Peter Smith, the Archbishop of Southwark, accepts defeat over the fact that same-sex marriage in England and Wales will eventually become law. But that doesn’t mean he approves.
As the vice-president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, he made his comments after the majority of the House of Commons voted for marriage equality, saying:
What we have been saying right from the start is that marriage, for millennia, has been between a man and a woman and it is about the complementary of the two sexes. That is the key issue. We keep getting diverted onto questions of equality and religious freedom but the nub of the argument is who, by their natural being, can be married.
According to the Bishop, the bill’s underlying problem is that it will “radically alter the meaning of marriage for everyone and therefore undermine the common good.”
In the past, Smith has been vocal on his stance against marriage equality, sending out one million postcards promoting an anti-marriage equality message for Catholics to mail to the parliament.
“Thank the MPs for already supporting it, or say you disagree,” Smith said. “We’ve been saying that for a long time, and obviously now is the time when the opposition is cranking up the pressure… Perhaps people are thinking more about their job, than equality.”
Conor Marron of the Coalition for Equal Marriage said, “He is of course welcome to engage in the democratic debate. But I find it staggering that the Catholic Church is yet again so ready to pump in vast sums of donated funds, which are so sorely needed to help the poor in austere times, to meddle in state affairs and block authority.”
The marriage equality bill passed with a 400 to 175 vote by the British parliament earlier this month.