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Date published: 2012/03/11
The BBC says:
The government's plans for gay marriage have been criticised by the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in Britain.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, said the plans were a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right".
He said the idea of redefining marriage, which David Cameron has said he supports, would "shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world".
He said it was wrong to deliberately deprive a child of a mother or father.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Cardinal O'Brien said: "Since all the legal rights of marriage are already available to homosexual couples, it is clear that this proposal is not about rights, but rather is an attempt to redefine marriage for the whole of society at the behest of a small minority of activists.
"Same-sex marriage would eliminate entirely in law the basic idea of a mother and a father for every child. It would create a society which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father."
He added: "Imagine for a moment that the government had decided to legalise slavery but assured us that 'no one will be forced to keep a slave'.
"Would such worthless assurances calm our fury? Would they justify dismantling a fundamental human right?"
O'Brien completely embarrasses himself. His "slave" analogy is as ridiculous as it is offensive. Guess what, slaves are the ones who have their human rights abused, not slave owners if and when they lose the "right" to have slaves. It's not clear if O'Brien is claiming that somehow his human rights would be violated if there was gay marriage, but if so this is just more of the pathetic whining that religious leaders have indulged themselves in lately, trying to portray themselves as victims, and it completely trivialises the phrase "human rights".
The entire civilised world will eventually have some form of "gay marriage" and the idea that Cameron is bringing "shame" to the UK is as ridiculous as it is offensive. Indeed, the UK already has a form of "gay marriage", it is just called something else, civil partnership, to keep religious bigots like O'Brien from becoming hysterical. Funnily enough, the UK is not in a state of shame over civil partnerships.
And civil partnerships already mean that a child does not have to have a (female) mother and a (male) father, not to mention that many children are raised by single parents. So O'Brien's comment about this is again as ridiculous as it is offensive.
The one thing the government should have done differently is just to say that the government will only recognise civil partnerships in future, both for homosexual and heterosexual people, and that marriage will become purely a religious ceremony which will have no legal standing. That way, bigoted organisations like the Catholic Church could continue with their own medieval view of the world, and nobody else would have to care one way or the other.
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