House of Lords pass gay ‘marriage’ law: expected to receive Royal Assent by end of week
WESTMINSTER, July 16, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The House of Lords passed the coalition government’s gay “marriage” bill last night without a formal vote. The bill will now make a brief stop this evening in the House of Commons for approval of the Peers’ amendments, after which it is expected to receive Royal Assent by the end of the week. Once made law, homosexual partners will be able to “marry” throughout England and Wales by mid-2014. Similar legislation in Scotland is expected to pass easily.
Amendments passed in the House of Lords focused on minor points of law regarding occupational pension benefits and the application of the bill to Jewish Synagogues.
During the debate, Patrick Thomas Cormack, Baron Cormack, addressed the victors. “I understand that you feel euphoric today but please have a thought for those who have different views and for the many, not just thousands but millions of people in this country, for whom marriage will always be equated with what remains in this Bill the Christian definition of marriage,” he said. “I hope that in recognising that, they will also remember the great Churchillian motto: magnanimity in victory.
“Those who support the Bill have won; there is no doubt about that. It would be churlish and ridiculous to pretend otherwise and I, for one, would never do so. I hope that the divisions in our society which I fear will not come to pass.”
Tory peer Lord Framlingham also criticized what he said was the “ill-thought through” bill, saying it had been “bulldozed” through Parliament.
Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) told LifeSiteNews.com that the bill’s provisions “amount to a forthright attack on the natural institution of marriage.”
“It will lead to discrimination and oppression of those who recognise the true importance of marriage for the generation of stable, sustainable families,” he said.
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Meanwhile, a Scottish campaign group, Catholic Truth, has launched a petition to ask the Catholic hierarchy to declare that legislators who voted for the bill have excommunicated themselves and must not be offered Holy Communion. The document has thus far been signed by more than 400 people and urges the Vatican to invoke Canon Law section 915, and refuse Communion to politicians who support “abortion, euthanasia or same-sex marriage”.
Canon 915 requires Catholic clergy to refuse Holy Communion to those who persist in “manifest grave sin.” The head of the Vatican’s highest court, Cardinal Raymond Burke, has said repeatedly that it is necessary to withhold Communion from those who have automatically excommunicated themselves by their public actions. This, he has explained, is not meant as merely a punishment, but as a last-ditch effort to shock them into repentance.
Cardinal Burke repeated again in February this year that bishops “have a duty” to refuse Communion to politicians who have steadfastly opposed the moral law on abortion and sexuality.
Catholic Truth complained that lay people who have asked their Church leaders to enforce this requirement have been labeled “uncharitable” and “judgmental” by Britain’s bishops. They said that chronic laxity in Church discipline has led to MPs believing they may support legislation like the “same-sex marriage” bill with impunity.
The tabloid The Mirror quoted Catholic Labour MP Rob Flello, who has opposed the bill and received material from Catholic Truth, saying he was “horrified that members of our church [sic] should be openly vilified for taking a view which may be different to my own but is one that was based on their own conscience.” Flello said, “It doesn’t help people on my side of the argument that this organisation is taking such a hostile, aggressive position.”
“It does not exactly seem in keeping with my view of what the Christian faith is all about.”
SPUC’s Publications and Education Manager, Anthony McCarthy, himself a Catholic, told LSN, that with his comment on “conscience,” Flello had unwittingly put his finger directly on the heart of the problem with so-called “liberal” Catholicism, which does not recognize an objective measure of morality.
McCarthy said, “Rob Flello’s remarks are sadly typical of many politicians.”
“Conscience is not about personal preferences or taste and it cannot be about conformity to party politics. The obligation to seek the truth must never be curtailed in the interests of ‘consensus’.”
The political classes, he said, have “too often made themselves shallow” by holding “superficial convictions rather than deeply informed judgments”.
“Is it any wonder,” he added, “that Catholic politicians have become completely unable to speak for their fellow faithful when they adopt a ‘liberal’ view of conscience which perpetuates the very notions that undermine pro-life and pro-family policies.”