Bishop Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth has issued the following statement in response to the Prime Minister's comments on the issue of gay marriage:
from Independent Catholic News, Sunday 9th December 2012
David Cameron has said that he is an enthusiastic supporter of marriage and that he does not want "gay people to be excluded from a great institution." Yet however well-intentioned, and despite huge opposition from Christians, Jews and Muslims alike, by attempting to change the natural meaning of marriage, he seems utterly determined to undermine one of the key foundations of our society.
Such a change is of immense significance. By this change, he 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.
To "extend marriage to gay people", he intends to impose the will of a tiny minority on the vast majority. If the prime minister proceeds with his intentions, he will pervert authentic family values, with catastrophic consequences for the well-being and behaviour of future generations. He will smother the traditional Christian ethos of our society and strangle the religious freedom of the Catholic Church in Britain to conduct its mission.
Of course, we will need to wait for the results of the current consultation-exercise. But in the meantime, I would like to ask Mr. Cameron: What about my rights as a Christian? Will you exempt the Church, its resources and property, from having to support your harmful ideology? Will Catholic schools, societies and institutions be free (and legally safeguarded) to teach the full truth of Christ and the real meaning of life and love?
The institution of marriage has its ups and downs, but will we ever forget that it was the leader of the Conservative Party who finally destroyed marriage as a lasting, loving and life-giving union between a man and a woman?