Vice-President of Bishops’ Conference Comments on Second Reading of Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

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The Most Rev Peter Smith, Archishop of Southwark and Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference, has commented on the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

MPs were allowed a free vote in the House of Commons on Tuesday, 5 February and voted 400 in favour and 175 against. The legislation will now come under more detailed parliamentary scrutiny.

Archbishop Peter Smith said:

“The Catholic Church continues to support marriage understood by society for centuries as the significant and unique lifelong commitment between a man and a woman for their mutual well-being and open to the procreation and education of children.

“Marriage is rooted in the complementarity of man and woman. For these reasons the Church opposes the Government’s Bill to re-define marriage. Despite claims by supporters of the Bill that the central issue is one of equality, the Bill actually seeks to re-define marriage and will have consequences for society at large.

“It became clear during today’s debate in the House of Commons that the government has not thought through a number of profound problems in the Bill raised by members of Parliament during the debate. It will be extremely important that the many concerns we and others have expressed will be fully and carefully considered during the next stages of the Bill’s passage through Parliament.”

For more on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales go to our ‘Speak Out For Marriage’ section.