriage’ we will be encouraging people to sign the petition registering their opposition to a change in the law on marriage.”