The British Government is expected to announce legislation for what it calls ‘Equal Civil Marriage’ next week. It will also publish results of its recent ‘Consultation’ on the issue. The formal debate on the Bill will not take place until the New Year.
With widespread opposition from within the Tory Party itself – with a virtual civil war underway between the liberal “modernizing” wing and the more traditional members – the speculation is that the Conservatives want to fast-track legislation on the issue and get it out of the way well before the 2015 General Election. A recent ComRes poll indicated that 18% are less likely to vote Conservative as a result of the plans with only 7% more likely to do so.
Meanwhile, the Catholic bishop of Motherwell in Scotland has compared Cameron to Nero, the Roman emperor who persecuted Christians, for his determination to bring forward gay “marriage.”
In a two-page letter to the Prime Minister, Bishop Joseph Devine described Cameron and his government as “devoid of moral competence,” saying that that no one believes their promises that the churches will be immune from legal action by homosexualist activists if gay “marriage” is legalized.
In a very blunt terms Bishop Devine wrote that Cameron’s utterances on a number of issues, “only serve to compound our perplexity about the imperfect fit between your statements and actions. You appear to be creating a political culture in which words mean nothing.”
“You vacillate, ambivalent about the role you wish to perform – the disciple of David or Nero,” the bishop wrote. “With such a contradiction between your statements and actions, on what basis can you expect anyone – Christians in particular – to trust or respect you?”
Bishop Devine concluded, “While I cannot speak for other creeds, let me be quite frank with you. So far as the Roman Catholic Church…is concerned, you are out of your depth. We will take no finger-prodding lectures from anyone or any group devoid of moral competence.”
A statement from the Church of England issued on Friday says that their “insistence on the traditional understanding of marriage is not knee-jerk resistance to change but is based on a conviction that the consequences of change will not be beneficial for society as a whole.”
“Our concern is for the way the meaning of marriage will change for everyone, gay or straight.”
“We believe that redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships will entail a dilution in the meaning of marriage for everyone by excluding the fundamental complementarity of men and women from the social and legal definition of marriage,” the statement said.
In a statement from another Catholic source, to be read out in all Catholic churches in the diocese of Portsmouth, Bishop Philip Egan states that Mr. Cameron “is luring the people of England away from their common Christian values and Christian patrimony, and forcing upon us a brave new world, artificially engineered.”