The most senior Roman Catholic in England and Wales has lambasted the Prime Minister for his ‘un-democratic’ and ‘Orwellian’ plans to legalise gay marriage.
of Westminster Vincent Nichols said the proposals were a ‘shambles’,
and accused David Cameron of pushing through the changes without a
In his Christmas
Eve sermon at Westminster Cathedral, he said that only marriage between a
man and a woman shares in ‘the creative love of God’.
The criticism follows that of
the Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury, Mark Davies, who used his Christmas
homily to liken moves to legalise same-sex marriage to the way Nazis and
Communists tried to undermine religion.
Mr Cameron wants to allow gay couples to get married in churches but he says religious organisations will be able to opt out.
Nichols criticised successive governments for failing to stand up for
marriage and promoting sex before marriage instead.
an interview with the BBC, he attacked parties who were promoting
same-sex marriage, saying the plan was ‘Orwellian’ because there was no
mandate from the public.
a democratic point of view, it’s a shambles,’ he said. ‘George Orwell
would be proud of the manoeuvre. I think the process is shambolic.’
The Archbishop’s comments come despite the fact polls show the public is largely in favour of allowing gay couples to marry.
Civil partnerships – which come with most, but not all, of the legal safeguards of marriage – were introduced seven years ago.
They allow gay couples to celebrate their unions in civil settings, but not in religious buildings.
Now the Government wants to allow them to call their unions marriage and have the ceremony in civil and religious settings.
organisations such as the Quakers and the Unitarians have said they
would like to be able to host gay marriages.
But the Church of England
and Roman Catholic Church are against it and the legislation says it
would be illegal for any Anglican vicar to marry a gay couple.
insist that churches will never be forced to carry out gay marriage,
but opponents say homosexual couples could get the ban overturned under
European human rights laws.
week Pope Benedict XVI reiterated his opposition to gay marriage,
saying that it was destroying the very ‘essence of the human creature’.