Bishops agree 'line' opposing same-sex marriage

The bishops at their meeting in Leeds last week have agreed on how to begin to communicate their opposition to government proposals to allow same-sex marriage.

"This is the line we began to develop", the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, told journalists at a press conference today.

"As a Church we are very committed to the notion of equality so that people are treated the same across all the activities of life is right and proper. As plenty of church documents make clear, we are against all forms of unjust discrimination. 

We are a Church that sets great store by the value of commitment in relationships and the undertakings people give. Stability in society depends on reliability of commitments that people give, that might be in their job, to do something, but especially in their relationships one with another.  Equality and commitment are both important and we fully support them but equality and commitment do not amount to marriage. Marriage has a particular component to it and it is, as has been consistently the understanding across the ages, it is a commitment between a man and a woman which is open to the generation of new life therefore unfolding into parenthood. So yes, we are right behind those who speak for equality and commitment and they are very important qualities in society but they don't equal marriage and we need to make that distinction between equality and commitment in relationships and marriage itself."

The Archbishop made further comments in response to questions which are reported here and here.

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