Niall Horan has Vege-moment
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Cameron faces moral defeat as 400,000 stand up for marriage
Priests remembered in Titanicmemorials
By William Brownlie
More than 400,000 people have now signed the Coalition for Marriage petition in favour of the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman for life.
The Coalition for Marriage was originally aiming for 100,000 signatures by Easter. As the campaign now heads towards its first half million supporters, it has already had an impact on the Prime Minister. David Cameron told Christian leaders at a Downing Street reception in Holy Week that he had a plea: “The plea is that I hope we don’t all fall out too much over the issue of gay marriage.”
For the first time since he called for the law on marriage to be reformed to apply to couples of the same sex, the Prime Minister then seemed to contemplate defeat: “If this doesn’t go ahead, to those of us who’d like it to go ahead, there will still be civil part
Prime Minister concedes that marriage law reform might not go ahead after public outcry at proposals to end traditional definition nerships, so gay people will be able to form a partnership that gives them many of the advantages of marriage.”
That is exactly why many are perplexed by the Prime Minister’s call for reform, including those who will back it. The leading gay Labour politician, Ben Bradshaw, told the Washington Post that, while he would support it, the proposal was “pure politics” by the Prime Minister: “This isn’t a priority for the gay community which already won equal rights” when the last Labour government created the current law allowing civil partnerships.
As for opponents of the reform, in addition to their principled objections, they point out practical reasons why it is odd for the Government to be giving Parliamentary time to a controversial idea that was not even in their manifestos.
Lord Brennan QC, President of the Catholic Union, has argued that statutes dating back eight centuries would have to be changed, with the terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ possibly being written out of the statute book, if the Government were to proceed with its reforms. Meanwhile, the European Court of Human Rights has decided once again, this time in a case from France, that states are entitled to enshrine in law the traditional requirement of one man and one woman for a marriage to be valid. While the Coalition for Marriage continues to attract supporters for its petition, Churches are likely next to offer advice on how concerned parishioners might respond to the Government’s consultation.
In the face of widespread adverse reaction to his proposal, the Prime Minister told his guests that he wanted to “keep the debate at a rational and sensible level” and “keep the strength of the language at a reasonable level”.
These comments were well received, even by many of those who strongly disagreed with everything else the Prime Minister was saying.
In his calls for restraint in the language of the debate, he might, on the one side, have had in mind Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s condemnation of his proposal as “grotesque”.
Continued on page 3
Exploring the New Evangelisation - how being ‘confidently Catholic’ is a powerful public witness to our faith Pages 17 to 20
Newly-weds Mary Beth Crocker Dearing and Tom Dearing were among the many guests who boarded the MSBalmoralthis week in a dramatic recreation of the doomed maiden journey of the Titanic.
The centenary also marked the publication of a special book of photographs taken on the Titanicby leading documentary photographer Fr Frank Browne SJ (right), who sailed on the first leg of the journey but was refused permission by his Provincial to carry on to New York.
Sadly, three other Catholic priests were not so lucky.
■ See pages 7, 12, 16 and 21
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