ROMAN Catholic churchgoers in Ellesmere Port are being encouraged to write to their MP opposing same-sex marriage.
But MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston Andrew Miller said he personally has ‘no objection’ to Government plans to extend the right to civil marriage to same-sex couples.
Four churches – St Saviour’s in Great Sutton, St Mary’s in Hooton and Our Lady’s and St Bernard’s in Ellesmere Port – have called on their congregations to ‘act now’ to oppose the proposals.
A posting on the churches’ shared website reads: “The law helps to shape and form social and cultural values. A change in the law would gradually and inevitably transform society’s understanding of the purpose of marriage.”
It continues: “Marriage is the one institution which exists to recognise and protect the creation and up-bringing of children, and research confirms that it provides the best circumstances in which children can be raised. It is vital for the future of any society, and that is why it has always had special protection.
“The church is opposing the Government’s policy because it cares for the common good of society. Society should support the best means of raising the next generation. It’s about what marriage means for all – it’s not just about what happens in churches.”
Mr Miller confirmed he had been contacted by constituents regarding the ‘ongoing debate of gay marriage’ and welcomed hearing their views.
He said: “We already have the civil partnership which enables same sex couples to show their commitment to one another publicly and I personally have no objection to such commitments becoming a ‘marriage’.
“Whether or not the church decides to officiate in such partnerships I believe has to be a matter for the church.”
The churches’ posting comes in response to the launch of a Government consultation paper that proposes allowing same-sex couples to marry in a register office or other civil ceremony, retaining civil partnerships and allowing couples to convert these into a marriage and allowing people to stay married and legally change their gender.
It does not propose lifting the ban on same-sex couples marrying in a religious service – but has still provoked anger from the Catholic Church.
Darren Knight, engagement manager at Manchester-based charity The Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGBT), said: “Ultimately we just want as many LGBT people or people who believe in equality to respond to the consultation – even people who are in a same-sex relationship but aren’t considering having a union in that way.
“It’s about LGBT people standing up for equality for the rest of their community.”
For more information about how to respond to the consultation, visit www.homeoffice.gov.uk/equalities.